According to a poll of 300 women conducted by Glamour magazine in 2011, 97 percent of American women are unhappy with their appearance.This statistic is sad, because it shows we’re not embracing how God uniquely designed each of us. Maybe today you’re chasing perfection and believe that if you can work hard enough to reach your goal weight, you’ll finally feel good about yourself. Or perhaps you’ve completely let yourself go and tell yourself you don’t care. But I bet on either side of these extremes, there’s an ache in the heart that says, “I know I’m more than this!” And friend, you are!
Have you ever wondered who or what created how you see yourself? We need to pinpoint this and align it with the Word.
Meet Karen, the perfectionist.
She was desperate to be a size 8. Growing up, she had been bullied about her weight, and the pain from that was still affecting her. She thought if she could just get skinny, she could prove everyone wrong and finally feel good about herself. Karen tried every diet, but with each attempt, her dream felt further away. She once showed me a picture on her phone of her vision board. It was covered with images of extremely fit and perfectly photoshopped women. Karen believed that the way she looked was the problem, but the true problem was how she saw herself.
We traced her motivation to pursue perfection back to something her family had said: they always referred to her as the “ugly duckling.” Karen had taken that nickname and the bullying she experienced and turned them into a mission to be perfect. But after giving her the tools to place her identity securely in Christ and forgive her family and those who bullied her, she was able to embrace the individual beauty God had given her and get free from perfectionism.
Meet Susan, who tried to find comfort in not caring.
She was another extreme. At first glance, she seemed confident, but as she opened up, she shared she had given up on herself. Susan said getting older made her feel invisible, so she ate for comfort and had begun to isolate herself. At one appointment, I asked her, “Is there any part of you, even the slightest tinge in your soul, that really doesn’t want to give up on yourself and knows you are more than this?” Susan grabbed my hand and said, “I really do, but I feel so old . . . like it doesn’t matter anymore.” Susan needed to be reminded that it wasn’t too late, she wasn’t too old, and God still had work for her to do.
Meet Christy, who kept talking herself out of her dreams.
Christy came to me because she wanted more godly confidence. She explained that she had a dream, but she kept talking herself out of it. “I’m nothing special, I’m just a mom and a wife, so no one will take me seriously,” she said. When I asked her to explain, she shared that she had always wanted to be a fitness instructor, but she felt like she didn’t look the part; that’s why she referred to herself as “just a mom and a wife.” Christy needed to break free from the limiting vision she had of herself, and she needed to know that God had placed that dream of being a fitness instructor in her heart for a reason. She now works as a part-time fitness instructor and says she can’t imagine her life without the pure joy of encouraging women to live healthy lifestyles.
There is no peace in living with a view of yourself that isn’t based in the truth of who God says you are.
Try this exercise: Look at your child or a little one in your life who is very special to you.
Think about how much you love that child and how you would do anything for him or her. Now, take all of those emotions and let this wash over you—this is how God looks at you. You are precious to Him. You are His daughter.
Seeing yourself through God’s eyes without any need for identity based in what you look like—as a woman He created for His purposes, worthy and loved—brings your self-view back to its rightful place.
Whether you find yourself chasing perfection, settling for less, or even giving up on yourself, God has plans for you. If you’re willing to see yourself through His eyes, you can find complete freedom and confidence.
- Pinpoint who or what is creating the negative way you see yourself, and give God full control over your self-view.
- Catch and replace the things you say about how you look—and never, ever say another bad thing about yourself again.
- See yourself through the lens of the Word, and learn key scriptures to pray over yourself, like the ones I shared with Maddi:
o You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV)
o But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8 ESV)
o So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27 NKJV)
o But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV)
o Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3–4 NIV)
o Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30 NIV)
- Note the things, people, and places, that fuel your insecurity, and shower them with prayer.
- Remember at all times Jesus is the cure for feeling insecure. In these moments, just say His name aloud.
Top Five Most Common Body-Image Triggers and a Go-To Power Thought to Beat Them:
The scale. Numbers only have the power you give them.
Social media. Don’t follow anyone who isn’t following God. Body-part photos cause body-part idolatry; flee from them!
Not liking how you look. Do the very best you can with all God has given you and leave the rest to Him. Trade criticism for compassion.
What other people say about your body. Their opinion is not God’s truth and therefore shouldn’t be yours, either.
Trying to look like you did in the past. You can’t be who you were, but you can be your best you today.
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.” (Matthew 6:22 MSG)
Kim Dolan Leto’s latest book, “Fit God’s Way” is available for purchase on January 17, 2022 wherever books are sold.
Kim Dolan Leto is a wife, mother, and ESPN Fitness of America Champion, best selling author, faith-filled speaker, creator of the Faith Inspired Transformation, and host of Strong. Confident. His podcast. With 20 years in the fitness industry and a lifetime of Jesus working in her, she’s dedicated her life to teaching women to get fit and find confidence– His way. Kim’s mission is to equip women through Word-based strategies, daily action steps, and the tools they need to achieve a Faith Inspired Transformation in their health and wholeness to live Strong. Confident. His.