You won’t fully accomplish acceptance of what your body looks like until you learn to love your enemies.
The mom in me would love to say, “because I said so.” But after raising four kids I know that won’t work. Instead I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Well, it’s not actually a secret. But we tend to overlook this a lot.
Loving Your Enemies Isn’t Really All That Hard
Let me say that again.
Loving our enemies isn’t really all that hard.
It actually is less stressful, less time consuming, and less work than hating them.
Yep. You heard me right. Loving your enemies is the easier way out.
But how does this relate to how you feel about your body?
Simply put, when we hate on our body, hate how we look, and talk down to ourselves about our weight, size, and shape, we are treating our bodies as though they are the enemy.
It makes sense then that in order to learn to accept our body “as is”, we need to learn to turn this enemy relationship upside down. We must understand that our bodies are not an enemy but that we are treating them as if they were. And stopping doing this isn’t as easy as “just do it”. It requires meeting yourself where you’re at. Who better to turn to for help with this than Jesus?
Get Into Your Relationship With Jesus
Being in relationship with Jesus means you truly KNOW love. Let’s think about this. When it comes to love, what is harder than loving someone you so desperately want to hate? Someone who hurt you terribly? Maybe someone who makes your life painful?
Our world teaches us to hate people we disagree with. It teaches us to get revenge on people who have wronged us. We have ample opportunity in our world to numb and avoid anyone or anything that doesn’t feel good, and a culture that encourages this.
What’s The Real Enemy Here?
But what if our enemy isn’t other people? What if we replace “people” with “my body” as the enemy here? We grow up learning hatred from a society that has normalized it. Diet culture is no different. Diet culture has normalized hating our bodies and gives us ample resources (aka diets) to help us numb, avoid, or change them.
Breaking free from all of this hate requires something bigger than the hate itself. It requires someone bigger than ourselves. Love is the only thing big enough that I know of. And lucky for us, we know that God is love. To know God is to know love, right?
I am not talking about a prideful, conceited kind of love. I’m talking about a natural grateful love. This kind of love requires a reliance on God and the Holy Spirit. It requires us to lean INTO Him and be in relationship with Him.
And when we do that, what do you think happens to our focus? Right. It’s on Him instead of on secular views and opinions of our enemies. When’s the last time you were reading a devotional, praying, or spending time in the word and you simultaneously were filled with hatred toward someone? I’m guessing that doesn’t happen. That’s because when we spend time with Him, He fills us with His love.
I Repeat, Get Into Your Relationship With God
While I didn’t entirely intend for this to turn into a “how to” post, the point of what I’m writing is to help you both understand why loving your enemies is required AND to help you get started doing that. So how does this work?
The cool part is that if you’re reading this, you’re probably already doing what you need to be doing. You’re growing your relationship with God. You’re taking the walks with Jesus to help you know Him deeper.
“For no one has ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as the Messiah does the church.”(Ephesians 5:29)
Ultimately, knowing God means trusting Him. They go hand in hand. So when He tells us to love our enemies, we trust He knows what He’s doing. This means God can say “because I said so” even though I can’t get away with it.
While I’m not usually a fan of the “fake it until you make it” philosophy, I do think that a little “acting as if” will be helpful here. It gets you started down the right path. Then, trust God to give you the strength you need to continue. And finally, ask the Holy Spirit to work in your heart to change your feelings for what you hate…be it another person or your body.
How Exactly Am I Supposed To Love My Enemy?
The act of loving our enemies that He expects from us can show up as praying for them, turning the other cheek when you see they need it (forgiveness), giving to them or doing something good for them (having a generous heart). The options are boundless.
I’ve heard it referred to as respect, acceptance, and even trust among others. But all of those boil down to treating your body with the love it deserves. The love God has for you. Who are we to say we are not good enough when God has said otherwise? Who are we to treat ourselves poorly when God loves us?
Loving your body might show up as acknowledging those feelings that are getting in the way of your love. It might mean slowing down enough to give yourself the time to really understand what your body needs, enjoys, and makes it feel good, energized, and ready for the next task at hand. Or it might show up as simply being aware of negative thoughts and refusing to allow yourself to talk to your body that way. It will change and grow as you change and grow in your relationship with Jesus.
“I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.”(Psalm 139:14)
Share in the comments some ways you can begin loving your enemies and your body.