By Sarah Chmelik
We live in a world that has been taken over by social media, filled with images where we only show followers our best. Pictures are clouded by filters and edits and posts about the spectacular lives we are living. As we scroll through looking at our friends’ beauty and happiness, we often start comparing ourselves to them. Why am I not that beautiful? Why do I not have that many likes? Why am I not that happy?
Body image has become such a huge issue in this day and age, where women and even men become caught up in their looks and begin to despair because they believe that they are not as good, or skinny, or fit, or flawless, as the person to their left or their right. We fall into this trap of comparison and despair and sadness. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “…for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” It’s a tough world out there and as many times that we can hear how beautiful we are and how we are made in the image and likeness of God, it is still easy to fall into this trap of despair because we are surrounded by a society that often only sees our outward appearance.
Now, the fact that we were made in the image and likeness of God is how we as human beings have value! This is not to go unlooked. If we believe that God is our creator then we have to believe that, “…we are his workmanship…” (Ephesians 2:10). Why would an all perfect, all knowing, all loving creator make anything or anyone that was unworthy? We are beautiful no matter what anyone says. God, our Father, gave us dignity and worth and we are made in His image and likeness.
We must always remember what St. Paul told us: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) When I was discussing body image with a friend, I got a response of… “ just don’t care what people think of you.” But that’s only partially true. We can’t concern ourselves in what others think about us; our value is not in their eyes, it is in the eyes of God. But, our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which was bought with a price! We have to treat our bodies with the same value that Christ paid for them! So, while yes, not caring about what others think of you may solve the issue of comparison and despair, we must equally recognize that our bodies are temples and we must glorify God in your body.
This message of body image is twofold to me.
- We have to resist the urge to compare ourselves to others. One practical way to accomplish this is every time you find yourself despairing and feeling ugly, go out of your way to compliment someone else or perform a nice deed for someone else. I know that this seems a little weird, but I promise you that getting out of your head and by being generous you will be filled with more joy than any sort of makeover could ever give you!
- Our bodies are precious works of art and are to be treated as such. How are we going to keep fighting to glorify God in our bodies? It’s a tough world out there and this is a battle we can never stop fighting. We will all fall, I know that I have, but we are never alone and have to get back up again. Give the devil the middle finger and keep fighting!
So all in all, yes, it is a real struggle to love yourself at times when the world tells you that you need to be skinny, or look like a model… but take heart! You have been made as God’s masterpiece, and He made your body specifically for you and your journey in this life. Don’t ever believe the Devil’s lies that you are worth any less than another person because of your body. Don’t ever believe that you are anything less than a masterpiece.