What if I told you that the best things you could do for your body image this summer don’t require you to lose weight or spend more time in the gym? You’d say I was crazy, right?
Here’s the truth. If you want to get in shape this summer, that’s wonderful! I will be cheering along with you if you finally reach your goal weight or get conditioned enough to run that 5K.
But what I want more than anything is for you to improve the state of your heart.
- I want you to know what it feels like to be accepted. To be loved. To be confident in your purpose here on this earth.
- I want you to come to a new understanding of how much God loves you and how serious he is about sanctifying you into becoming more like his son, Jesus.
- And, I want you to know what if feels like to be free to pursue that goal . . .without distraction of all the others.
Your To Do List: 8 Things to Improve Your Body Image This Summer
If body image weighs you down (like carrying my kids’ suitcase through the airport on the trip to grandma’s house this summer), try doing some (or ALL) of these:
- Commit Your First Fifteen. Spend the first fifteen minutes of every day reading God’s word and praying. It’s only fifteen minutes. It’s what you’d spend scrolling Instagram or taking a Buzzfeed quiz, but if you dedicate it to time in the Bible at the beginning of each day, I guarantee you that you will look and feel like a different person on December 31st of this year.
- Find Community. Answer this question honestly: Do you have a church family? Not, are you a member of a church. Not, do you know other Christians. But, do you have a group of people that know you and love you (and whom you know and love) that you can do life with? Having a support group of people who care about you will make a huge difference in the way you handle your body image issues this year. With that love you need accountability. Friends that are willing to call you out on stuff that needs to be addressed–sin that’s standing between you and God that you may not see. Need a church that believes in community? Let me recommend a few.
- Watch What you Watch. Some of you, this week, will carefully watch every calorie and know exactly what food you are consuming in an effort to drop a few pounds. But, if you want to improve your body image, I’d say watch what you read, watch on TV, or on Netflix just as carefully as you watch your food. Consuming junk media will have a more harmful impact on your soul than a package of Oreo’s has on your body. Avoid shows that preach false messages about love, beauty, and what’s really important in this life. They will zap the life out of you (Psalms 119:37)
- Cut Out Comparison Completely. You know it doesn’t help you, but you can’t help wondering if wearing a size four to the beach would feel better than your size fourteen. Comparison will kill you and that’s not overstating it. It robs your joy, completely. Want to have a fun and joy-filled summer? Then make a covenant with your eyes (kinda like Job did in Job 31:1) to not compare yourself to or envy other women.
- Don’t Be Lured by the New. A new diet, a new exercise program, even a new swimsuit will not change your body image. Only a new heart and mindset will do that. If you want to start exercising again, great! The program you already own will work just as well as a new one. If you want to watch what you eat, wonderful. The diet you already know (moderation, eating more healthfully) will work just as well as the one prescribed in that new diet book. There really is nothing new under the sun. Find freedom by recognizing that a miracle cure won’t fix you, only the transformative power of God’s love can help you feel better about your body this summer.
- Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Take some time off from whatever keeps you saying “I’m busy!” Did you know that a healthy body image is only possible when you are well rested? Find a hammock. Find a beach chair. Find some air conditioning. And, take that nap!
- Stop Staring in the Mirror. Note, that doesn’t say looking in the mirror. But, staring. . . Goodness! We’re all guilty of that sometimes. We stare until we find every flaw. We turn into bizzaro treasure hunters searching the mirror for everything that is “wrong” with our physical beings. Reject the notion that you have to love your body, cellulite and all, and instead, spend time staring at the beauty of your Savior’s love.
- Know Your Worth. Does the size tag in your swimsuit define your value? Uh, not even close. Does the number on that scale AFTER you returned home from your cruise determine your worth? Not a chance. There is nothing you can do to get Jesus to love your more and, likewise, there’s nothing you can do that would make him love you less. Pursue health in your relationship with him and out of the outflow of love and obedience to him, your physical health goals will seem less overwhelming.