by LUCILLE WILLIAMS
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. … Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (Genesis 1:27, 31a) (NLT)
I can remember having body-image issues since I was in elementary school. I suspect I’m not the only one — we all have them. It’s as if every woman on the planet shouts in agreement: “What is the perfect body, anyway? I don’t know, but I know it’s not mine!”
Thankfully, my husband has been very encouraging in this area. He’s often telling me I’m beautiful. Oh, to see myself through his eyes — and the Father’s eyes! Yeah, my husband tells me I’m beautiful … and then he’s off searching for his glasses, because he can’t see the new text on his cell phone.
Let me take you back to elementary school. Around fifth or sixth grade, I stopped eating. From sunup until sunup the following the day, I would fast. And it wasn’t because I was holy or wanted communion with God.
I would go days without food because I thought I was fat.
Was I fat? No, not at all. In fact, I was very slim. So where did I get this distorted image?
Maybe it was from TV and magazines. Or perhaps watching my mother stress about diet. Regrettably for me, I think it went much deeper than that.
I wasn’t a Christian growing up, and therefore I didn’t understand that my body was made by God and for God. Moreover, I didn’t understand why my body started changing into the beautifully crafted design God purposed for His glory.
All I saw were repulsive lumps, bumps and unwanted foreign terrain. It took many years to overcome the broken tape playing in my head about body image and self-worth. Every once in a while, the old broken tape plays without my permission, and I have to be deliberate about turning it off. It even creeps into the bedroom where I’ve had the thought, Not tonight, honey. I feel fat. The struggle is real, and I know what it feels like.
A few years back, I strategically tackled all the lies, working at them daily, and finally landed on a healthy balance with food and my body. I set out on a mission to eat only when hungry, to consume what I needed for fuel and good health, and to journal daily for a year about how I felt about food, my body and my overall emotional health. The process was very revealing, and I discovered a lot about myself and having a healthy body image.
What about you? Have you ever hated your body? Has that ever affected your sex life? It has mine, and I’ve learned it’s important to prevent my inner body image struggles from hindering my life, particularly in marriage. God created me to give myself completely in marriage — heart, body, mind and strength — with a love life that glorifies Him, despite whatever negative body images I might have.
It’s not always easy, but let’s remember who made us in the first place: God formed humanity “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27b).
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14, NASB).
Don’t just read that. Let it sink in. Marinate in it. You are made in God’s image!
The Bible doesn’t give us specifics as to how Eve looked when God fashioned her. Knowing His creation so well, God probably excluded this information from His Word on purpose. He knew we’d compare! Rather, we can be kind and stop beating ourselves up over the parts of our bodies we don’t like.
So, let’s take a look around at all the various shapes and sizes God has made, and remind ourselves that God wonderfully made each of us, male and female, and said, “It was very good”(Genesis 1:31a).
Dear Lord, thank You for designing humanity in all different shapes and sizes. Help me seek Your truth in all things. Heavenly Father, give me a heart that fully embraces the body You gave me, and help me to see myself as beautiful, just the way my husband and You see me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.