Standing in front of the mirror, a reflection of myself looking back. Long, light brown hair. Blue eyes. A full figure. A freckle on the end of my nose.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
So often, when we look in the mirror, we see flaws. Many flaws. Things about our bodies and looks that we wish were different; thinner, taller, softer, smaller.
Self-criticizing thoughts roll through the mind. And the criticism moves from external to internal, finding flaws not just in how we look, but in who we are.
We’re told to embrace our bodies. We’re told to love ourselves.
But it’s not easy.
And often, the messages of this world to embrace our bodies and love ourselves can be self-centered. It’s all about feeling good and being happy and getting noticed by others. Whether dieting or over-eating, wearing clothes to cover our “problem” areas or wearing clothes to show off our curves, how we embrace our bodies and love ourselves can become just another form of self-worship, rather than honoring to God.
Maybe you, like a lot of other women, look in your mirror and don’t like what you see. Maybe you, like a lot of other women, can feel self-conscience and insecure in your own skin.
There is a passage in God’s Word that speaks to us as we stand in front of our mirrors, and tells us the truth about our bodies:
Maybe you’ve read and heard this passage before, and maybe it seems a bit cliche of an answer to our insecurities and negative body-image. But it is truth, straight from God’s Word. So let’s a dig a little deeper into this truth today and hear God speak.
When I was younger, my grandma taught me how to knit. Knitting takes focus. It is hands on work. Slipping the yarn over the needles, maintaining the right tension, counting to make sure you have the right number of stitches.
God knit us together. Weaving us with our unique looks and personalities. This was an intimate, hands-on creating, done with focus and intentionality, like the artist sculpting, painting, composing, weaving the shapes, the colors, the notes together to form a masterpiece.
God created you.
God created YOU.
From the inside out, from the personality you have, to the color of your skin, God created you.
He created your inmost being, the deepest part of you, your heart of hearts. He sculpted your bones and threaded your veins and painted your eyes and counted the hairs as He placed them on your head. He breathed His life-breathe into your lungs and gave a you a heart to beat with passion.
You are no accident. You are no mistake. No matter how you were conceived. No matter if you were wanted or not. No matter what health issues or large thighs or awkward quirks you have. God intentionally created you as you. He wants you on this earth, and He wants you in eternity with Him.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made, each one of us.
In this passage, the word “fearfully” comes from the Hebrew yare. Yare describes standing in awe and reverence. This word is used to describe how we are made because our creation really is an awe-inspiring thing. To think that the God of universe, who has all at His fingertips, who holds all in His hands, would use those mighty, good hands to shape and form us out of love, so that we might live in love with Him.
The passage also says we are wonderfully made. This word comes from the Hebrew palah, which means “to distinguish.” It speaks of being set apart and it also is used express actions that are beyond human powers.
You didn’t come from a cookie cutter mold. You were made distinctly as you. God didn’t create you just to see how it would go, as an experiment. He has a plan and purpose for you, one He has had from the very beginning.
You are a part of God’s wonderful works. You are God’s wonderful work of art.
This is the truth about your body. How do we take this truth to heart, and live like we believe it, silencing the negative self-talk and embracing our bodies to honor God?
We need to listen to what God says about us, and live in the truth of who we are in Jesus, rather than the messages of the world that turn our bodies into sources of shame and an idol. When we do this, we will find our self-esteem grow, and the insecurities disappear, because our beauty and identity is rooted in Christ, rather than the "perfect" body.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (ESV)
God created us to live for Him and to be reflections of Jesus on this earth. That is the beauty in us; Jesus light shining forth.
Embracing our bodies shouldn’t just be about feeling good or being happy, but about using the bodies God has given us to do what God has called us to do; to reflect the beauty of Jesus to a broken world.
We are to be listening ears, and shoulders to cry on, and eyes that see the hurting and broken, and helping hands, and feet that go the extra mile, and voices that speak love and truth and encouragement.
Next time you find yourself standing in front of the mirror, not liking what you see, respond to the self-criticism with the words of Psalm 139:
Offer up praise to God. Praise focuses our eyes not on the flaws, but on our perfect Creator. Praise Him for creating you and giving you life and working in you and that you get to be His light in this world.
Declare the truth of who you are in Christ, that you are fearfully and wonderfully made; that you are God's workmanship, and that you have a purpose in Him.
Take care of your body, not out of a place of shame or trying to be good enough, but out of reverence to God. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit, God's dwelling place on this earth, and are called to honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
And think of something you can do this week to serve someone else, using the hands and feet God gave you, offering your body as a living sacrifice in worship to God. (Romans 12:1)