Dear Daughter, I Promise Those Pants Don't Make You Look Fat. Love Always, God.
To all my Christian sisters who don't feel pretty today, whenever we look at our bodies in disapproval or distress our Father's heart breaks. He never intended our bodies to bring us anxiety, and He is proud of His work in designing you. So, knowing that we are daughters of God, how do we deal with the body image issues that our society has cultivated within us? And how can we recognize wrong thinking and transform it into confidence instead? Well, let's go back to milk real quick and get back to the basics of who we are. How many of us know that eternity with our creator is our end game? How many of us know that our purpose on Earth is to love God and others and invite them into this eternal party? How many of us know that we have a jealous enemy who has no eternal seat in God's kingdom, and is willing to do everything in his power to keep us from inheriting ours? Cool, I think we're on the same page.
Now, how many of us agree we are to focus on the unseen things of eternal worth and, above all, train ourselves in holiness as God's word tells us. (peep these graphics if you forgot)
Great, stick with me a moment more as I preface the point I'm getting to with one more biblical truth to ensure we're definitely on the same page. Paul writes this pertaining to our physical bodies and our heavenly bodies: "But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body".
Now that that’s out there, let me drop the proverbial bomb on this thought: If we know that we should seek the purification of our hearts above all and that our bodies will be transformed into glorified bodies in the kingdom of God… Why in the world do we care so much about what we look like? Seriously! Remember, when Jesus revealed His glorified body to Mary during the resurrection, she didn’t even recognize Him! Now this Scripture above tells us that we will undergo a similar transformation. Meaning the physical frame we live in now holds little importance for God’s kingdom, because it will change when His kingdom comes anyway.
So how should we feel about our bodies in the meantime? Well, our current physical appearance exists solely to provide a temple for the Holy Spirit, to show a picture of God’s creativity in designing such a unique people, and to provide an instrument through which we can enjoy all that is gifted to us in this world. Our bodies are gifts for this world, but they do not last forever. We are to steward them well, but not make them our gods. We should love our bodies, take good care of them, and not obsess over them or compare them to someone else’s. We are more than just the frame we live in. Too often we spend most our time examining our bodies when we should be examining what God’s Word says about us. I promise if we spent more time searching Scriptures for our identity over searching our bodies for imperfections, we would be increasingly more confident, happy, and unstoppable women. (like the women we were intended to be).
Easier said than done? I know. I constantly feel the pressure society puts on us to be what they have decided is “beautiful”. However, if we call ourselves daughters of God, the way we view beauty should be different than the world. Yet others might not be as quick to acknowledge that beauty.. And we have to be okay with that. Our problem is that we place too much importance in our looks and in others’ opinions of our looks. We use their validation to attempt to fill a void that needs to be filled by God alone. When humanity places focus on appearance, we will naturally feel unfulfilled because it is solely the presence of God’s spirit within us that completes us. As we know our enemy roams and runs this world, it’s no wonder he tries to blind us from seeing the key to fulfillment, Jesus. Until we can put off desires of the flesh and fully allow the Spirit of God to transform our minds, we will always seek to be fulfilled in our physical appearance or other material means. Spoiler alert: none of which will work. Ever.
The danger here is desiring to be liked more by the world than by God. We can easily place worldly possessions, such as our bodies, higher than God. Just as easily as we can make money our god, so can we also make our outward appearance our god. Having a lot of money is usually termed wealthy. But I think it is safe to say wealth can be accumulated by possessing many other things of the world. Wealth is the abundance of material possessions, and materials are anything pertaining to physical or worldly nature. That being said, can we not also consider our outward beauty as wealth. And just as Jesus told His disciples, He tells us: “Truly, I say to you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Don’t freak out yet, He says “it is hard” not it is impossible. To whom much is given, much is required and He does in fact want us to enjoy the riches of this world. But with that we must deny ourselves from allowing these riches, including worldly beauty, to be our comfort and primary focus. I don’t mean stop taking care of yourself, but rather let’s not place utmost importance on the things that are seen, and focus on the inner (unseen) things first.
