In Search of the Perfect Body

by | Jan 11, 2012 | Spirit-Led Living

diet-healthHaving the shape of your dreams isn’t your ticket to happiness. It’s learning to love the skin you’re in.

a world where everyone looks like Barbie and Ken. Try to imagine
yourself as a Barbie, talking to the other Barbies and Kens.

Would you like yourself? Would you think you were as pretty as the other Barbies? Would you be envious of them?

everyone in the group be happy with how they look? Or would some be
depressed, struggling with a negative body image? Would others feel
better than everyone else based on how they look?

wouldn’t take long for the individuals to find a way to look different
from the rest of the group. The girls who needed to think of themselves
as better than the others would do their hair in a different way to try
to validate their importance.

would pierce and tattoo, cut and shave–anything to look unique and
different from one another. Even if we all looked exactly the same, our
inner faults would reveal our imperfection.

isn’t achieved through having flat abs or firm breasts. In fact, we can
never achieve perfection when it comes to our bodies. So why do we
strive so hard to attain it?

you want to know to what extent perfectionism influences your thinking
about your body image, consider the following statements. Which ones do
you think are true?

• Beautiful people have the best lives.
• I know that if people see me before I get myself fixed up, they won’t like me.
• How people look reflects how valuable they are to society.
• The way I look is a big reason I haven’t achieved what I’ve wanted to in life.
• The only way I could ever be happy with the way I look is if I could change several of my physical characteristics.
• If I can get my looks right, then I can have the relationships, job, joy and peace I want.
• I am ashamed of how I look.

all these statements represent wrong assumptions that affect our body
images negatively. If you buy into any of them, perhaps it’s time to
think about what fuels your perfectionism about your body.

quest for perfection goes back to the time before the first man and
woman were created. The true roots of a poor body image are found in the
same source as misinformation and self-deception: Satan.

is not called the father of perfectionism in the Bible, but he tempts
us to strive for this goal regarding our bodies. According to Ezekiel
28, God made Satan in awesome beauty and splendor. He was the model of
perfection–the measuring stick for what is beautiful in God’s creation
(see vv. 11-15).

God didn’t
make Satan only beautiful, though; He also made him wise. But Satan did
not use his wisdom to glorify God (see Ezek. 28:17). The pride he took
in his own beauty corrupted his wisdom and caused him to think he could
glorify himself and become more important than he already was by
completely taking over God’s kingdom (see Is. 14:13-14).

after Satan was cast down to Earth, he still desired to use wisdom and
beauty for influence. When he came in the form of an animal to tempt the
man and woman, he chose the serpent (see Gen. 3:1-15).

serpent was the craftiest of all the wild animals. When God judged the
serpent, He consigned him to crawling on his belly and eating dust
throughout his existence on Earth (see v. 14).

he can disguise himself as an angel of light, he has lost all the
beauty that once adorned his being. He was originally a bright and
morning star in heaven, but he will eventually be cast down to the grave
with maggots and worms (see Is. 14:11-12).

believe that poor body image is closely related to original sin by way
of the originator of sin, Satan himself. The spiritual root of all body
image struggles is disapproving of the way God made you.

don’t know anyone who struggles with a poor body image who would say
that she desires to be beautiful so she can worship God more fully.
However, in our flesh, each of us desires to be accepted, to be better
than others and to stand out.

striving for acceptance and recognition–and resulting failure–is the
cause of body loathing. We see where we fall short in the “looks
department” and blame God for making us the way we are.

is nothing Satan would enjoy more than getting women to feel ugly and
useless in God’s kingdom. But we need to see that there is only one way
to authentic perfection, and that is through Jesus Christ.

perfection He brings is not the same kind we are seeking in our
physical bodies. The essence of perfection is sinlessness, which we will
ultimately experience in heaven.

you feel defeated and ugly, it holds you back spiritually. That is why
it is important to see how your negative body image developed. Then you
can allow God to reveal the beauty He created in you.

