Did you make a New Year's resolution that had something
to do with your body, weight, or overall appearance?
It wouldn't be surprising if you did. The media targets
youth with "model" images that somehow make
many of us feel inadequate.
Indeed, the media suggests that our appearance affects
our social life. As a result, we struggle to mold
ourselves to fit in with our peers while simultaneously
trying to express our individuality. The whole focus
on the body--counting calories, cholesterol, and fat;
being a slave to the gym or the mirror--is emotionally
and physically draining. It absorbs our thought and
takes our focus away from who can really help us-God.
Christ Jesus instructs us:
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat,
or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what
ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat,
and the body than raiment? (Matt. 6:25)
Note: he didn't say it was all right to think
a little bit about body; he said, "Take
no thought" regarding food and clothes. What
a relief! We don't have to worry about our figure
or build. We don't have to stress about whether or
not we need to lose or gain weight. We don't have
to let the media or our peers influence us. We don't
have to let our weight determine if we're happy or
frustrated. We do have to trust God. Christ Jesus
compassionately assures us that God takes care of
our every need. Indeed, God knows our needs before
How do we develop a trust in God so that God is the
central focus of our lives?
The apostle Paul provides helpful ideas in his letter
to the church at Corinth:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to
be absent from the body, and to be present with
the Lord. (II Cor. 5:8)
First, we have to be "confident" in our
ability to trust in God and be "confident"
in God's ability to take care of us. Quite honestly,
regardless of whether or not we are confident in God,
God is always taking care of us. Confidence in God
just makes us happier.
Next, we have to be "willing" to do two
- to be absent from the body, and
- to be present with the Lord.
The word "willing" means that we're "ready,
enthusiastic, eager, psyched" (Rodale's Synonym
Finder). Using these synonyms, we're eager to
be away from the body and ready to be with God.
- If we're "absent," we're simply not
there. Right? So, in order "to be absent from
the body," we can't be preoccupied with how
we look, what we weigh, or what we're going to eat
for dinner. Rather, we must enthusiastically let
go of worried, anxious, and condemning thoughts
about our bodies, ourselves, or others. We must
eliminate self-centered or egotistical thinking
and persistent talking about the body. Letting go
gives us room for more balanced views of ourselves.
- If we're "present," we're right there
with God 100%. We give our full attention to God.
We shift the balance of thought from body to God
by aligning ourselves with God absolutely and completely.
We become God-centered rather than self-centered.
This requires a great sense of humility, willingness
to listen to God's direction and guidance, and obedience
to follow His commands.
We have a choice to make-right now and every moment
of our lives: to be present with the body or with
God. If we are present with the body, then we are
absent from God. We may ask ourselves: Do I want to
be absent from God? No. God is my Best Friend. God
is my Parent. God is my constant help. I don't want
to distance myself from God's ever-present love, protection,
Once we decide to be present with God, then all else
will fall away-yes, even pounds. The desire to satisfy
our taste buds, to eat over a bad break-up or a bad
grade will simply disappear. We will stop thinking
about immediately gratifying ourselves and will start
thinking about how to glorify God. If we are glorifying
God, our experience (and our bodies) can't help but
change for the better. As we are more loving towards
God's children (our peers, teachers, family members,
selves), as we move thought away from ourselves and
towards others, we will find that our relationships
will become stronger and purer. Our social life does
not depend upon our physical appearance; rather, it
depends upon our spiritual nature-the quality of our
Practical Tips for gaining better control
of your thinking and body.
Help remind yourself of the practical tips below by
posting them on your mirrors, frig, cupboards, and
- Each time you go to the mirror, think of 5 good
things about who you really are, such as: I am beautiful/handsome.
That's the way God made me. God can't be less than
beautiful; therefore, I am beautiful-inside and
- Don't make negative comments about yourself or
your body. This is important because our thoughts
determine our experience. If we keep saying how
ugly or fat we are, we'll get upset and be depressed
- Remember, the mirror doesn't define who we are.
It may show us how we're dressed, but it doesn't
begin to show us the inner beauty, goodness, unselfishness,
or kindness that we have.
- Post a note on your refrigerator that says: Stop.
Think. Exercise control. Am I hungry? Do I need
this? Will eating this satisfy me? What would God
have me do or eat? God is the true source of my
satisfaction. If you're not hungry, don't open the
- If you're tempted to eat because you're bored,
upset, frustrated, then turn to God right then and
there to satisfy whatever need you may have at that
moment. If you still feel that you want something,
and you know you're not hungry, pray and pray some
Since the subject of body and weight
involves so many issues, we will continue to explore
the topic in some fashion over the coming months.