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Freedom in the Flesh

by GAIL GOOLSBY ACCEPTANCE Contentment Feeling known & understood Identity in Christ Self-care God's Image
Freedom in the Flesh
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
1 Samuel 16:7

“I am not sure these one-size-fits-all elastic waistband pants are helping me control my eating,” I told a teammate in our Central Asia location. “Combined with not having to cook or choose the menu since our campus cook cares for us six days a week, I am afraid to step on a scale!”

All around me, older local women were covered up, but seemed to embrace the body-rounding impact of age, childbirth, and a less active lifestyle. It was relaxing really, until I returned to the States. Ugh. Suddenly I was not happy with my seven-year hiatus from body size focus. But why??

Our culture makes it nearly impossible to be content with our bodies as God gave them to us. Perfection formulas show up everywhere on social media, stare at us from every screen, and invite us to invest precious money and time and energy to achieve confidence in our own body image. We realize we should resist the pressure to compare ourselves, but we fail.

How do we fight back the feelings of embarrassment of our bodies, the ones not thin and muscled (or too thin), not curvy in the right places (or too curvy), or scarred or freckled or disfigured or sagging? The list of body problems can be long. And exhausting. And depressing.

As Christian women, we know what God says, that our bodies were created in His image and that our bodies are good (Gen 1:27). We need to take care of them for our own health benefit, for those we love and serve and to honor God (I Cor 6:19-20). 

I did reboot my eating habits back home and enjoyed my regular exercise regime outside on wonderful sidewalks in fresh air. Now if I sense body bondage happening, I press into God’s Word to remind myself of what He says about me and the freedom He wants for me in the body He gave me.

Closing Prayer
Father God, I know I need to care for my body for many reasons and I want to. Help me with self-control regarding food and balanced exercise, but more so to care for the health of my heart and spirit. When I focus on growing in you, I am less impacted by cultural messages about my worth from the outside view. In Christ’s name and resurrection power, Amen.
Question for Reflection

Where are you in accepting your body? What messages are you listening to regarding your worth?

Gail Goolsby
August 03, 2022

I know I can exercise more self-control in eating choices and amounts, but I will regard more than a scale to assess my overall body health. Focusing on others and spiritual growth lets body/self focus dim and also allows me to not crave food for false gratification. It is a daily challenge.