Today I thought I would blog about my body and my appearance. It’s not something I like to talk about, but it does seem fitting as (1) it’s my birthday and (2) I’ve struggled with my self-esteem in the past. I think this is a common issue we face where spiritual warfare creeps into our closets and looks us straight in the eye. We have a choice to either obsess over our beauty with ego and selfishness, or see ourselves as imperfect humans with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. Surely there must be a balance to this picture that falls in the middle and offers a healthier sense of body image and beauty.
Over the years I’ve won numerous beauty pageants. I really don’t know how many, as I have thrown away all of my crowns, sashes, and trophies. I may have a few pictures tucked away from the Miss Teen USA pageant and the Miss Cinderella, where I think I won the prettiest eyes contest in the former had a beautiful white gown in the latter. Honestly, I remember my dresses more than the contests. One of the dresses was a purple two-piece that I remember so vividly, because when I walked down the runway I turned and the bottom of the dress (the train) ripped off (it was held on with Velcro). Going back to my first pageant, the dress was a southern bell silver dress that my cousin had given me after she had worn it in a pageant.
I started modeling classes in my early teens and have had plenty of pictures taken of me for fashion shows, freeze modeling, and other events. Frankly, when I found my modeling portfolio a few years back I actually felt embarrassed and ashamed. Not because I had photos of myself, but because of how I thought I looked at the time.
Despite the numerous awards, I still always felt ugly. I would compare myself to other girls my age and supermodels like Cindy Crawford or Christy Brinkley. One of my favorite television shows was The Dukes of Hazard and I, along with many Kentucky teenage girls, imitated Daisy Duke. I would wear low-cut shorts and skimpy shirts, but I never felt pretty. My hair wasn’t long enough, my skin wasn’t blemish-free, and I was too short.
This was long before the term "selfie" was coined and also before the birth of the Internet. Thank goodness, As I have often wondered how dangerous I would have been as a teenage girl on the Internet. Yikes!
As a teenager, I didn’t realize that I was being attacked by the evil one. You see, God created us perfect in His image (Genesis 1:27). He has a plan for each one of us; for you and for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Our body is not our own but is a temple where He dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And each of us are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). How dare I treat my body, God’s body, less than it should be treated.
This does not mean I should be prideful. Not at all. Scripture is very clear that God hates pride (Proverbs 16:5). Pope Gregory called pride the root of all sins as he penned the Seven Deadly Sins.
You see, I was on one end of the spectrum where I looked at a body God created and thought it was ugly. Instead, I should treat my body as God intended and respect it the way we would respect the temple built by King Solomon as a dwelling place for God in the Old Testament. Jesus shows how to treat the temple in John 2:13-22 when He finds people are using it for selling animals and exchanging money. He was zealous in preserving the holiness of God’s temple, His Father’s House. Just as we should be zealous about treating our own body with respect and pursuing a holy lifestyle.
Denzel Washington said, “This is spiritual warfare. So, I’m not looking at it from an earthly perspective. If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression.” This was his response as he talked about the selfie being the No. 1 photograph today. The self-centeredness and pride that exudes from humanity is a sin. It is a direct attack on the moral fabric of America as people are more concerned with their following on social media than they are with the eternal destination.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. 2 Timothy 3:1-9
Are you a selfie-taker? Did you know that selfies are not only selfish, but they can be dangerous? A global study found an average of one death per week as a result of a person taking a selfie during the time period of January 2008 and July 2021.
Instead of taking pictures of ourselves, we should be humble. Philippians 2:3 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” And James 3:16 reads, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
So, while it is not unhealthy to have a photo of yourself, it can be detrimental to one’s health to obsess on what we look like. According to the Child Mind Institute, selfies could cause a person to be depressed or anxious as they are comparing their body to others and seeking perfection. This is called dysmorphia and is defined as an obsession with supposed flaws in one’s body or face.
When I was 19-years old I was pregnant with my first child. At that moment, something changed in how I viewed my body. I remember going home and rummaging through my wardrobe. I pulled all of my skimpy clothes out of my closet and my drawers, as I wanted to have a motherly appearance from that point on. I was not concerned with sex-appeal as much as I was focused on motherhood. I even decided that I would not color my hair until I found gray. I know this may sound silly, but for me it was a big decision to focus more on my children than on myself.
If you look at my photos from 1995 to 2022, you’ll see very few photos of me. I’m usually the one taking pictures of my family. It has been pointed out that I need a few photos of myself because one day I won’t be here anymore and someone may want a photo to remember what I looked like.
From a spiritual warfare perspective, I pray we can have a healthy image of our body rooted in our identity in Christ. I pray we can be more zealous for Jesus and less obsessed with ourselves. After all, God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us unconditionally with open arms and an invitation to spend eternity in paradise with Him.
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