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5 Tips for a Better Biblical Body Image

Updated Sep 15, 2019
5 Tips for a Better Biblical Body Image

For most of my life I have had a love-hate relationship with the mirror. 

On the good days it would show me what I wanted to see: validation for all the effort and time I put into my appearance with dieting, exercise, beauty products and thoughtful outfits.

But on the bad days the mirror would show me my secret fear: the image of “not good enough” stared back at me. 

I hate to admit it, but this battle with body image took over my life for over two decades. For the majority of that time, it felt like I was the only woman in the world struggling with this issue. Isn’t it just like the enemy of our souls to trick us in that way and make us feel isolated?

In reality, I was not alone in this struggle. To the contrary, 91% of women are unhappy with their body and diet to change it.

That statistic paints the picture so well. The scope of the problem is staggering: 91%! Nearly every woman has struggled with her body image. The purported solution of dieting is designed for us to fail. 

How do you improve your body image? The world says to get a better body. But worldly ideals of “beauty” and “health” are what drag us down into this pit of poor body image in the first place. More dieting and more beauty products are not the answer.

Poor body image is a symptom of being too much in the world and not enough in the Word. The cure is the word of God. Dieting and beauty products can’t save you. Only Jesus can.

Instead of trying to change our bodies, let’s change our perspective about our bodies to have a biblical body image:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

1. Replace Lies with Truth.

1. Replace Lies with Truth.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

The world tells women their worth is found in their body size, shape, and appearance. The world wants women to believe the lie that we have to change to be good enough. It sells us the deadly lie that thin equals happy. 

As Christian women, we have to recognize these lies and stop living them out as if they were true. We have to reject the endless worry and striving to look better. 

In my own journey, I lived out these lies with chronic dieting and obsessive thoughts about my appearance until the Lord unveiled my eyes, helping me to see these lies for what they really were: spiritual warfare designed to keep me on a treadmill. 

The world said my weight was my worth. But this is a lie. The Lord helped me to replace this lie with truth: my identity and worth is found in Him alone.

I urge you to pay attention to your thoughts and the messages you consume when it comes to your body. You have to spot the lies before you can replace them. An easy rule of thumb is, the lies focus on the outside of a person, as the world would have it, and the truth focuses on the inside, as God would have it.

Douse yourself in verses that speak to the biblical truth of who you are and whose you are. Meditate on these verses regularly. Write these verses out and post them on your mirror.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2. Praise God for the Body You Have Now

2. Praise God for the Body You Have Now

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Instead of dwelling on the parts of your body you don’t like, take some time to be intentional and find something you can praise God for right now, not 10 pounds from now.

Your body is wonderfully made. God created you in His image. Regardless of what you think about your outer appearance, you have much to be grateful for as God’s creation. 

To get in touch with this gratitude, it’s helpful to actually write out 5 things about your body you can thank and praise God for today. Do this every day until you feel the effects. 

It’s fine if you want to include aspects of your appearance you are grateful for, but it’s even more powerful if you take the focus off how your body looks and instead praise God for what your body can do.

A few of my personal praises:

  • Lord, thank you for my red hair as it connects me to my great-grandfather.
  • Lord, I praise you for making my body one that enjoys moving to music. Worship and dance feel so good, physically and spiritually!
  • I am so grateful for my arms you gave me Lord because they allow me to reach out and embrace those close to me. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

3. Watch What You Watch

3. Watch What You Watch

Whether we are looking in the mirror, looking at the woman two pews over, or looking at a woman on TV, we need to watch what we watch. The eyes are our source for both comparison and objectification, so we must guard them. 

I want to encourage you to remove all the triggers that bog you down in body image struggles, comparison, and feelings of unworthiness. 

If you’ve been staring at a pair of old jeans in your closet each time you go to get dressed, hoping you will fit into them again one day, pack them away where you won’t see them every day or, better yet, donate them!

If you’ve been looking at every single photo that one friend posts, comparing your life to hers and thinking how much better she’s got it, unfollow her social media highlight reel (not unfriend!) and, better yet, pray for her, for there are messy parts of her life you don’t see.

If you’ve been watching every episode of a show starring a beautiful actress and it makes you wish for a figure like hers and swear your new diet will start tomorrow,  change the channel and find something better to watch, or, better yet, get off the couch!

Photo Credit: Pexels/Lisa Fotios

4. Watch What You Say

4. Watch What You Say

“May these words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NIV)

Proverbs 18:21 tells us the tongue has the power of life and death. Words are powerful, especially when spoken out loud. 

It’s not enough to watch what we watch; we also have to watch what we say. Looking away and keeping our mouths shut is essentially refusing to participate in a culture that is obsessed with our bodies and our appearances.

Stop engaging in diet talk. Yes, it’s an easy topic of conversation for us women. Imagine sitting around the table with friends where the first part of your time together wasn’t wasted with small  talk of what you “should” or “shouldn’t” be eating and, instead, you went right into deep conversation.

Stop complaining about your body. If you catch yourself complaining about your body, make sure you follow it up with saying aloud at least one thing you are grateful for and thank God for that part of your body.

Stop commenting on other people’s bodies. This applies equally to gossiping about another person’s body and complimenting another person’s body. This body talk, whether ill- or well- intended, is keeping the focus on the body and not the person. 

If you’re going to give a compliment, I challenge you to find something that doesn’t include body talk. So instead of saying “I like that dress, it looks great on you,” try something like a genuine “you are radiant today.”

When we watch what we say, we can use the power of the tongue to speak life and truth over our body image instead of perpetuating the death and lies of the Enemy.

We have better things to talk about besides bodies. In whatever we choose to talk about, let’s aim for making our words pleasing to the Lord. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

5. Pray for Change

5. Pray for Change

Perhaps the most powerful thing you can do to have a better biblical body image is to pray and ask the Lord for it. Every triggering situation, be it an image or a thought, can be a prompt to pray. 

Pray for the ability to see yourself as God sees you. Ask God to give you eyes to see beauty the way He sees beauty. Pray for God to help you recognize and reject the lies this world tells you about your body. Ask God to help you replace those lies with the truth of His word. 

As Christian women, our body image problem is not a problem with our physical bodies, but with how we see our bodies. 

When we practice these 5 tips in pursuit of a better biblical body image, it’s important to remember to be patient and trust God’s timing for the positive changes in our perspective that will come. 

It’s also important to realize that this is not a quick fix, but a process of learning to rely on God in our struggles and learning to truly trust our worth comes from Him alone and not our bodies.

Photo Credit: Getty Images 

Erin L. Todd is a wife, dog mom, attorney-by-day and writer-by-night living in St. Petersburg, Florida. As a redhead who battled insecurity and body image issues for over 30 years, she now claims the concept of being both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously. Her blog “Ginger In Progress” was born from a spiritual awakening where Jesus set her free from diet prison. Now she is on a mission to empower and equip women to Follow Jesus Not Diets. Find out more about Erin and grab your free Intuitive Eating Starter Kit for Christian Women HERE

Originally published Friday, 13 September 2019.