While walking the midway of a state fair, a carnival worker asked, “Ma’am, Can I guess your age or weight?” I glared at him and said, “If you get either one right I will be furious.” I was particularly concerned about his thoughts on my weight.
If you’re like me, you stand each morning before the mirror as if you expect there to be a judge peering over your shoulder, poised to deliver a verdict on each imperfection.
I don’t know if you’ve figured it out yet, but the standard for “beautiful” is a moving target. It’s like living in a land of no absolutes—yet it’s a land in which we’re still expected to measure up. We feel pressured to look like we did in our 20s. We feel inferior if we don’t look like the stunning people we see in movies, magazines, and television.
Staking our self-image on impossible standards sets us on shifting ground that often puts us on two ends of a spectrum: we either relentlessly pursue attractiveness or we feel like we’re not worthy of giving any attention to ourselves. When we visit either end of this spectrum, we’re buying into the lie that our physical appearance somehow determines our worth.
So how do we find the balance between looking our best while keeping the pursuit to do so in check? Remembering these truths should help:
Our physical bodies are a gift from God (Psalm 139:13-16)
God fashioned each of us as unique human beings, designed to inherit a genetic makeup. Because we’re reflections of God’s image in one-of-a-kind style, we need to recognize and appreciate who He created us to be. In God’s Kingdom, there is no impossible physical standard to reach, only variations on a creative work called humanity.
Our physical bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
If we truly believe this, then taking care of our bodies will be a daily priority. We’re stewards of the body God has given to us. He needs us rested enough to serve, fueled enough to work, conditioned enough to endure, and alert enough to think.
Our physical bodies are a means to worship God (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Anything we do that brings God pleasure is an act of worship. God is pleased when we take good care of ourselves. This means even physical exercise and eating healthy are a means by which we can bring God glory. That should certainly revolutionize our attitude toward both!
We need to find a reasonable approach to taking care of ourselves that allows us to accept and appreciate ourselves for who we are now—not who we once were or hope to be. We also need to remember that just as with our spiritual selves, God deals with us individually about our physical selves. Our goal should be to care for our bodies in such a way that we’ll possess more physical energy, strength, and endurance we can devote to spiritual goals.
Meet you at the gym?
Today’s guest blogger is Carol Sallee. Carol is a prolific writer and speaker. You can contact her at www.carolsallee.com.