Body shaming.

Yeah, it’s a thing. Whether we do it to ourselves or to others, mentally or verbally, I believe it is something each broken individual is guilty of.

The world has tainted our vision in more ways than one while filtering the standards of what a body should look like, act like, perform like, etc. Each person possesses a blurry lens that distorts what is real in order to magnify the world’s ideal. Body shaming and negative body image is just another symptom of The Fall that has skewed our view of reality with lies, falsehoods and unrealistic expectations.

As someone who battled an eating disorder as a young teen, my perfectionism has always influenced my need for maintaining a certain physical appearance. I don’t intentionally or even consciously consider my body image each day but ignorantly, I admit, the prideful craving lingers. Like hunger that creeps up after a long day of physical labor, this weakness waits to be fed with personal body shaming, physical comparison, or judgment of myself and/or others.

But it’s an empty pill to swallow. It always leaves me craving more while successfully depleting my self-worth by feasting on my shallow insecurity.

This has hit me hard in recent years because my body shape changed after birthing child #3, and then 4, and then again after baby #5. I don’t know how it became so apparent and in my face. I know my struggle with body image is alive and real each day but some days it affects me way worse than others.

In the midst of my body shaming while exercising this week, I had a hard look in the mirror and could see a glimpse of self-love. With lights beating down above me, almost as if I were on center stage with a spotlight shining on my flaws, I grasped for an inner strength that was beyond my own power and chose to see love in the person in the mirror.

I chose to fight for the soul living within me rather than the body staring back at me.

With each rep of my hand weights, I fought the spiritual warfare trying to tear me down. I fought to remember all that my physical body has been through – anorexia, sexual immorality, growing and birthing five humans, skin cancer, unidentified breast lumps, and coloboma – along with all of the things my spirit has experienced – insecurity, pride, anger, self-righteousness, artificial love, perfectionism, inadequacy, amongst others. I clung to the Spirit’s power to receive Truth of who I am while fighting against the lies of who I am not.

Recalling all of the pain, hurt, and heartache uncovered so much emotion. Reminding myself of my life story reminded me that God was there throughout it all and He loves me all the same. He loves me even when I tend to not love myself. He is the author of my story and each bump in the road, detour, ditch, and jam is a chapter of my life that led to my redemption and is now traveling along the path of sanctification.

And He is not done yet.

So looking back at myself, I had to boldly declare, “Not today satan!” as I sought God’s Spirit and His power to battle the forces within.

The fight is real, friends. Whether it’s against the person in the mirror or the one you do life with. We can choose to let the lies speak louder than the truth or we can seek Truth and speak life into the light of God’s goodness.

Our body is a temple of God’s own Spirit and He resides within each one of His beloved children. The language our body speaks of itself and of our self is not just hurtful but also very destructive. The Holy Spirit is stronger than both any human or the enemy – calling on Him to fight the battle is how we win the war.

Precious child, you are made beautiful and perfect. You are one-of-a-kind and no one in this world will ever look the same as you or live the same story as you. Each scar, wound, bruise, and struggle, whether physical or internal, shapes who you are and speaks a language of God’s healing and redeeming power. The language of God’s love lightens our load and lifts us up. It brings us out of the darkness and away from the lies that try to prohibit us from living as the person God intrinsically designed us to be.

So next time you are tempted to body shame yourself or one of God’s loved ones, remember that you and everyone else, was made in His perfect image and is an important piece of His beautiful creation. With God, the language of love speaks deeper than the body – it speaks directly to the soul. A soul that will dwell eternally with the Creator forever while the body is left behind.

“You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CEV)

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