Far Too Many Boys and Girls Are Unhappy With Their Bodies
One Friday evening I was at an youth meeting where a girl shared her testimony about how God had set her free from sin and a bad self image. At an yearly age, she had experienced being bullied because of her body type. The bullying wounded her deeply and then, when her sister lost weight and began to be complemented about it, she decided to the same thing. This young woman was so unhappy about her body that she began to throw up her food on purpose. When she finally worked up the courage to tell her mom, she received comfort and understanding, but her mother also asked her a question which I will never forget. She said, “Why are you so unhappy with something which God has created?” That is a challenging question.
Fixing Our Bodies
Far too many girls are unhappy with their bodies. Why are we so occupied with the way our bodies look? Unfortunately we are often so occupied with the way our bodies and outside appearances are that we forget the beauty which comes from our heart; we forget who we are. However, it is often our body image which steers our self image. We compare ourselves with the way other girls look and when someone comments on our body, whether the words are positive or negative, we carry them deeply within us. Today, we can find countless ways to change our style and dress size and it is interesting to see just how fast our heads can turn when someone calls out that they have found the new way to achieve the ‘perfect’ body. But even when we perfect our bodies through surgery, it is sheldon that the results satisfy our need for a good body. Why are we so determined to change what we have been blessed with? Why are we not satisfied with what God has created?
Who We Actually Are
Do you know that God made you? You are the apple of his eye and the crown jewel of creation. God created the entire world and said that it was good, especially when he was talking about you. You are completely unique and it is amazing to think over how we have been woven together, how wonderfully complex we are. Everything about us has been planned and issued out by God. As God’s children, we have been created not only with a body, but with a soul and a spirit. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:23) The YWMCA has explained these three parts in the following way: our spirit is what gives us the ability to believe in God, our soul is our thoughts and feelings or those thing which make us human, and our body is what surrounds the other two and is what we physically feel. These three parts of us are like the three corners of a triangle and the picture of a triangle reminds us that these three parts work together as one. They are a unity. Therefore, our body is just as an important part of us as our soul and spirit are.
Loving My Neighbor As Myself
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? […] So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I understand that in the passage used above, Paul is mainly addressing the issue of not sleeping around with prostitutes which is not what we are talking about here. What I want to draw from the passage above is that our bodies are, in fact, important to God. Our bodies are a temple for Holy Spirit. How can we honor God with our bodies? Maybe we can start by loving it? I think that is a good place, even though it is difficult.
Not so long ago, a 14 year old girl asked me this question, “How can I love my neighbor as myself when I don’t even like myself?” Her question crushed my heart and I realized that we as women need to learn to love ourselves and to appreciate what God has created. I believe that eating disorders are rooted in our lack of love of ourselves, of our bodies, and to be free of them, plus all of the negative things we say to ourselves, we must learn to love ourselves. But what does this look like practically?
What is amazing is that we have a Papa who loves us above all things on earth. He gave his own son for our sake and Jesus died for our sins so that we might have a new life, including a new body. This is something which we should thank God for. As Paul says in Romans 12:1-2, “give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Don’t conform yourself to the world’s standard about your body, but let God change the way you think about yourself. He desires to set you free from all negative thoughts about yourself. And not just a little free, but completely free! Will you give him a chance?
Written by Helene Pederstad. Translated by Emily Huyck.