I love my body. Trust me, I haven’t always. But I have learned, or actually I’ve unlearned, all of the unhealthy thought patterns and actions, and have stop putting my body through so much grief. My body actually doesn’t much matter to me anymore. I love my body because it allows me to serve others and glorify God. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to take care of it through exercise and a balanced diet. I want to live a long and healthy life just like anyone else. But my physical appearance doesn’t control me anymore like it used to. It isn’t my focus. I can confidently say when I look in the mirror, I smile at the woman looking back at me. Instead of feeling disdain or giving harsh criticism, I feel such a love that only comes from knowing the Father and who I am in and to Him.
Why Do Guys Make Me Feel Insecure?
Today, I received a nice reminder that I still struggle with body image though when I find myself in or by groups of people. I’ll get to this story soon, but first I need to start with a victory I realized in reflecting on my body image journey this year. When I engage in one-on-one conversations, it’s as if my body image issues have seemingly dissipated into thin air, as if they never had existed. When I am with a single person, even if they are a guy, I have a greater confidence in myself. I have stopped focusing on people’s perceptions of me, and I can’t remember the last time my thoughts have been focused on how people (especially a guy) view’s my appearance. This is huge for me. The only thing I ever used to think about when I would talk with a guy was what they must be thinking about my appearance, my body, skin, hair, etc. Do they think I’m pretty? Do they think I’m ugly? Would they go on a date with me if they’re single, or if they’re not, would they tell their single friend about me? I really need to work out more and lose some weight. These pervasive thoughts consumed my mind without fail the second I received any attention, whether wanted or unwanted, from a guy.
What am i Focused on?
Thankfully, I have found freedom from this and now I can truly focus on the other person during my interactions. I’m focused on building a friendly relationship, whether they are female or male, so I can love and serve my neighbor as Christ calls us to. I am focused on sharing the great hope and love I have found in Jesus with them and reflecting it through my actions. Ultimately, this is our job as Christians, yes? To love God and love others. My job is to love God and to reflect His immense love and grace, not to be physically flawless. What good does a beautiful body do for anyone, except most likely make them feel insecure or worse about themselves? Now, it’s not inherently wrong to care about your appearance, hygiene, and health. We don’t need to go around dressing like hobos and stop taking care of ourselves. But there is a fine line between normal self-care and unhealthy obsessions or vanity.
What Have I Put My Identity In?
Circling back to my story, as I mentioned, today I received a nice reminder that body image freedom is a journey. I am still so insecure when I am alone in a group of people. When it comes to groups of guys, I’m suddenly right back where I started with those pervasive thoughts. Do they think I’m pretty? Am I skinny enough? Would they go on a date with me? Growing up, I can’t remember a time that a guy’s attention didn’t make me feel extremely shy and insecure about myself. These are the times I prayed and tried not to be noticed; the times I wished I could shrink away, turn invisible or evaporate into thin air. I know I’m being dramatic, but it’s truly how male attention always made me feel. You would think as I’ve grown more confident in who I am in Christ and stopped caring about my lack of a thigh gap, that I’d be over this insecurity right? Nope. Actually, the opposite is true.
Socks & Birkenstocks
Today, I was walking to my car parked a mere fifty feet or so away from the exit of a building on my college campus. I stopped to drop something off quick that I had forgotten to return the night before to my Resident Director, and as it was early in the morning, I neglected to get changed. Rocking my green party-hat-wearing-cactus socks that say, “Let’s party!” and Birkenstocks, with a faded tie-dye shirt and leggings, I was hoping to get in and out relatively unseen. My timing is always impeccable though, and I exited at the perfect moment to have to walk right past a group of six guys. SIX. Seriously? Why do the guys always travel in packs here? I contemplated turning and running right back around the corner as if I had forgotten something, but then I stopped myself. When I made it to my car, I thought for a moment about the significance of what had almost just happened. I had just considered putting my day on hold by turning around to go and hide inside of a building from a group of guys walking down the sidewalk. And in my car, I reflected on how this was not the first time I have had thoughts like this. Wow. Why do I still feel so insecure when I am by myself in a group of people? Whether it be males or females. Because friends, at the root of it, I still have moments where I forget my identity and what truly matters.
Loved, Chosen & Created in His Image
I am a beloved daughter of the King, uniquely and purposefully created as me for this time and space. I have nothing to prove to anyone, and neither do you. God has already chosen us to be a part of His kingdom work. God does not need us to accomplish His will and work. Working with God and being used by Him is a privilege and blessing, not a necessity. How much more special does this make it that He chose you and me, and continues to choose us every day? God doesn’t need or want us to look or act any way other than how He has already created us, in His image and to bear His image. I pray you seek God above all else, that you would know his great love for you and find confidence and freedom in who He created you to be—a daughter of the Highest King. A wise friend of mine shared this advice with me, that I now give to you: “Love overcomes! Love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18). Love overcomes shyness and shame, forgives, strengthens, learns, and grows. Love does not focus on itself but gives itself for the highest good of others. It trusts, obeys and shares the Love of all loves—Jesus—with others.” I pray your identity would be deeply rooted in who the God of the universe created you to be. I pray you would live, work, speak and react in such a way, in all situations and with everyone you meet, that you both may see and experience the Lord Jesus himself, the truth about God and His love.
- Graves into Gardens by The Worship Initiative (Shane & Shane)
- Lean Back by Capital City Music feat. Dion Davis
Hi there, I’m Amber! I am a newly minted college graduate from Messiah University with my bachelor’s in Public Relations. I’m a sister, daughter, soon-to-be aunt, friend, writer, athlete, life-long learner…but most importantly, I’m a beloved daughter of God.
I’m just a 22-year-old perfectionist from a small suburb that knows what it feels like to lose hope and to struggle with love, worth, acceptance, grace, body image, comparison, the list goes on. My passion is to serve and bless others, spread kindness, and share the love and hope found in both knowing Jesus intimately and walking through life with him. My prayer is that everyone may be filled with the eternal love, joy and freedom that only comes from a relationship with Jesus, so that they may overflow with love for others and glorify God in all they do.