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Praise God for Your Body!

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Part 2 of the assignment about body image we started the other day:

Now, my dear sisters – once you have written a letter to a young girl about what you would want her to know about how she thinks about her body, her appearance, and lovability – take that same letter and change the name to your name. Read the letter you wrote to a young girl and imagine that the you now is reading it to yourself when you were 8-12 years old or so and absorb the message of love, acceptance, strength, and gratitude that you would share with another young girl for yourself. Maybe your mom, siblings, or schoolmates said terribly toxic things to you. Let’s go back in time in our minds and hearts and allow the 2015 you to share truth with yourself as a young girl.

How would that change the way you think today?

———-

Self-loathing and self-hatred toward our bodies seems to be epidemic among women today. This breaks my heart! We have believed so many lies that the enemy has fed us through family members, peers, and the media. This has to stop, my dear sisters! Are we listening to the enemy or are we listening to our Good Shepherd?

  • God made our bodies. Our bodies are good. They are precious gifts for which we are to be thankful and we are to be good stewards.

The second greatest commandment is that we are to “love others as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-40) Jesus assumes that we love ourselves. But today, so many women do not love themselves. This is NOT God’s will for us at all!

How can we give away what we don’t have?

The things some of us say to ourselves are AWFUL! Dreadful! We are feeding our minds with toxic poison and it affects our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with other people, including our men.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  (Prov. 23:7)

If we treat ourselves with contempt, disrespect, a critical spirit, condemnation, and hatred – how will we treat other people? How can we love others and give away something we have not embraced for ourselves? We must be able to fully love and respect ourselves before we can properly love and respect others. This is a given in the Christian life.

God requires us, as His daughters, to have thankful hearts, to think about things that are good, lovely, praiseworthy, and honorable (1 Thes. 5:18, Phil. 4:8). These commandments surely include what we think about ourselves. Why do we think that it is okay for us to hate the bodies God gave us, to complain about them, to envy others’ bodies, and to be discontent? Scripture also commands us as believers not to complain or grumble about anything (Phil. 2:14-16).

We CAN learn to be thankful for our bodies and to take good care of ourselves in a healthy way. No, we don’t want to worship our bodies or be prideful. But the opposite extreme – hating our bodies – is also terribly destructive. God’s ways are always about balance and not going to one sinful extreme or the other.

WRITE IT DOWN IN YOUR JOURNAL: Let’s choose to tear out the lies by writing down all of the negative things we say to ourselves about our bodies and how people view us – and then let’s purposely reject the negative, toxic statements and replace them with the truth of Scripture. Give yourself time to really carefully search your mind and heart for every negative statement you tell yourself. This part will be really painful! Have some tissues with you. Then use some of the verses in the links below to replace the negative thoughts and lies with God’s truth.

Verses about self-hatred

Verses about gratitude

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

You have a responsibility not to follow the enemy’s voice – and he is speaking through her sometimes, so be very careful! You belong to Christ. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him alone.

the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. John 10:3-5

Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. For many of you, he has stolen your joy. He has stolen your thanksgiving to God. He has stolen your ability to give and receive love. He has stolen your intimacy with God. He has stolen so much from you about how you think about yourself and your worth. No more, my friend!

You don’t have to allow Him to steal the good gifts God has given to you one more day!

In Christ, the truth will set you free!

  • You can walk past a mirror and think, “Thank You, God, for my body!”
  • You can put on a beautiful outfit and think, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”
  • You can walk across a room with confidence in who you are in Christ and confidence in your skin – seeking to be a blessing to those who are there, rather than being paralyzed with fear about what they are thinking about your body. Their opinions don’t really matter. You are just seeking to please God. And your goal is to love and bless them. You know that God has made you and that He has loved you with an unfailing love. You know who you are in Christ and you can have all of the confidence of heaven radiating from your face and heart.
  • You can take good care of your body and treat it well, being a good and faithful steward of this priceless gift. You can choose to feed it nourishing, healthy food rather than eating junk food to find comfort. You can find your comfort in Christ. Food can’t comfort us or bring contentment and joy! Jesus does that. When you choose what to eat – choose what is healthy and best for your body as fuel rather than seeking to find emotional comfort or fulfillment through food.
  • You can be whole on your own in Christ. And then you can receive the love and attention of a godly man graciously, with joy, without fear, and without doubt about his motives and intentions.
  • You can practice thanking God for every part of your body, for your health, for the miracle that you are.
  • You can rejoice in this body God has given to you.
  • You can be thankful that you have your body as a tool to empower you to do God’s will and to serve Christ in His kingdom and to bless and love people.
    If you need help breaking a food addiction or looking to food for comfort, please let me know. I will be glad to share some spiritually and physically healthy strategies with you.

Much love to each of you!

MORE INFO?

