DG-blog-header-Oct17-01 When I was in high school, I wished I looked like the other girls. I wished that instead of messy, frizzy hair, I had perfect curls or smooth straight hair. I wished that my thighs were smaller and my abs were tighter. I wished I was much more graceful rather than clumsy and awkward. I wished for blue eyes and thick lashes to frame them. There was not much on that list I could change, except my weight and muscle tone. When I first began exercising and eating clean, my goal was not to lose weight or be toned. My initial goal was to manage my anxiety. At some point in the process, I looked in the mirror and realized my stomach was flatter. Clothing fit me the way I wanted it to. I felt confident. But that confidence was pestered by an ever-growing voice: "This is all you have going for you; you lose it, you lose everything." I was at a dangerous point in my life. By the grace of God, I was never tempted to be anorexic or bulimic, but I came close. If I ate a cookie, that night I would either lie in bed fretting what my stomach would look like in the morning or do extreme cardio routines to burn off those calories. Though at times, I am tempted towards that previous thinking, I can now eat a piece of my favourite ice cream cake with peace in my heart. What changed was not my diet or exercise routine. It was not through self-esteem practices or mantras. I applied my theology. DG-instas-Oct17 Your Worth: The Image of God in Man Friend, I want to begin by telling you that your worth is not found in your physical appearance. Your worth is not determined by what others say about your appearance. You have worth because you were created in the image of God. When man was created, he was created in the image of God, after His likeness (Genesis 1:26). The image of God can be seen in man multiple ways:
  • Volitionally: Man is able to make decisions, to choose, and recognize good from bad.
  • Intellectually, man is able to reason and think intellectually; he does not simply operate out of instincts like animals, but reasons and uses memory.
  • Emotionally: God is able to display various emotions (though perfectly, unlike humans) such as anger (Deuteronomy 9:8), delight (Psalm 147:11), or grief (Ephesians 4:30), and man likewise experiences emotions.
  • Relationally: God lives in perfect relationship within the Trinity, likewise man lives in relationship with other humans and can be reconciled to a right relationship with God.
  • Operatively: Man is able to create, do good works, and have dominion over the earth in similar ways that God does.
This is why you are fearfully and wonderfully made–not because you look a certain way, but because you were made in the image of God. He is awesome and wonderful, and the fact that you were created in His image makes you fearfully and wonderfully made (see Psalm 139:14). Why does God command we do not murder? Because people are made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6). We can kill animals to eat, because they were not made in His image. But you, you have the breath of God in you and you bear His image. This is where your worth is found. Your Goal: The Image of Christ in You We can work and work to conform our image to the image this world presents by buying the clothing, styling our hair elegantly, spending hours painting on makeup, expending all our energy working our body into the right shape, and spending hundreds of dollars making ourselves have the "perfect look." Or we can strive to be conformed to the image of Christ. Which do you think holds more value?DG-instas-Oct172

"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" (1 Timothy 4:8).

Bodily training has value, but it doesn't have all the value. At the end of your life, if you had expended your energy and time training and disciplining your body to make it perfectly toned and lean, what will happen? Will you take that perfect body with you to heaven? Will you receive a better reward for your work? When the end comes, we will be given new bodies for eternity. These bodies will be immortal (1 Corinthians 15:42), glorified (15:43), stronger (15:43), and spiritual (15:44). Our earthly bodies, which are weak, contaminated by sin, and perishable, and will be done away with. For that reason, we must set our sights on that which is spiritual.

"So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:1-4).

Strive for that which is imperishable, that which matters for eternity. Take care of your soul. Are you obedient to God and in a right relationship with Him? Are you bringing glory to His name through what you do? Take care of the souls of others. Do those in your life know the gospel? Are you building up your local church, the bride of Christ? These are the things that matter. When I was discussing this issue with a biblical counselor, she said something to me that has stuck with me whenever the temptation to revert back to my previous thinking has popped up: If you expend all your time and energy and mental capacity striving and worrying about having the perfectly fit and healthy body, you will have no energy left to serve God. Is it worth it? Our Identity In Christ But what about those times when you don't feel like you are worth it or that you are unworthy because of your body image? I've been there too. Friend, this is when you must remember who you are in Christ and what you have been given. You were chosen by God's grace for salvation before you were born. You were not chosen due to anything you did or what you looked like. You were chosen by God by His grace, nothing on your part (Ephesians 2:4-9). All you're contributing to your salvation is your sin. And God showed grace and mercy by choosing you before the foundations of the earth (Ephesians 1:4). Just as you were not chosen by worth or deed or looks, your identity does not come from those either. Your identity is in Christ. In Christ, you are blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3), redeemed (Ephesians 1:4), and sealed for redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14). You are so much more than a mere body image. A Final Thought Hiding these truths in my heart and applying them has made all the difference for me in my struggle with body image. I believed the lie that my worth was found in how I looked; I thought that if I lose that "perfect body" I would lose everything. Don't give into that lie. Remember who you are in Christ. That is what matters. Remember your worth as an image bearer of God. Find your identity in what Christ has done for you, not in what you've done or what you look like. That is when true heart change can begin. DG-instas-Oct173 By Lara d'Entremont Originally published in Be Still Magazine, issue 07.
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