Jemeia is back and this post is better than ever! I have my own thoughts on beauty and you can read that here, but I have loved reading Jemeia’s thoughts. It has given such a fresh perspective, and I know that you’ll enjoy it too! Keep reading to learn the Biblical Perspective on Body Image and Beauty! She even provides practical tips for you to improve your body image.
For a long time, I struggled to understand the biblical meaning of beauty. I looked to society to affirm my worth, but this failed. I then looked to God to affirm me in my physical appearance and this also failed because it turns out that physical beauty and outward appearance are the least of God’s worries.
A common theme in scripture is that the heart is more important than outward appearance. In Genesis, when God made us in His likeness, it had nothing to do with our physical appearance because, HERE’S THE SHOCKER, we don’t necessarily resemble Him physically. Instead, our souls and hearts are continuously being sanctified in this life so that one day we will fully resemble Jesus – pure and without sin.
Scripture about Inner Beauty
Psalm 139 tells us that the Lord formed our inward parts, knitted us together in our mothers’ womb, and saw our unformed substance. There in the secret, He loved us, called us His, and wrote our life’s story before we were even born and fully developed into our physical bodies. Did this have anything to do with our physical appearance? NO!
In fact, that same verse says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Many like to apply this to physical beauty but it turns out that when considered in the Hebrew context fearfully means “with heart-felt interest and reverence,” and wonderfully means “to be set apart”. Therefore, what this verse really means is that God made us with deep interest and to be set apart. Where does physical beauty tie into this? Friend, that’s what I’m trying to find out!
Some other verses that reinforce this theme are:
- 1 Samuel 16:7 – For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
- Proverbs 31:30 – Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
- 1 Timothy 4:8 – For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Now, let me clarify this. I am not aiming to downplay the very real struggles of poor self-esteem and body image. Despite the standards that society has set for us, God is the greatest artist/sculptor to ever do it. When He made our physical bodies, His work was detailed and well thought-out. Science, anatomy, and physiology point to this. When He was done, He called it good. I am also not saying that we shouldn’t take care of our physical bodies because God has given us our physical bodies to move and function with purpose.The major take away here is that biblical beauty is a matter of the heart. Click To Tweet
Jesus was God in human flesh and the work of salvation could not have been completed any other way. In order for us to function with eternal purpose, a very practical step is to care and be good stewards of the bodies we have been given. Therefore, the major take away here is that biblical beauty is a matter of the heart. Physical beauty, health, and fitness starts from within although society has twisted and contradicted that. Even though we KNOW beauty is an inward issue, we LIVE as if it’s an outward issue. Insanity.
Practical Tips for Better Body Image
If body image is something you deal with, I would encourage you to first seek the Lord and let Him reveal to you, your identity in Him. In addition to that, here are a few simple things you can apply to your life:
1. Delete all fitness accounts from your social media.
If you are like me, constant images of what society deems as the perfect body are not motivating. They are destructive, and they lead to self-hate and comparison. Running gradually healed me (you can read about that here), but deleting images from my social media accounts INSTANTLY gave me peace of mind because it freed my mental space. I learned to love and improve me.
2. Don’t body check.
Avoid looking at yourself in the mirror if all you are going to do is criticize yourself. If you choose to look in the mirror, stick post-it slips with words of affirmation and truths all over your mirror and speak those over yourself each day. Grab ours below!
Related: How Daily Confessions Changed my Life.
3. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF!
They say numbers don’t lie, but hunny, let me tell you. On the scale, they do! (Or maybe they just don’t tell the whole truth. Same thing). Your weight will literally fluctuate based on what you eat and how much you drink in a given day.
Moreover, muscle weighs more than fat. If you are working out and running, you will build muscle and your weight might increase. Some say to focus on the way you look but I wouldn’t even advise that. Instead focus on how you FEEL. Are you building endurance, running longer without dying, increasing your speed? These are the things you should be focused on.
4. Eat Whatever You Want.
Don’t play yourself like I did – buying chicken breast knowing good and well that it’s tasteless when I like dark meat!! Now, I’m not saying start eating junk. I’m saying find a healthy balance. Eat foods that fuel your body with proper nutrients, pay attention to how certain foods make you feel.
If out of thin air, you feel like eating a cookie, EAT IT! Your body is craving sugar because it needs it. If you feel that bad about the cookie, eat fruit or find a healthy cookie recipe that uses more natural ingredients. It’s okay to live a little as long as you know what your norm is.
5. Remember, health is a lifestyle.
Each day, choose to love yourself and do something good for your body. Don’t think of exercise as torture. It’s SO good for your body. Discover exercises that you love or fitness apps that make life easier for you. My personal faves are the Nike+ Training and Nike+ RunClub apps.
If you did not make it to the gym yesterday, strive for today. If you ate trash for lunch, eat clean for dinner. If you basically took several L’s all day, drink water. It’s the least you can do for your body.
Weren’t those tips so practical? Don’t forget to grab the free print-out of post-it notes that you can place on your mirror in order to speak positive truths over your life!
What are some practical tips you have used for better body image?
Hanha is the founder behind Transparency Blog, and she is super passionate about encouraging women to find their identity and belonging in Christ! A few fun facts? She’s addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, has a special place in her heart for Chick-fila-A, and podcasts are her present obsession. In her spare time, she daydreams about places she can travel and loves connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!