Imagine living your life free from distraction, distortion, obsession and self-preoccupation…imagine living in the moment and liberated from the patterns of the past while being excited about the future. Imagine accepting and even celebrating the body you’ve been given, knowing that one day it will be transformed into something more glorious than you could ever imagine.
Most of us can only imagine!
Just as feminists raised their voices against gender discrimination in the 1960s, we need that same passion to be stirred in us regarding body dissatisfaction. The pressure to look like the ionic Barbie is constant and needs to be opposed or we’ll continue to see record rates of eating disorders, cosmetic surgeries and body dissatisfaction. And while our nation experiences record rates of obesity, personal happiness is still tied to thinness. As a result, body image, our mental picture of ourselves, grows more negative as reality fails to match the body idealism we embrace.
God’s Spirit in us tells us who we really are, not the culture. It is the Spirit of Truth, and it counters insecurity.
So how do we live in this culture of body obsession without being conformed to it? Paul addresses this in the 12th chapter of Romans, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.(The Message 12:1-2).”
Do not think like the culture unless it lines up with the truth of God’s word. When we are constantly told to improve and fix our outward bodies, we are being distracted from the truth of acceptance. Nothing in God’s word says younger looking skin makes you more desirable to God or that big breasts bring success. These are the ideas of fashion gurus, diet experts, the cosmetic industry and plastic surgeons. The intent is simply to get you to buy more product and spend more money.
Paul says fix your attention on God and renew your mind with His thoughts. Don’t be dragged down by the thinking of the culture that pulls you away from the thoughts of God. And that’s exactly what happens when we get caught up in body obsession. Our thoughts are easily pulled away from the way God thinks of us and shifted to the approval of others and some personal standard we have developed from the culture.
Instead, listen to the One who made you, who loves you without condition, and who wants you whole and well.