Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.- Philippians 4:8
Have you ever had one of "those days" where you just don’t like what you see in the mirror?!? Or perhaps it has been a while since you have felt confident with the woman you see reflecting back at you. I could be that you have a certain body part that you wish you could change, or you feel that you have flaws that hinder you from feeling beautiful.
I think we have all had things about our appearance that we don't absolutely love. Maybe you are short (like myself), and because you have never been long or lean, (like society suggests is beautiful), you have always felt inadequate. Or maybe you have been bullied about something in your past in regards to your appearance, and those words have stuck with you for years.
As women, so much of our how we feel about ourselves is often found in how we feel about our appearance, which makes it difficult to be confident when we don’t feel our best. The enemy also knows this, so he works overtime trying to get us to doubt and question our beauty.
There are various ways he goes about this…whether it be through messages that come at us through media, the false standards that society has set, or through the opinions and words of others. All of these sources are intended to do one thing: form images and thoughts in our minds that are contrary to the word of God about our image and our bodies.
The enemy knows that if he can get us to focus on the things that we don’t like about our appearance, he can essentially rob us of our confidence, peace and joy…And eventually our identity and God-given purpose.
I know from experience that when I view my body as "not good enough" in any way, (whether it be in relation to a specific body part, or even as a whole), it starts to affect my confidence, my demeanor, and it can even rob me of my joy, which is my strength!
If you feel like you have been robbed of these things, how do you begin to take back what was stolen from you!? Philippians 4:8 is our instruction manual on how to guard our thoughts, and therefore protect our hearts from the lies and deceptions of the enemy. When we follow the direction of the word of God, and cast down every thought and imagination that doesn’t line up with what God says about us, and replace it with the truth, we will be able to have God-Confidence every day of the week! (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The first step to loving your body is to identify the areas that you have felt insecure, so that you are able to replace those thoughts with the truth. Many of the women that I have talked to tell me that their stomachs are an area of insecurity after having children. If this is an area you would consider a ‘flaw’, just think of what your stomach has done...it has held and grown life! As your kids grew, your stomach most likely became a safe place where they love to cuddle and snuggle up to you...and it will always be the center of every warm embrace and hug!
Personally, it took me years to come to a place where I was at peace with my short legs...Until I realized one day that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change them! It dawned on me that if you can’t change something, learn to change how you think about it! So, I started to think of what I was thankful for when it came to my legs instead of hating them. I began to think about how thankful I am that they are healthy and able to walk, carrying me about to do my daily tasks. They are also strong enough to squat my body weight, run, and even sprint!
This all brings me back to the scripture God gave me for this devotional, which is that it is our choice where our thoughts go, and we have a choice to think about those things that are lovely about our bodies, (and what God says about us)….or we can continue to see them as flawed and imperfect.
Is this easy to do!? Of course not! We live in a world that bombards us with lies and messages that are contrary to the truth...but if we keep Philippians 4:8 tucked in our hearts, and pull it up every time one of those messages come our way, we can then make the choice to think on those things that are pure, just, right, lovely, and of a good report!
When we do, we will feel peace regardless of what we see in the mirror, because we are taking our thoughts captive and making them agree with God and what He says about us!
Now, as for the practical side of taking care of our bodies and health, I believe there is certainly a balance. I believe that there is nothing wrong with caring for our bodies with products and things that can make us feel better.
For example, I use tea tree oil when I have acne, and I have found that it heals incredibly quickly! I figure that if God created it, and it benefits my skin, why not use it!? Eating healthy is another way that we can feel our best, because it helps our bodies feel their best physically! In addition, I have also found that strength training is wonderful for toning our bodies, and improving our overall body shape, (not to mention it benefits our health and metabolism as women!)
Where I think you can go too far with products, beauty regimens, etc., is when looks, or products to help your looks become an idol. For example, when we start to obsess about products, and your image, and/or the results, and it starts to become unhealthy or unbalanced, that is when we have gotten over into idolatry with our appearance, which can be a very dangerous thing.
I personally wear makeup, do my hair, and wear clothes that I believe flatters my shape. I do so with the belief that God made me beautiful just as I am, but I don't obsess over my makeup, hair of clothes…I just take a little time each day to make myself feel more presentable! And although I don't spend hours shopping, or rely on clothes to make me feel good, I will admit that a good pair of jeans helps me feel more put together when I go out of the house, rather than if I wore my sweatpants!
If you have been feeling like you have struggled with your appearance, or you can’t seem to get past some of your “body flaws” know that you are not alone! We all have things that we wish we could change, but at the end of the day, each "imperfection" is what makes us, well, us! And while we may never be able to change these things, we can certainly change the way that we think about them, and it starts with being thankful and using Philippians 4:8 as our first and final mirror at the end of the day!
I would also encourage you to study God’s word, and learn how valuable you are to Him! He sees you as a true beauty, wonderfully made, and He has created you with a great purpose that only you can fulfill!
I'm praying that the next time you are tempted to have a thought that is not so lovely about your legs, tummy, or any other part for that matter, that instead, you will choose to find lovely things to think on instead! Let us make the choice to think about what a blessing each part of our bodies are, 'flawed' and all!