I hope you're well. In the last post, I promised that I would share practical steps to put the principle of body neutrality into practice. I spoke about positive self-talk as it relates to renewing your mind. If you're like "what does renew your mind mean?" hold on, I'm about to explain. But first, please make sure you've read the previous post "Why You Don't Need to Love Your Body to Accept It (Body Neutrality)" *first* because this post builds on the last one.
In this post, we're going to be looking at body image from a spiritual perspective. I'm going to share from the viewpoint of my spiritual beliefs as a Christian. You may or may not be a Christian, but please know that this post is for everyone. I do not intend for this Biblical perspective to make anyone feel left out. I do believe that body image issues are not just physical/emotional/mental, but that they are also deeply spiritual. This is why I'm sharing this today and will from time to time be speaking about healing from a Biblical perspective. So here are the two key scriptures for this post:
"And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [a]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]." - Romans 12:2, Amplified version
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words." - Romans 12:2, Amplified version
Renewing your mind
This first scripture is like, everything. It speaks to everything that I've learned on my own healing journey but through a godly lens. Let's break down this verse to see how it applies to healing your body image:
"...do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs]...": this first part specifically instructs us not to think and act in the ways of the world. What is the world? In Biblical terms, the world represents everything that doesn't align with God's design and values. There is so much in the world that is out of alignment with God's principles, including what society tells women about their bodies and where their worth comes from. We have to be discerning about we allow ourselves to believe because this forms the foundation of our thoughts.
"...be [a]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind." Like I mentioned in the intro to this post, I don't believe that food and body image struggles are just physical. They're also spiritual. Without getting too deep, we're all born for a purpose and there are spiritual forces behind the scene that will use any distraction or struggle to keep up from realising our God-given purpose. If there wasn't a really important reason for our existence, we wouldn't have been born. We're not born to be pretty or sexy, but to fulfil our purpose. In order to do this, we have to unlearn the lies we've been taught about what makes us worthy and transform our mindsets so we are not weighed down by unnecessary struggles.
"...so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. When we allow our minds to align with the truth of who we are and our true life's purpose, we can begin to experience freedom. Freedom to live purposefully and joyfully without the weight of food and body shame.
So as we can see we have to let go of the beliefs of the world. Make a commitment today to stop believing what you see/read on social media, on the series you watch, in advertisements and even what you hear from people around you. Start asking yourself, or praying to God, to know what truly defines your worth. When you believe that you are whole and your identity doesn't rest in how many calories you eat in a day or the number on the scale, the overwhelming weight to have the perfect body is lifted from your shoulders.
Speak life to yourself
Secondly, I wanted to speak about the importance of guarding your thoughts and the words you speak, When I was working through my body image issues a few years ago, I began to realise the chain reaction between my beliefs, thoughts and feelings. Every negative thought about my body stemmed from a toxic and untrue belief. Every negative thought gave birth to a painful feeling about my body and myself. The cycle grew stronger every time it was triggered.
What you think and speak becomes your reality. This is essentially what the second scripture is saying. When you think negative thoughts about your body, you are essentially speaking that negativity over yourself in the spiritual realm. It's no wonder those feelings grip you so powerfully and make you believe that you are worth nothing.
To turn things around you need to realise how powerful your thoughts and words are. Begin by rejecting every negative and false belief you've been taught (directly and/or indirectly) about women's bodies and then renew your mind with life-giving beliefs and thoughts. Speak life over yourself with affirming Bible verses. Every time you hear a negative thought in your mind, quickly stop it. You have the power to change your thoughts in an instant by turning every negative thought into a positive one. Or you can audibly tell negative thoughts to leave you alone or call them out for being a lie.
I also want to be real with you for a moment - it's only in the past year or so that I've learned that guarding your thoughts and self-talk is actually a Biblical principle. In hindsight, I know how much more transformative it is when we also involve God in our healing journey. True healing is mind, body and spirit.
I feel like I could go on and on but I'm going to stop here. In the next post, I'll speak about how to find a true sense of identity that isn't influenced by any societal standards, beauty-wise or otherwise.
Please share your questions or comments with me below or via my Insta DMs. I'd love to hear from you and answer your questions directly with these posts. God bless you!