The truth about your body

By Elaini Garfield / Photo by Jessie Christensen

Glancing down, I saw my phone light up. Words like neat little soldiers marching across the screen spoke, “But you know how you see your own imperfections?” 

I sighed. My friend’s body is amazing, but she has a hard time seeing it. Honestly though, I think a lot of us are like that. We look in the mirror and we see flaws. Typically, we pick the worst version of ourselves. What if we could change that? What if we could have a conversation about our bodies that brought healing instead of shame?   

Culture sends us messages all the time about who we are or what we should be. It tells us that we need to look like this or that. Maybe you’ve noticed that the standard is always changing. It’s exhausting. I think it’s also exhausting to try and live up to the standards of beauty we’ve created for ourselves. 

When I look at my seven-year-old niece, with her gorgeous blonde hair and the bluest eyes and two front teeth missing, I think she’s beautiful. I would never in a million years look at her and see ugly. The thought of telling her anything negative about her face and body makes me cringe. What if, when I looked in the mirror, I saw the seven-year-old version of myself? Would I really be so critical? 

While there’s a lot more to beauty than what’s on the outside (kindness, joy, peace, patience, love), the body is obviously important! Christ created us with human bodies for a purpose. We aren’t just spirits floating around, and that’s a good thing. Christ himself put on flesh and came to this real, physical earth. That must mean that the body has value and is important. 

Just listen to this verse: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Notice the language here. We are his workmanship. God is the best artist. He doesn’t make mistakes. He didn’t make a mistake when he created you. 

Before there was sin and pain and everything went haywire, God created humans with bodies made of bones and beating hearts and the ability to feel and touch. If we didn’t have bodies, we couldn’t hug our friends. If we didn’t have arms, we couldn’t cuddle sweet babies. If we didn’t have lips, we couldn’t kiss the one we love. If we didn’t have legs, we couldn’t stroll through the park. If we didn’t have eyes, we couldn’t see the sky flaming with color on a summer night. 

Jesus is in the business of redeeming everything that’s been broken, hurt, or messed up. That includes our bodies. What if we joined him in that process of restoration? What if every time we looked in the mirror, we gave thanks? That would be revolutionary. There’s a lot to give thanks for concerning your body. I promise you there is.   

What we speak over ourselves matters a lot. We can either tell ourselves tragic things, or we can tell ourselves the redemption story. This is where giving thanks for how God has made you and who he is, will play a powerful part in how you choose to view beauty and your body. 

Every time you look in the mirror now or see a flaw in yourself, I want you to use that moment for good. I want you to use that feeling to remind you that this isn’t the end of the story. I want you to be pointed to the fact that someday we will get new bodies, heavenly bodies that will be perfect. Let’s turn our weaknesses into a position where we find strength. The best way to do that is always by looking to Jesus. Jesus came down in human form to redeem us from the sin and lies weighing us down. He took all that shame on his physical body while on the cross, so that we don’t have to.   

This means we can celebrate the amazing bodies we’ve been given. When God created the world, he said it was good. That includes our bodies. He made us in his image! You are created in the image of God. Let that sink in for a moment. The one who crafted lilies created you with the same grace, power, and complexity. 

Let Christ be our example. The body is so important to Christ that he uses its imagery to tell people they are his. “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). The very act of giving thanks when we partake of communion is a reminder of his body. “And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body’” (Mark 14:22). 

So the next time you look in the mirror, give thanks. Speak redemption grace over yourself instead of ugly lies. When you look in the mirror, I hope you remember the little seven-year-old girl and speak kindly to her. Even more than that, I hope you see that you’re a person Christ came to make his own. Your body is a gift. 

 

Originally published in our Summer 2016 print edition

Elaini GarfieldComment