If you are interested in learning about breaking sugar cravings and changing to a healthy diet, we can talk about that in the comments. Just let me know!

RELATED:

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A Husband’s Pain – His Wife’s Body Image Issues

When Your Husband Is Not Physically Attracted to You

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22 thoughts on “Praise God for Your Body!

  1. Dear Sweet April,

    I am a transplant patient who received a kidney through the living donation of my amazing brother. My beloved husband and brother were the first two people tested, and matched me equally. During the selection process, they lovingly argued over who would get to be my donor, but transplant doctors love those sibling donations! There is nothing like knowing that someone you love would willing and sacrifically donate one of their ORGANS to make a person realize how dearly loved and precious their own body is.

    Not only did Christ Himself give me His Holy Body as a living sacrifice for my eternal life, but He also gave me the beautiful gift of my brother’s kidney for a healthier physical life.

    I will never again look at my body and not love it. My Creator made this earthly tent and my family and friends love this physical body. How could I not, in turn, love this outer shell?

    My heart’s desire is to live a life of gratitude for the precious life I have been given. I pray my sisters and brothers in Christ realize that they too have been given a beautiful gift in these “fearfully and wonderfully made” bodies!

    In His All-Sufficient Gracce,
    Martha

    1. Martha-God spoke to me through your comment! I found out about 3 years ago I was born with 1 kidney. It used to bring me fear of the future-wondering if I would need dialysis or a transplant. I now claim in Jesus name, this one kidney will work perfectly for the rest of my life! But April’s post combined with yours reminded me that its my responsibility to treat this temple with love and proper care. God bless you with long life and health with your new kidney! I can feel you will live a life of gratitude, and know God loves that.

      1. Dearest Blessed,

        May God pour out His blessings upon you! Thank you for your gracious and kind response to my comment…what a lovely thing for you to do.

        I have just prayed for you and your sweet single kidney. Many people live perfectly healthy, normal lives with only one kidney…its just doesn’t normally come up in conversation! What a joy to be fully aware that each moment of each day, we are being sustained by the power of our Mighty God. Every single person should claim this truth, but often it takes the initial fear of a health crisis to make us actively trust God and be empowered through His Grace to praise Him for the lovely gift of our precious bodies and each day that He grants us.

        I am filled with joy to know that you are committed to caring for your earthly tent! As a transplant patient, every single dietary restraint and modification has been a joy because it reminds me of the incredible gift made for me. (Plus, I have the added incentive of caring for my brother’s kidney!)

        So Blessed, here’s to trusting the Lord with all our heart while we drink our minimum of two liters of water a day!!

        Much love to you, dear sister,
        Martha

    2. Martha,

      Wow!!
      What a critically valuable message you have to share with us. THANK YOU for this!!!!! What a blessing to be able to glean from your perspective and the treasures God has shared with you in your times of suffering.

      Much love to you!!

  2. These are wonderful reminders that as children of God, who created us in many diverse forms, there are many kinds of beauty. As a child growing up, my mother said I didn’t look nice in long hair because I looked like my father, who had a long face and square hairline, unlike my sisters, who had oval faces and round hairlines. So, from that one comment, I believed I was 1) ugly, and 2) less than, because I looked like my father, whom my mother despised.

    Mothers, please be VERY CAREFUL about the comments you make regarding your daughters’ appearance and bodies. I’m sure my mother never meant any harm, but she had poor self-esteem and a horrible body image herself, and she passed the idea on to me that only if I fit a very narrow range of criteria could I ever be beautiful. What a lie this was/is!!! I somehow shed these false beliefs as an adult, but oh how much sorrow could have been avoided had my mother responded to my body and appearance in a positive way!

    Please, share in building positive self-esteem among other girls and women by observing and commenting on their beauty. In my entire young life, I only remember one person commenting on anything positive about my appearance, and that person told me I had beautiful lips. What a difference that made!

    1. Elizabeth,
      SO heartbreaking! Yes! This is very good wisdom for moms. How I long for us to only pass along healthy, godly, beneficial messages to our children!

      Great idea about praising the beauty in other women to lift and encourage them.

      I’m so glad you shared.

      Much love!