you don’t realize God’s beauty in you, you will remain at your level of
self-loathing. You’ll keep trying endless ways to fix your body flaws
or continue to build up new reasons to hate your body. This may lead to a
deeper trap of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and the like.

is “body image,” and how does it develop? Body image, which changes
from day to day, is what you think you look like on the outside.

comparisons go through your mind every day, but you aren’t always aware
of them and how they affect you. You’ve developed your opinions about
your body based on various sense information you have received and
experiences you have had through the years. The data you’ve gathered,
which consists of visual information (what you see); mental information
(what you think about what you see); kinetic information (how your body
functions and moves); and historical information (what you remember
about how others have reacted to your body), sums up your body image.

The following exercise will help you evaluate what your body image is right now:
1. Visual. List your top five positive and negative physical characteristics.
2. Mental. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being “I am very satisfied with how I look,” write down how you evaluate your looks right now.
3. Emotional. Write down the following sentence and the feeling or
feelings that best describe you: “When I look at myself in the mirror, I
4. Kinetic. Name at least one activity you enjoy participating in with your body. “I appreciate that with my body I can….”
5. Historical. Write the statement below that is most true of your experiences:

I remember very few times when I felt a great deal of shame about my
body either because of what others said about me or because I wanted to
do something I couldn’t do.
• I can recall at least five significant times that I felt ashamed about
my body because of others’ comments or actions toward me.
• I have had considerably more negative comments about or actions toward my body than positive comments or actions.

critical for you to acknowledge how often your negative body image has
been reinforced during your lifetime. When a statement is reinforced
over and over, it takes on a sense of truth, even if it is not true.

feelings, experiences and comments together act as blinders to prevent
you from seeing who you really are. But you are not bound to the wrong
image you have of yourself.

As you look back over your responses, the impact of your experiences on your body image will become more obvious to you.

example, Susan, a 16-year-old bulimic, said her most positive feature
was her brown eyes, and the most negative, her big bottom.

remembered that her dad used to sing to her about her big brown eyes
and that the guys in the cafeteria often put girls down about their
backsides. The more negative the experiences related to your body have
been, the more self- and body-rejecting you are.

you do not have to be imprisoned by these experiences. In fact, just
bringing them into your conscious awareness gives you power over them
and the negative influence they have on how you see yourself.

are fooling ourselves if we believe having the perfect looks will make
us happy inside. Some of the world’s most beautiful people are the ones
most torn by heartache, broken relationships and even poor body image.
The secret to true beauty is being at peace with who you are.

must admit that as a mother of a teen myself, I still feel the pressure
to look good. When I find myself succumbing, I remember that the secret
to overcoming a negative body image is letting God show me my true

It’s great to know
the pressure to look good doesn’t have to rule my life. Celebrating
rather than debasing my body is a wonderful way to live.

is a powerful tool in getting free from the trap of negative body
image. Right now, commit your heart through prayer to finding and doing
what God says is best. Pray this prayer from your heart:

Dear heavenly Father and Creator of my body, I recognize that I struggle
to know and live out what is truly perfect. I can see how my heart is
drawn to Satan’s message that perfectionism is the answer.

can easily get focused on wanting perfect beauty rather than wanting
You. In the name of Jesus Christ I stand against the world of
advertising, diet, the beauty industry, my vanity and Satan himself.

resist every force that would seek to distract me from who I really am
and what You desire for me to do in and through this body You gave me. I
reject the distorted concepts and ideas that make body perfection sound
plausible and desirable.

oppose every attempt to keep me from knowing full fellowship with You. I
open my heart to be transformed into true perfection through Jesus
Christ. Amen.

Deborah Newman is
a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist at Meier Clinics in Richardson, Texas, and minister to women at Christ Church in Plano, Texas. Newman has authored several books,
A Woman’s Search for Worth, Comfortable in Your Own Skin and How to Really Love God as Your Father.

