You Don’t Have to Love Your Body

I stared at the mirror in utter disgust and frustration. Why did I only feel hatred and despair when I looked at myself? Was I really as ugly as I appeared? Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Did any part of me look good?

Why did I bother running for thirty minutes every day, doing ab workouts six days a week, and eating boring salads if I always hated the body I saw in the mirror?

Because I was listening to Satan. I was listening to his lie that I would love my body if I followed his orders—his meal plan, his exercise regime, and his sleep schedule. But when I did, I still didn’t love my body.

The truth is that I’m a healthy size and weight. In a perfect world, I would love my body because it is perfectly healthy. But I am slowly beginning to see reality: in our fallen world, we may never love our bodies.

This may sound blunt, but you’ll probably always hate something (or everything) about yourself. Maybe it’s your thighs, arms, feet, stomach, hips, back, face, hair color, calves, neck, etc.  Even models, actresses, singers, and other celebrities hate their bodies. You would never know it by the way they flaunt them around in belly shirts and leggings.

But they do.

We all do.

And we often can’t change that.

No matter how many minutes you walk, how many kale smoothies you drink, how small your jean size is, how many diets you attempt, or how small the number on the scale is, you’ll probably always dislike something about your body. That’s why I want to encourage you to stop pressuring yourself to love your body—because you probably never will. It’s simply an unrealistic goal.

Instead, focus on nourishing the body God gave you. In the Bible, God didn’t say we had to love our bodies. He simply told us the truth about our bodies—that they are His wonderful masterpieces (Psalm 139:14)—and told us to honor Him in them.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)

You don’t have to see a knock-out beautiful woman when you look in the mirror. You don’t even have to see a semi-knock-out beautiful woman. You just have to see you—flaws and all. And you have to accept your body as it is.

Nourishing your body is simple: exercise well, eat well, and sleep well. Take a shower when you’re sweaty, get a haircut when your split ends are out of control, eat foods that have essential nutrients, listen to your doctor, and wear sunscreen (even when it’s cloudy). Don’t exercise until every bone in your body aches. Don’t eat a head of lettuce and call it a meal. Don’t pull all-nighters unless absolutely necessary. Don’t deny yourself dessert on special occasions. Don’t just drink soda when you’re thirsty.

This isn’t rocket science; it’s moderation.

I know that you think you’ll like yourself when you ______ (lose ten pounds, start a new diet, dye your hair, use acne medication, lift weights, etc.). But that thought is from Satan. It’s a lie.

Sure, you may feel better about yourself when you lose weight, drop a jean size, or start eating healthier. But you’ll still have days when your body disgusts you. That’s okay. You don’t have to love your body; you just have to accept it.

Your job is to treat it well, no matter how ugly you feel. That means not starving, bingeing, purging, cutting, crash-dieting, over-exercising, or going to any other extreme measures to make your body become what you want it to be. That means living in moderation and not living based on how you feel.

It’s okay to feel ugly; it’s not okay to hurt your body because of it. Satan wants you to think that you’re an ugly mess that will never be beautiful. And when you listen, you may go to extreme measures to make it beautiful.

But here’s more truth for you: You’re already beautiful.

I don’t care if you believe me or not, but I need to tell you that. Your body belongs to God because He lives inside you if you’ve trusted Him as your Savior. He has called you to treat your body well and use it to honor Him.

Friend, as I said earlier, you don’t have to love your body. You just have to glorify God in it.

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