  3. I echo Elizabeth’s comment about mother’s being careful what you say!
    I do struggle to ‘love myself’, not in a body image way but in negative thinking about myself and my shortcomings. My mother constantly called me lazy and criticised my personality and spoke cursing words over me, which I have carried into adulthood. I praise God that I have been set free by faithful prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, but I still struggle with things like relaxing (for fear of being lazy).
    I have been very very careful not to speak cursing words over my children by naming their perceived shortcomings or characteristics as if it were part of them! Children need affirmation in ALL areas of their lives not just their looks! And of course this applies to our husbands and ourselves too!
    Yes, body image is a massive issue for many women, and often influenced by negative experiences and words during childhood BUT some women struggle with other negative thinking/beliefs about themselves for exactly the same reason.
    It may be hard to love yourself if you think you are fat or ugly, but it is also hard to love yourself if you think you are lazy, good for nothing, self-centred, some other charateristic flaw, or just that nothing you do is ever good enough! These inner wounds need healing too, so that you will be able to see yourself as Jesus sees you, and be the person God created you to be 🙂

    1. Sunshine,

      How I too can relate to mothers thinking we are lazy! My mother never actually called me that, but if she ever saw me sitting somewhere reading, even though my chores were done, she would immediately give me another job, instead of respecting the time I needed to simply be still–and read. To this day I need that–STILLNESS–and feel terrible if too many days go by without any.

      Now my special time is in the early morning, before my husband awakens, when I pray and read and write, with only a cup of coffee and the quiet. You pointed out that mothers should encourage positive things in other areas of their daughter’s lives as well, not just their physical appearance. In many respects I was the “ugly duckling” in my family, for they were all very musically talented and I wasn’t, so I grew up thinking I wasn’t talented at all–until I discovered that I could write and speak before large groups and organize and entertain and lead large groups of people on paddling events–things my sisters would never have dreamed of doing!

      At some point it sunk in how shallow my thinking had been, and I began to see myself the way God had really created me, absolutely full of potential! I’m so glad that you, too, have overcome negative childhood experiences to bloom and grow into the woman God meant you to be! I hope that you, like me, revel now in the joy of living and in who we are as women, and love life.

      Much love to you,

      Elizabeth

    2. Sunshine,

      Ooh! This is such an important point, too! THANK YOU for sharing this. I praise God He is healing you. But I don’t want any child to receive these kinds of deep wounds. What we say to our children as mothers becomes their inner voice. Such an awesome responsibility. How I pray God will empower us to use this position wisely!

      Much love!

  4. Hi April,
    You wrote- ” If you need help breaking a food addiction or looking to food for comfort, please let me know. I will be glad to share some spiritually and physically healthy strategies with you. ”

    I look to it for comfort. The sugary sweets. It only causes discomfort in the long run tho. I go for this “comfort” when I’m stressed about the kids or when I’m hurt by my husband.

    Also another thing is I notice there are times my husband seems distant only toward me but not anyone else. Today he says he’s not mad at me. He’s communicating minimally today. Last week he flat out ignored me. It’s very hurtful. Right now I made dinner for him and the kids. No one said a word about me not being there. He’s singing now even. I hate feeling left out. Singled out. And I have no idea why. This happened just last week and it’s used to happen in the past so often. Very hurtful and i am very distracted. I find I’m not worshiping God or relying on Him first the way I need to.

    Maybe you’ll have some godly wisdom or posts to refer to. I certainly want to live in His Will not my own. I know the heart is deceiving. Thanks for this ministry.

    1. HisDaughter,

      I vote to take him at his word if he says he is not upset with you and assume that something else is bothering him. It is hard when you husband is distant and you feel like there is tension. That hurts!

      Check out the comments on the last post – I shared what I have been learning about breaking food and sugar addictions there. I pray it might be a blessing!

      Has this happened with your husband before? Have you ever found out why? Is he stressed at work or dealing with his own temptations or addictions?

      How is his walk with Christ?

      Do you believe you know what you need to do to draw closer to Christ right now?

      Much love and a HUGE hug to you!

      You may also want to search my home page for:

      – distant
      – funk
      – deprived
      – bitterness
      – fear
      – how to make your husband an idol

  5. I love what you’ve done here with these two posts! Words have tremendous power. John 1:1 says,” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    If you think about it, we can either accept God’s word about who and what we are, or we can begin to speak something else into existence. God says we are wonderfully and fearfully made and much loved, so if we are speaking something negative over ourselves, that is not of God.

    Mothers do bear a special responsibility and sadly they often cause deep wounds. Something I find fascinating about the whole body image issue is that it is often women who do the most damage to other women. I have found men to be somewhat accepting or even appreciative of how women look, while those who criticize us are usually female.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      “Words have the power of life and death…” Prov. 18:21.

      How I pray that we as believers will only use words to give LIFE and not to bring death to others. And yes! How I pray we will receive all of God’s Word as true – even His Words about us and our bodies and His love for us. If we don’t know who God is or who we are in Christ – we will absorb and receive lies and build our lives on sinking sand.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. I think too that how the women we hang around most often view their bodies effects us also. If we are around women who are always criticizing their bodies, we will be more critical of our bodies. If we are around women who have a stronger self image, we will speak less criticality to ourselves. We often copy our friends.