My sister, your beauty is a currency in the world. Steward it well, invest it in God, and it will in return transform you into something so much more beautiful than you could ever dream or imagine. Body image insecurities inhibit us from enjoying the fullness of our lives, and freedom from those chains changes everything! I urge you to think of the things that are above, the unseen things, the things that last forever. Purify your heart, cleanse yourself of all defilement, and seek first the kingdom of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 & Matthew 6:33) Don't be anxious about what condition your body is in, for it is wasting away everyday (2 Corinthians 4:16). Rather let your spirit be renewed day by day. Our heavenly Father adores your inner beauty much more than your outer beauty. For your inner beauty lasts forever. He is proud of the way He created you, and you should be proud of your appearance as well. But it’s your heart that He swoons over when He looks at you. It’s the way you love others, the way you offer up yourself to serve, the way you deny what your flesh and the world say and search what He says instead. It’s how you go out of your way to encourage others and serve others. The way you sit with those who mourn. How you stand up for injustice, and how you speak louder for those unheard. The way you sing and dance and invite others to join in the divine joy that fills you. That is what makes you beautiful, my dear. The fall changed a lot of things about this world we live in, and it definitely changed the definition of beauty. But we can return truth to its definition if we only chose not to conform to what the world says is beautiful and instead put true beauty on display each day.
I know this is hard. Our world is broken and society is cruel. But they will never see your inner beauty if we continue to count our outer appearance as more valuable. It takes immense courage for us to walk in the way of the Lord in a world that crucifies Him. But remember, we are here to show the beauty of God’s kingdom and the beauty of those who delight in Him.
We choose to serve either God or man. We choose to display the character of a loving creator who fills us OR we choose to display our broken selves pretending to be full. No one can serve two gods. The choice is completely yours. But let me show you the role models we choose between. We either display the worldly riches of beauty as we attempt to conform to the image of an unnatural, and unhealthy body type that adorns the covers of magazines yet purges and cries out behind closed doors out of the emptiness within her. This is a role model that teaches us insecurity, judgement, competition, arrogance and cultivates disordered eating, anxious thinking, and depressive states of mind. This role model is evil and it enslaves us. OR we can display the inner beauty of the Christ-like spirit that yearns for the world to know unconditional love, unwavering strength, a culture of redemption, the promise of salvation and an everlasting life full of joy. This role model teaches us acceptance, forgiveness, love, peace, confidence and it cultivates a fullness of joy and a future beyond our wildest dreams. This role model is Jesus Christ and He frees us.
So on this soapbox, let me repeat my hope for you. I hope that you will count your inner self more important than your outer self. I hope that you choose the fullness of Christ over the emptiness of flesh. I hope that you will not conform to what this world tries to make of you, but that you will allow God to transform your thinking and renew your mind to love yourself as you are. It is my hope that you will see your beauty more clearly and live in light of who God made you to be. It is my hope that when you hit adversity and you question the truths your heart holds onto, that you will stand firm and trust God’s word. It is my hope that when your sister forgets these truths that you not hesitate to remind her! (that last one is very important, ladies!)
And because I love you, I’m sharing this list of some of the truths that our Father says about you. I hope you will tack these onto your belt and live in light of your identity in Christ everyday. Do your best to never loosen this belt of truth from your waist, lest your pants fall down and you look like a fool..
I am God’s child (John 1:12)
I am a friend of Christ (John 15:15)
I am justified (Romans 5:1)
I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
My spirit is united with God (1 Corinthians 6:17)
I am redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14)
I cannot be separated from God (Romans 8:35-39)
I am being perfected (Philippians 1:6)
I am a citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20)
I have power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
I am untouchable to evil (1 John 5:18)
I am salt and light of the Earth (Matthew 5:13)
I am a temple for God’s presence (1 Corinthians 3:16)
I am God’s coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1)
I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
I am seated with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6)
I can do all things (Philippians 4:13)
I am created for a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11)
I am unconditionally loved (Jeremiah 31:3)
I have power over evil for my name is written in heaven (Luke 10:19)
*also read Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. I’m reading that now and it lists many of these.
*also read the Holy Bible by God. I’m reading that now and well, it’s life changing.
Now go out in confidence and be your strong and beautiful self and shamelessly rock your fave swimsuit because summer is coming, babe!