Happy February, lovely!
What’s been on your heart lately? I’ve been thinking about positive body image since I wrote a blog post on it yesterday for the Department of Public Health (where I’m completing an internship rotation), and I wanted to share about that topic with you, too.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
Today, we get to fully grasp and enjoy God’s personal love for us. It just hit me today that there’s actually no need for “self-love” – the love we need is already taken care of. In a good relationship, we don’t have to worry about loving ourselves. Instead, a beautiful confidence fills us when we’re close to our person! When they’re telling us and showing us how valuable, beautiful, and necessary we are, we naturally respond with self-confidence in that moment. When you’ve got goodness coming in, you don’t have much room in your mind for your own self-doubt. You can just focus on loving them back!
God’s trying to be our encourager like that all the time. He tells us over and over in His word that he deeply loves us, cherishes us, and has a great plan for the future that requires us. He blankets us in His love through the beauty of the world, the kindness of others, and through prayer and worship. He doesn’t want us to think negatively about ourselves, and makes it clear that He makes us able to think on what is lovely, admirable, and praise-worthy (Phil 4:8). I wonder if we might be able to use His love to carry us through this day? If we call His words to mind enough, could we think well of ourselves more often? Romans says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds… so let’s fill our minds with the truth of what God thinks about us.
Instead of just body image, I find it helpful to put the focus first on self-image – looking at how we see our whole person. People look first at the outside, but God looks at the heart. If you really look at others, too, I think you’ll see what’s enduring. A beautiful heart, kind words, selfless actions, wisdom – those are things that are really beautiful. I find that when my focus is right – when I’m seeking God – He will shine through, and I like myself a lot more then. That’s the most attractive thing I have seen in others, too!
“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Then, let’s look at the outside. The most effective way to do this is to evaluate your habits – am I taking care of me? When we take care of ourselves the best, we’re in the position to be and look the very best we can, and that’s enough. Discipline is good, and it’s a biblical principle. When we make our first discipline reading the bible, we can find strength there to pursue excellence in other areas of our lives, and perspective to keep our priorities in order. We can then implement habits like regular exercise and healthy meals, and over time, we will see and feel progress in our physical appearance. It’s worth pursuing, because it can help us feel more confident in ourselves and less insecure, and that has a big impact on how we treat people.
I’m learning that focusing on loving and encouraging others instead of trying to get approval is the way to go. It’s a good distraction from self-doubt, and you will often find the love and fulfillment that you receive in return makes you feel the most beautiful!
Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day!