  7. When Jesus said “Love others as you love yourself”, he didn’t mean to focus on loving yourself first so that you can give away that love to others. I believe it means to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see how you would like to be treated if you were in the similar situation as he or she is in. Remember the golden rule? God has poured His love in our hearts through His spirit. We have the love of God in us. We are new creations in Christ. We have the capacity to love like he loves us. I don’t think we have to focus on loving us first before we can love others. It’s not biblical.

    1. Lilian,

      That is an interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing.

      Would you agree that self hatred is sinful and unbiblical?

      Do you believe we must be able to receive the love of God for ourselves before we can love others? Perhaps there is a way I could explain this more clearly?

  8. This is interesting. I couldn’t write the letter. I kinda had an idea what you were up to… 🙂

    And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk past a mirror and be thankful. (And I still hate, hate, hate any photo that I am in.)

    BUT – I’ve been thinking about this post and I can thank God for my body – I mean, the fact that it’s healthy and it works well, and I can run and play with my kids. All of that is a blessing.

    @Martha, thank you for sharing. Your comment was eye opening and really puts a lot into perspective. (Not to mention that I have a terrible habit of not drinking. I drink an 8 oz cup of coffee in the morning and maybe a 16 oz bottle of water after dinner. I’m probably dehydrated. My family tells me I need to drink more, but I never think of it. They also claim I’m in a better mood if I drink more fluids. I don’t like to drink, and I don’t like having to use the bathroom so often. Anyhow, your comment made me think maybe I’d better get over that for the good of my body.)

    And @Lillian, I disagree with you. I’ve always had trouble with the love yourself thing. I was taught growing up that loving yourself was BAD. Loving yourself was considered stuck up, conceited, egotistical, and you should always treat everyone as if they are better than you. This is wrong, and has damaged my thinking quite a bit. I was taught that you could not love others if you were too busy loving yourself. This was WRONG teaching. I did not grow up in a Christian home.

    Anyhow, I recently heard a Pastor preaching on this, and his point wasn’t so much about metaphorically hugging yourself and being like “oh I’m so great, I love myself” but more about caring for others the way you would care for yourself. I’m going to get this jumbled, but kind of like, you wouldn’t forget to feed yourself, and you wouldn’t purposely hurt yourself, because you care for yourself. So we should care for others and hold them in the same high regard as we would hold ourselves.

    My husband and I talk about this a lot. I struggle with loving myself at all. And yet I do love my family very much. But I think I’m not as able to love on my husband and kids as I would be if I weren’t always so down on myself and wasting so much time being upset about myself.

    I don’t know if any of that came across right, or made any sense the way I wrote it. And as I said I really struggle with this, but yes I do think we need to focus on learning to love ourselves in order to love others well.

    1. Becca,
      Thank you for sharing. This makes total sense to me!

      Women like you are the ones I wrote this post for, my dear sister. My friends and sisters in Christ who hate themselves and loathe themselves and have contempt for their bodies or even their souls… I want to extend hope, healing, and the love of Christ.

      You are hearing me correctly in my message to wives about loving self. I am not talking about self love in a selfish, godless, destructive, prideful way. I am talking about receiving the love and worth Christ gives us for ourselves the way that we would want others to receive it for themselves and taking care of our own bodies, minds, emotions, and souls the way we would want to take care of other people we love.

      I love being on this journey with you, my dear sister! You are a blessing to me. 🙂 I can see down the road a few years to a little glimpse of what God has in store for you – and it is GLORIOUS. Makes me want to cry tears of joy just thinking about the way God will unleash you on the world to bless so many women in the future when He has healed your soul and empowered you to become more and more the woman He calls you to be. 🙂

  9. Wow, I’ve struggled with body image my whole entire life! It’s been a generational curse passed down on my mother’s side. Even my brother is very extreme with body building.
    My battle is mostly in my thought life and becoming quite obsessed with my “pooch” after having children and a recent hysterectomy. I have been trying harder to catch myself when I want to say something out loud in front of my daughters. I do not want them to struggle with this because of me. Satan has tried to imprison me with insecure thoughts and the truth is that I know I am free. I’m so tired of looking at the “flaws” that I see in myself and have started to really focus on being beautiful on the inside. I went from weighing myself everyday, to weighing myself once a week and hopefully, will get to the point where I just don’t care what the number on the scale says! It’s not about the number on the scale, it’s about Jesus! My eyes were so fixed on myself, that I blinded myself to the truth that comes from God. I made myself my own God again and again. It’s still a struggle but I’m winning! Praise Jesus for that.

    1. Cara,

      I’m so glad you want to be free from this obsession and from finding security in the scale or a particular size. You can be a good steward of your body and health – without those things becoming idols, thankfully! 🙂

      I invite you also to search my home page for:

      – body image
      – insecurity
      – security

      Much love to you! I praise God for what He is doing and what He will do in your heart!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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