I’m going to tackle a touchy issue. (And if there are any guys out there reading this, feel free to stick around; I believe that this post applies to men and women alike.)
What is body shaming? Basically, it’s scrutinizing my own body, picking out the pieces I’m dissatisfied with because I think they should look differently (often by comparing them to people around me or to the media’s standards), dwelling on and hating those parts because they’re not what I want them to be, and constantly wishing they were different or trying to change how they look.
Sometimes we hate those things which can be changed in a healthy manner, like acne or weight or hair condition. But sometimes we despise those parts which cannot be changed because they’re simply what we’re born with – bone frame, nose shape, the width of the hips. And yet we look in the mirror at those parts we don’t like and repeatedly condemn them.
And I’m not saying that there aren’t some things we shouldn’t change, like getting to a healthy weight (losing or gaining) or taking better care of our skin (wearing sunscreen, washing our faces every night, etc.). But establishing a healthier lifestyle does not require that we hate our body – or any part of it – in the process.
Because each body is hand-crafted gift made especially and specifically for each individual person.
In all due honestly, we don’t even own our bodies. They’re simply “on loan” to us for the duration of our lives. My body does not belong to me. And your body does not belong to you.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
When you give your life to Christ, you are giving everything, including your body, over to God. And this body isn’t just some conglomeration of scrap pieces that God hastily threw together or some random configuration of DNA from your parents. On the contrary:
For You [God] formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed,
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139: 13-16
Did you catch that second verse? “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Our bodies are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” They are His “marvelous works.” Do you “know” that? Not just head knowledge, but a heart knowledge that lets you truly believe that your body is a “marvelous work” of God?
And He’s given it to you.
Who are we to despise God’s gifts? Who are we to hate the “marvelous works” God has chosen to bestow on us?
Do you notice how David says nothing about wishing that his body were different? About how he wishes that he looked like somebody else, either just for cosmetic appearances or for accomplishing a certain purpose? No…he had learned his lesson on the battlefield when God used him as a little shepherd boy to kill a nine-foot giant.
God has given us our specific and individual bodies for a purpose. So what if I have a high hairline, hands that turn blotchy and purple in the cold, knock knees, and weak ankles? I can still use my head to think, I can still use my hands to serve, I can still use my legs to run where He sends me. For all the time that I spend despising my body and wishing I could change it, I could be using that same body for His glory.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made[….]
How often do we praise God for the body He has given each of us?
And how often do we hate this gift of God?
Friends, this calls for a change in our thinking, and for a change in our hearts. We need to let go of who we think we ought to be and instead be precisely who God created and “fashioned” us to be. God’s works truly are “marvelous.” My body is no exception. Your body is no exception.
Your physical body is a hand-crafted gift from God. How will you receive it?
Can you honestly praise God for the body He has given you?