Let’s talk about what’s really been going on during quarantine, okay?
We’re all eating. Like, a lot. We’re baking, because, what else is there to do? We’re trying out new recipes in my house. We’re making banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. We’re up late and creating new late night snacks. Is it because we’re bored? Is it because we’re cooped up in the house?
I don’t know the answer; I just know the reality of life right now. And if you’re anything like me, you’re vacillating between: “YOLO! Life is so weird right now, I will absolutely indulge and allow myself these extra things for some comfort” and, “Literally, this is the perfect time to take care of my health and get in shape; what the heck is wrong with me?!”
Guys. If you google “COVID-15”, you will literally find numerous of articles about how to maintain a healthy weight during a global pandemic. Seriously, I just tried it and I found at least five. We’re all joking about our eating habits right now, but here’s what I know. Behind every joke is an element of truth. Behind every meme share about the COVID-15 is most likely a woman who’s cried about not being able to button her jeans. On just about every Zoom Meeting, there’s an insecure, anxious soul who spent too long getting ready for fear of hating the way they looked on a screen. There is literally an option on Zoom called “Touch Up My Appearance.” Have I wanted to use it? Heck yes. Am I too forgetful to ever find out if it works? Also, yes.
This post is not about loving ourselves. I’m not here to try to convince you that you are beautiful and you are enough; although, you are.
I’m here to wonder and question with you how God feels about our image of ourselves.
The world tells us daily to push through. To take control over our bodies’ needs and crush our goals. To ignore what we need in order to get what we want.
Whatever happened to listening to our bodies? Not using pain or discomfort as a cop-out to be lazy, but allowing our bodies and minds to be connected. God didn’t create us with separate parts to function on their own.
If what the Bible says is true, then the Holy Spirit lives in us, right? Here’s how Paul so gently puts it…
“Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you? You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit lives inside your sanctuary.” [1 Corinthians 6:19]
In the spirit of honesty if you weren’t aware, this verse is referring to sexual sin. But the truth is this: God cares about how we view the body He gave us because He lives there, too.
I’m going to go so far as to say that if the Holy Spirit’s sanctuary is our earthy body, it matters how we speak to ourselves about our bodies. Yes, it matters that we take care of ourselves. We should be active and eating well to care for this sacred temple.
But we are doing the grace of Jesus Christ a disservice when we hold ourselves to an impossible body image standard. I feel it. I get it. I do my best to exercise for my physical and mental health – but my frustration and mood can often be so dependent upon my discontentment with how my clothes fit or my appearance in a photo on Instagram. I’ve gained more weight than I’m comfortable with in the past year, and there are times it consumes me. And I’m guessing it’s happened to you, too.
It’s real, y’all. It’s being magnified right now as our only contact with the outside world is through screens. The problem is, it’s not just about what the mirror shows us anymore. It isn’t just about how we see ourselves. It’s how we see ourselves through everyone else’s eyes. We’re viewing ourselves through a virtual mirror that is filtered and cropped and magnified. Our faces are literally little squares of comparison on every Zoom meeting.
Our issues with weight and body image are not trivial to God. When I say He wants to be involved in every piece of our lives, I mean it.
We can’t extend ourselves grace here. We can only accept it. If we try to create grace and self-love, we’ll fail and disappoint ourselves over and over. Our grace is conditional. Self-love is limited. But the One who is love is eternal and unconditional. God is the Source of grace and love and never with conditions or limitations.
So yeah, take care of your body and your mind. Eat healthy, exercise, get active. But lay on the couch and eat ice cream or donuts, too. This life is too precious to limit ourselves to an either/or lifestyle. Treat yourself kindly and accept the perfect love that has already been bought for you. Grace is not yours to create or control. Grace has already been fully and perfectly formed, and all you need to do now is accept it fully for yourself.
“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Stop imitating the ideals and the opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.“