Truth #3 – My contentment will not derive from numbers or my appearance.
This is a tough one, but it’s so crucial that much of the Bible teaches on it. Let’s sample Philippians 4:7 (NIV):
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
In her “Ask the Trainer” section of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, personal trainer Janet Roget wrote, “The key to having a positive body image is respecting our natural shape and learning to overpower negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.” On a purely secular level, it sounds like she’s repeating Truth #1 and Truth #2. But she’s on to something, even if she’s a little short of the Word of God (I won’t hold that against her; we all are).
We can’t expect our external body to alter our internal state of mind. If we really stop and think about it rationally, we can see the deception there. It is our internals that modifies our externals, not vice versa.
For us to be content with our body image, we must recognize who we are (Truth #1) and therefore Whose we are.
Our body itself is forever changing, so trying to pull contentment from it is irrational. We must draw our contentment from a source that is stable or else our contentment will never be stable.
In addition, trying to inspire contentment using our appearance is clearly putting the cart before the horse. That’s expecting our external body to alter our internal state of mind. If we really stop and think about it rationally, we can see the deception there. It is our internals that modifies our externals (see Truth #2), not vice versa.
Yet how many of us say something like these:
- “I’ll be happy if I can just lose a couple inches from my waistline.”
- “Once I’m down 30 pounds, I’ll be alright.”
- “I was satisfied [no you weren’t] when I used to wear that size.”
You can’t draw personal contentment from the number on the scales, the size on your tag, or the weight on the bar. No number will provide you contentment, whether we’re talking about fitness, finances, or anything else. Your contentment comes from accepting what you have today. Right now. Period.
Go look in the mirror and say, “I praise God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful. I know that full well.” That’s the beginning of contentment in your body image, because it comes from God. All your “imperfections” add up to you being who God made you to be.
Sure, you might not have been as good a steward of that as you could have been (see Truth #8), but your contentment won’t come tomorrow if it’s out of your reach today. Let me repeat this, just in case you missed it:
Your contentment won’t come tomorrow if it’s out of your reach today.
Say that out loud. Seriously. Stop what you’re doing and read this out loud:
My contentment won’t come tomorrow if it’s out of my reach today.
God is your source for contentment, and that starts today. If you can get this internalized, you’ll be able to have a good body image regardless of your body, which will inspire confidence throughout this venture. My contentment will not derive from numbers or my appearance.