For most of my life, I’ve had a mental checklist of everything that’s wrong with my appearance. My skin is acne-prone. One of my eyes is smaller than the other. My arms are too hairy. My body isn’t exactly “thicc” (is that a weird word to use here?). The list goes on… And I don’t think I’m alone in having a list. When girls go to the bathroom together and look in the mirror, it seems like protocol to make one negative comment about ourselves before looking away. A few months ago, God showed me this passage of Genesis in a way that I’ve never seen it before:
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”Genesis 3:8-11
Who told you that you were naked? Surely, this was God pushing them to admit that they were feeling shame because they sinned against him. But still, I wonder if it was also God’s heart breaking for them. I wonder if God was also asking, “Who told you that the way you were designed is anything to be ashamed of?” To create the universe and everything in it, only to find your most prized creation covered in fig leaves. Wouldn’t your heart break too?
May each pound of fat be a reminder that you’re fed. May each stretch mark be a reminder of your resilience. May each pimple be a reminder to be humble. May each wrinkle by your eye be a reminder of everything that’s made you smile.
What if we just saw God when we looked in the mirror? I pray that we will. I pray that we will know that we are created in His image just as much today as we were in our mother’s wombs. I pray that we will walk with the understanding that we are a purposeful piece of God’s favorite creation.
The key here is picking out the sin. Gluttony and laziness are both sins. If you struggle with either of them, it’s likely affecting your body. But, your body is not what’s wrong with you. If you’re covering yourself with fig leaves, you’ve missed the point. This is not a body issue. It’s a sin issue. And as with all sin issues, you’re going to need to repent and turn from it. And you’re probably going to hit a lot of bumps along the way. That’s what grace is for. I think we’re all in for the shock of our lives once we’re able to look back and see how beautifully our lives transformed and how miraculously our sins were separated from us, all while believing the truth about our bodies the whole way through.
No matter how many pounds you lose or gain, how clear your skin gets, how much you whiten your teeth, it’s never going to be enough. The world is never going to run out of things to tell you to do better. But, our sweet Jesus—he never runs out of adoration for you. There is not one flaw that makes him take a step back from you. Heaven celebrates you every time you see God’s prized creation in the mirror. Heaven mourns when you see anything less. Rather than seeing our mental checklist as things to fix, let’s see it as insecurities that we need to let go of and be free from. And let’s check off all of the boxes.
From Him to me to you,