Body Image
T. Suzanne Eller

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now." 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

I walked by the mirror in the department store. I stopped, backed up, and took a second look. Was that really me? I was nearly nine months pregnant with twins and looked like Mrs. Potato Head. My arms and legs stuck out of a huge protruding stomach. My belly button looked like a cork ready to pop!

A few days later Ryan and Melissa arrived. I loved my babies! But as the months passed, I didn't love my body with all its stretch marks and a baby bump that remained no matter how hard I tried to get rid of them.

Flash forward twenty-five years. Melissa loves to serve as Mom's fashionista, and tries to keep me up with the times. One day she and I were shopping for a pair of jeans and she'd picked out a couple of things she wanted me to try on. She knocked on the door of the dressing room. "Let me in, Mom."

I cracked open the door. "I'll be out in a minute, hon."

She frowned. Later she confronted me. "Mom, you were hiding your stomach, weren't you? I don't get it. You just need to get over it."

How many times have I met a truly beautiful woman and complemented her, only to hear her say, "Well, thank you, but I need to lose five pounds," or "I'm having a crazy hair day," or "Did you see that woman over there, now she's beautiful." What I saw was a smile that was warm and welcoming, or beautiful hazel eyes that were filled with compassion, or a woman who was frugal and fabulous. My complements were sincere, but fell flat as she focused on her flaws instead.
My conversation with Melissa that day reminded me that I was doing the same thing. Worse, I was modeling this behavior in front of my daughter.

The truth is that I'm healthy. I have given birth to three beautiful children. And more importantly, I'm God's girl. I'm beautifully made in His image. That's a fact etched on my heart and my mind.

Now if only someone would remind my mouth.

In Bible times ancient mirrors were polished metal, easily tarnished, and the reflection was hard to see. If a woman had a flaw, she had to rely on her friends or sisters to give her a head's up.
But today we can scope out our features in detail with three-way mirrors or a 5x-, 10x-, or even 15x magnified mirror where every pore and every flaw is magnified! Too often, those mirrors are reminders of the cultural message of what beauty is - or is not.

But what would happen if we focused on the mirror Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 13:12 instead? The more we get to know God, the clearer things become. We stop checking out our own image and discover more about Him. That helps us see the bigger picture—5X-, 10X-, and maybe even 15X magnified!

And there's a bonus. The more we get to know Him, the more others see us through His reflection.

Now, that's real beauty.

Dear God, I am made in Your image. I matter to You. Make me wise. Let me be grateful for physical healthy. Will You join me as I pursue joy, wisdom, peace, and selflessness? I want to look like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Suzie’s blog to talk more about this topic and to enter a giveaway for a copy of Suzie’s book, The Woman I am Becoming: Embracing the Chase for Identity, Faith, and Destiny

The Woman I am Becoming: Embracing the Chase for Identity, Faith, and Destiny by T. Suzanne Eller

Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Jennifer Rothschild

Tune in to the P31 Radio Show today: Do You Like Yourself?

Application Steps:
Name things that you believe will be important to you 10 years from now; 20 years from now.

Name one inner quality you'd like to nurture to help you work toward those goals.

What is one step you can take to begin that process?

Reflections:
"Scientists have concluded that there must be something more to us than our brains and our bodies. The Bible makes the same point: Whether it describes you with the words "soul," "spirit," or "heart," the meaning is the same - the real you, the deepest truest you is not your body. You are a living soul." Lael Arrington, author of The Things That Matter Most.

Power Verses:
Proverbs 31:30,"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised." (NLT)

Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." (NIV)

© 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE! Check out the book Mirror, Mirror Am I Beautiful? by Shelley Hitz. It talks about this very thing. It is a life changing book!!!

Anonymous Ramona said...

Ms Eller, thank you for sharing, yes most of us ladies do do that. Society has Ladies thinking if you don't look a certain way, "You Need To Change" to fit in. But the truth is, as long as God approves of me, thats all that matters. A Mothers Heart.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was doing the same thing this morning. A lady walked up to me and asked if I had lost some weight. I have lost about 10-15 lbs but haven't felt like it was very noticeable. To me, I could stand to lose a few more. So once again, this site has given me the wisedom I needed today from God to appreciate who I am. Thank you!

Blogger danni_marie said...

This is exactly the kind of devotion I needed for this week. I found myself getting a little obsessive with calories last night since I'm trying to lose weight. And I had done a very challenging workout, so I should have been proud of myself. I am today, but I need to be grateful that I'm healthy, and realize God thinks I'm beautiful everyday, and believe that myself! The verses given are amazing, and I will reflect on them! Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Dove.com`s video called evolution it chose how the beauty industries idea of beauty is entirely fake, example most recently Demi More`s missing hip
(it was photo shoped off and you can tell that from the photo). The world dosen`t have a clue what real beauty is! with Jesus in our hearts we can have beauty that never fades.

Blogger Theodora said...

It's so funny that I read this devotion because I was thinking about how my weight has fluctuated: I lose weight for a while and then gain it right back and it gets frustrating. But then I remember that God looks at the heart and not at physical appearance. I am however, not discounting keeping up with appearance, but to simply be healthy for the glory of God. God Bless you Ms. Eller.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Suzanne! ~Ruthanne

Anonymous Suzanne Eller said...

Love you ladies. You are beautiful.

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