Who’s On the Losing End of Your Body Image Battles?

Kudos to author and speaker Margot Starbuck, who not only sent me her book Unsqueezed when I said I wanted to do a review, but also agreed to guest post.  Check out her below post!  Be sure to offer your comments.  That helps us all learn and grow, you know?! Share the post with your friends so they too can enter into the dialogue, not only about body image, but also about the toll it can take on sexual intimacy.

“Body image.” Yuck, yuck, yuck. I just don’t like the phrase body image.

Despite hating the actual phrase, body image is something that I deal with every single day of my life because…I have a body. Yup, it’s true, I do.

It’s not the “body” part as much as the “image” part that trips me up. It’s really no wonder, as a campaign has been orchestrated to cause me to be dissatisfied with my body. No, no, I’m not paranoid. I mean that should I accidentally somehow be satisfied with this body I’ve been given, there are advertisements on television, and in magazines, and on billboards to elicit my dissatisfaction.

Whether it’s the sultry Victoria Secret models or a surgeon on a makeover show who’s circling another woman’s “problem areas” with a red pen, the message I receive is that I’m not really acceptable the way I am. This is because “dissatisfaction” sells lots and lots of stuff—from clothes to make-up to yogurt to diet programs to butt-busting workout videos—and “satisfied” doesn’t sell anything.

One of the (many) problems with the current situation is that while “dissatisfied” is great for retailers, it’s pretty hard on relationships.

When I am dissatisfied with my body, it’s hard to embrace the transforming reality that I am loved deeply by God.

When I am dissatisfied with my body, it’s hard to communicate to my eleven-year-old daughter that her body is good.

It’s a mess, right? Completely. No one’s buying up ad space on facebook that says, “You’re okay just the way you are.”

Being satisfied with your flawed, squishy, dimply body is entirely countercultural.

When I am dissatisfied with my body, it’s hard to receive the appreciation of my body which my husband offers.

It’s also holy.

When you decide to practice gratitude for your visually imperfect body that can walk or taste or hug or splash or kiss, you choose against the enemy’s lies and for the truth of your belovedness.

I warn you, it’s gonna feel funny at first. It’s much easier to buy the lie that we’re too fat, or too thin, or too droopy, or too jiggly. My advice? Fake it ‘til you make it. What that means on the ground is that you begin to behave as if you’re entirely acceptable as you are. Have you noticed other women like this? They carry themselves and speak in such a way that they give no indication that they’re aware of any physical imperfection. (Weirdly, they do this simply by not pointing out their flaws!) As you “fake it”, as you begin to live into the kingdom reality that you are entirely beloved, your heart and mind will slowly be converted.

When you stop making negative comments about your thighs or boobs or butt or neck, you choose for the truth of your inherent acceptability.

When you decide that the body God gave you is good—no matter how much you’d like to change something or other about it—you choose for the truth that you are precious and worthy and beloved.

One of the enemy’s naughty schemes is to trick us into thinking that the way our bodies appear is more important than what they can do. (A recently disabled friend has confided that concern about her “appearance” is pretty far down on her list of priorities right now!) If your body can reach out to touch your husband, or kiss him, or massage him, or hold him, you have been given a good gift indeed.

Beloved friends, the enemy of your soul delights in your dissatisfaction with your body. He wants to keep your eyes turned in on yourself instead of being liberated to look with love upon another. You thwart that evil plan as you agree with the truth of your belovedness, “I am entirely accepted in Jesus Christ. Even my thighs.”

Post Script: Okay readers, I am completely aware that living into the truth is easier said than done. It’s much harder than cowering under the accusations of the enemy. Tell us how you live this out on the ground. In your relationship with your husband, are their practical ways that you deal with lingering body-dissatisfaction so that you can be present to him?

Copyright 2010, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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4 thoughts on “Who’s On the Losing End of Your Body Image Battles?

  1. Buffy says:

    Fabulous! Currently I seem to be bombarded by God with messages of the importance of inner beauty, of accepting my husbands view of me as truth and wanting girls to see that God truly loves them and sees them as beautiful and cherished.

    I loved this :

    “When I am dissatisfied with my body, it’s hard to embrace the transforming reality that I am loved deeply by God.”

    Cuts straight to the heart of the issue which is that if we truly accept that God loves us right where we are, the size & shape of our bodies too then we can’t help but feel beautiful.

    As far as things that helps me in my relationship with my husband that keeps the esteem flowing and makes it easier to feel beautiful (post 5 kids, natural birth & breastfeeding) is to be intimate on a very regular basis…I know that for me personally there is never any other time that I feel more beautiful as I do when my husband loves me so completely. It can be really difficult at times, but when we make it a priority I find that the confidence just comes naturally.

  2. Alisha says:

    This is fantastic! I have found that studying other cultures has helped me to appreciate who God has made me (6 kids, natural births, 12 years total breastfeeding~what a glorious gift, even if it leaves body “momentos”). Non-westernized cultures praise these WIDE HIPS that bore children so gracefully, and this padding makes me such a comforting easy chair to my little ones! I can love my husband’s XXL body because I love my XL body. I wish there were articles like this for men, any suggestions?

  3. Pingback: The Secret to Stopping the Body Image War | Intimacy in Marriage

  4. meagon gaspar says:

    another good book is “captivating” by john and stasi eldredge,it also deals with issues of insecurity.alot of times women that have been sexually abused (men also) struggle with their body image as well as intimacy and a myriad of other problems but they don’t realize that the past abuse is one of the roots to this problem.a good book that covers this is “wounded heart” by dan b.allender.

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