Feeling free in your body, or rather freeing yourself from body hatred and disparaging body-talk, is a freedom journey you deserve to take.
Diet culture is a sneaky little devil. It eats away at the fiber of your being without you even realizing it. What you do notice though is a feeling of inadequacy. The more time you spend steeped in images of women who are thinner and prettier and more successful than you, the worse you feel about yourself. The more time you spend reading messages that tell you you’re too much this or not enough that, the less you like yourself. It leaves you feeling empty.
And at some point you get fed up enough and decide you don’t want to live like that anymore. You know you need to find a way to free yourself from these deprecating thoughts. But how? It feels hard, it feels like it’s going to be an uphill battle, and you aren’t convinced you have the strength to do it.
And so you begin your journey to feeling free in your body with a plan to feel better about yourself.
The natural secular thing to do when you feel bad about yourself is to focus on yourself. We are taught to repeat daily mantras about how wonderful we are. We are taught to do daily self care like taking baths and walks and buying things that make us feel pretty or special.
But none of that is self sustainable. What I mean is, you have to continually do more and more mantras and self care in order to maintain the good feelings they give you. That can get time consuming. Not to mention expensive. If you think about it, this route to feeling better about yourself is wrought in privilege and discriminates against the poor. And in the end, those body hating thoughts creep back in anyway.
Are we supposed to go through life feeling like we are never good enough?
Okay, so no, you are NOT supposed to do that. Which begs the question then, what does work?
What does work is seeking God. Seeking His help to put an end to the body hatred. Seeking Him to find body freedom. He wants you to know the peace He gives and He wants you to know joy in your life…they are two of the fruits of the Spirit that allows Him to live through us.
Let’s be really clear on why we are seeking God here.
Please please please know this. You are NOT seeking God so that you can feel better about yourself.
You ARE seeking God to experience His peace, to develop His joy, and to know His love and be overflowing with it so that you can share that with others. And You are seeking Him so He can be alive in the world through you. THIS is how and where you will find what you need to feel free in your body. It’s in God’s love and His love alone that you can live peaceably and joyfully in this world.
Nurturing His peace
Peace only comes from God. In order to know His peace, you first have to understand where in your life you are missing it. What parts of your life are not peaceful? Call them out and be specific. Then pray on those. Find scripture that helps you understand them and gives you guidance for how to change them. Then walk it out. I love how Marcy explains it this way in her blog, Ben and Me. She says “walk it out” and it means you need to put into action the guidance from the Holy Spirit from prayer and scripture. Yes. You have to actually do what it says to do.
For example, on my own journey to freedom from my body hating thoughts I resonated deeply with this passage from Philippians:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
This was and still is my reminder to continually turn to God when I’m not feeling peaceful. And it also reminds me to ask that famous question…what would Jesus do? I want you to know that I still walk this walk daily, the path is just getting a little smoother with fewer rocks and crevices to trip me up and maneuver around.
Nurturing His joy
You are going to follow the exact same process for nurturing joy as you did for nurturing peace. If you read enough of my posts and follow enough Christians, you’ll notice we all keep saying the same thing…turn first to God. I recall the moment this hit me. I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing or what the problem of the moment was, but I do remember the feeling of fire it lit in my soul when I finally got it. Turn first to God.
He is in all things and wants to be a part of every second of your life…even the things you think are small or the things you want to hide from Him. So where are you missing joy in your life? Pray about that. Listen to the Holy Spirit, watch for ways He speaks to you throughout your day. Find scripture to support your goals and then…walk it out.
What do we do next?
Does it end there?
I can give you a hearty heck no on that.
When you find yourself filled with His peace, joy, and love, you share it with others. Instead of focusing on yourself, look around you at how you can glorify Him and serve others by sharing these fruits with them. It’s amazing how when you are focused on sharing these things you don’t have time to worry about what your body looks like.
Where are you at on your journey to feeling free in your body? What’s been your most helpful scripture that brings you peace or joy? Share it in the comments to inspire a fellow lady needing encouragement with this today.