This is what I hear repeatedly from women about their desire to lose weight: “I just feel prettier when I’m thinner.”
Then I ask, “Why do you consider yourself prettier if you’re thinner?”
Answer: “I just do,” or “I just like myself more,” or “I just look better,” or from the women who don’t want to sound shallow: “I feel better.”
But, really, who told you that being the size you are – or being the age you are – is less than attractive? If you had no cultural ideal against which to measure yourself, how would you know if you’re more or less attractive based on your size or age? As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, the cultural ideal constantly changes. Here’s a quote from Randy Alcorn:
The sculpted physique our culture admires would be regarded as freakish in other places and times. Some cultures consider what we call slimness as unhealthy and what we consider plumpness as a sign of vitality and prosperity. The same genetic tendencies that make some people unattractive by one culture’s standards make them attractive in another. (Heaven [Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2004], 289)
Usually, what’s most difficult to achieve is what is most valued. For past generations or developing countries where food is scarce, being plump is seen as attractive. When people rarely live into old age, the elderly are revered. If everyone around you admired people for their advanced age and wisdom, you’d wish your hair were whiter and your face had more lines, not fewer!
The truth is that the “god of this world” tries to influence us to be unhappy unless we’re “like everyone else” or more like the images being touted as ideal today. However, the God of the universe creates with infinite variety (think snowflakes) and doesn’t judge by outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).
When you look in the mirror and hate what you see, ask God to help you rethink why you have that opinion of yourself. Are you measuring yourself by the world’s standards? Dare to buck the system and accept the approval you already have in Christ!