The body of Christ and me

In a world where body shape ideals are forever changing, I can’t help but think about what God would say about the body positivity movement. For me, it feels like pop culture trends and over-sexualised body expectations are all consuming. At times, I don’t even know if my own body matches up with the world’s expectations. This often leaves me with an underlying question: Is my body actually good enough?

Body positivity can be defined as a social movement rooted in the belief that all humans should have a positive body outlook. This movement continuously dissects societies challenging views on the human body. All while advocating for the acceptance of all bodies regardless of physical ability, size, gender, race, or appearance. Meaning that, all bodies are important, valued and beautiful.

According to Do Something More an alarming, 91% of womxn are unhappy with their bodies and more than 40% of womxn and 20% of men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery to alter their bodies. With shocking statistics like these, it’s fair to say the body positivity movement is essential for promoting healthy body expectations. These statistics also highlight how distorted our perspectives towards our own, as well as others’ bodies are.

Naturally if we’re all aspiring to unhealthy body ideals, we not only begin to judge ourselves harshly, but also others as we dictate what they should look like. This then feeds into the continuous cycle of negative body ideals that contribute to fatphobia, sexism, colourism and racism. I can’t help but wonder how we could improve our mental health and the world around us if we weren’t so obsessed with chasing the unattainable.

Beauty is in the eye of the creator

We have an incredible ability to look at the world and pick apart the pieces we find most beautiful. We travel to stunning locations that mirror God’s creation, trek across iconic pilgrimages to worship God’s glory, while standing in awe as we uncover God’s goodness. So, in thinking of the perfection of God and all the beautiful things He has made in His image, when did we decide to separate ourselves from that?

In the Bible, we see that God created everything in his image. In Genesis, we see that everything is made with perfection, crafted with care and designed with purpose. This undoubtedly includes our ever-changing bodies. I sometimes wonder if while in Eden, did Eve ever look down at her stretch marks and feel disgusted? Did she detest the shape of her nose or did she desperately want to change the complexion of her skin? Was she insecure in the makers design?

I personally believe no; Eden was a place of absolute worship. Everything and everyone in it was surrounded by God’s infinite glory and beauty. In Genesis God sternly says, ‘do not touch or eat the fruit, otherwise you will die’. But despite God’s instruction, both Adam and Eve choose to not listen. Once the forbidden fruit is eaten, we see how overwhelming awareness and anxiety takes over as Adam and Eve wait for God to return.

This is the first time we see how sin truly destroys the relationship that we have with God. Sin essentially breaks down the trust we have in God, his design and our outlook on the world. Because of Adam and Eve’s original sin, we were removed from the place of absolute worship and trust. This resulted in the fragmented relationship we have with God.

Body and soul

When God said eating the fruit would lead to death, I personally believe it wasn’t just a physical death, but also death to things we were never meant to be exposed to. Death by our insecure, anxious and toxic thoughts, death by our narrow-minded outlooks and death by the world’s judgment. Although this can be an overwhelming thought, this is essentially why the world needs an encounter with Jesus.

We need a reconnection in order for us to come back to our maker, and Jesus did just that and more! Jesus restored the ideology of justice, peace and relationship with the Father, and today this means we can encounter the peace of Eden. We don’t have to be sentenced to death by our own thoughts or the judgements of this world. We don’t have to die to thoughts that we are not enough or that our bodies are not beautiful. Jesus has restored all that was broken.

When the world declares its forever changing expectations on our bodies, we need to redirect it back to the cross where Jesus boldly declared that we are enough. I believe that the body positivity movement mirrors the ideology that God has created billions of beautiful beings, formed in his image, designed with purpose and crafted with care.

And when the world says that your body isn’t enough, know what the word of God says about you:

‘For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ – Psalm 139:14 

‘For we are God’s masterpiece’ – Ephesians 2:10

‘For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ – Psalm 139:14

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