Adapted from Loving Your Body by Deborah Newman, copyright 2002. Published by focus on the Family/Tyndale House Publishers Inc. Used by permission.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


8 Contrasts Between the Confessing and Compromising Church

8 Contrasts Between the Confessing and Compromising Church

During the days of Nazi Germany, there arose a Confessing church movement that rose against the German church movement, which became the religious arm of the Fascist Nazi Socialist movement. Of the 18,000 pastors in Germany during that time (from 1933 to 1945), less...

Will the New Set of Seven Years on the Jewish Calendar Be Our Last?

Will the New Set of Seven Years on the Jewish Calendar Be Our Last?

Note: This is the second of a two-part series. For part one, click here. Beginning at sunset on Sunday, Sept. 25, our Jewish friends (and increasingly many Christians) will begin a two-day celebration of Rosh Hashanah, their time for new beginnings or a "new year."...

Is America Preparing the Way for a One-World Ruler?

Is America Preparing the Way for a One-World Ruler?

The culmination of history is approaching. The end of the world may be at hand. Yet Jesus tells us we should not be alarmed. Why? Because we are engraved in the palms of His hands. Because we are carried in His arms. Because we are the apple of His eye. The time is...

A ‘Davidic Anointing’ is Descending Upon Musical Instruments

A ‘Davidic Anointing’ is Descending Upon Musical Instruments

I once heard a testimony where the Holy Ghost was falling upon the people during worship. The preacher, R.W. Schambach, testified how the piano player got so filled with the Spirit that she fell off of the piano bench and the piano kept right on playing. No other...

Joyce Meyer: How You Can Make God’s Love Your Lifestyle

Joyce Meyer: How You Can Make God’s Love Your Lifestyle

I have made it a priority to study about love in the Word of God. Getting a revelation about how much God loves me and learning to receive His love has been life-changing for me. It’s been the key to being able to really enjoy my life because when I received God’s...

Mario Murillo: What God is Saying About America’s Destruction

Mario Murillo: What God is Saying About America’s Destruction

Many prophetic words released today shout one of these two headlines: America Is Past Hope and Will Be Destroyed America Is Favored and Will Never Be Destroyed Facebook oozes with voices claiming to be prophets or mouthpieces for God. The internet teems with...


How The Christian Community Can Change American Politics for Good

A fascinating discovery has taken place recently in the state of California. Locals there attest that the wildfires that have ravaged the landscape, lives and livelihoods of residents for a decade...
Rod Parsley: Are You the Pharisee or the Tax Collector?

Rod Parsley: Are You the Pharisee or the Tax Collector?

As with all virtues, humility has an opposite: pride. It should not surprise us that revival and restoration begins with humility, because all “falling away” begins with pride. Pride sent the archangel Lucifer plummeting from the heights of glorious splendor near the...

What to Do with an Urgent Warning from the Lord

What to Do with an Urgent Warning from the Lord

Many people are receiving urgent warnings from the Lord about things taking place in the earth. Releasing those warnings can be difficult. Done the wrong way, people will turn a deaf ear and the last thing you want to do is breed fear. Maybe you aren't getting...

Prophetic Word: ‘You Will Taste the Rain of Heaven’

Prophetic Word: ‘You Will Taste the Rain of Heaven’

Get ready for a supernatural strength to take over the land. It is time for worldwide revival and for you to reclaim what God has promised. Don’t back down and give in to despair. God’s plan is in motion. I heard the Lord say, “The enemy has brought discouragement and...

Mario Murillo: The Fuse to a National Awakening

Mario Murillo: The Fuse to a National Awakening

A lot of churchgoers yearn for soothing sermons. Meanwhile, a growing company seeks to understand authority, brokenness and Resurrection life. Who are these “others” who have their eyes wide open? They are too loud for most. They pray longer and deeper than what is...

Pin It on Pinterest