I've been there. Scrolling through Instagram photos, watching a movie or seeing ads in magazines with seemingly perfect looking humans wondering why I don't look that way. Wondering what I can do to look that way. Wondering how awesome their lives must be since they're so effortlessly perfect looking all the time. Wondering how much better my life would be if I looked that way too. Then looking in the mirror at myself picking apart my appearance and pointing out all the things that make me less than perfect and thinking of ways to fix those things. Thinking maybe if I wear my hair and makeup this way and if I try this diet and this workout plan and maybe if I try these angles in photographs and wear these clothes then maybe, just maybe I will look perfect too. Anybody with me?
So many people, boys and girls, men and women, struggle to love the body they have been given, but why? Whose standard of perfection are we trying to live up to? Who has told us to believe that we can't love our bodies until we weigh this much or until we have this much muscle build or until we have this certain body shape? Society and the media have put this false perception of perfection in our minds and we're falling for it. But I'm here to tell you that you were made for so much more than trying to strive for unrealistic perfection.
There is a quote I heard once from a woman named Cambria Joy and she said this, "We were created by God, not to perfect our own image, but to reflect His image." This is the truth. The reason we struggle to reach this idea of perfection we have is that it's not the truth, it's not what we were created to do and no matter how much we think it would satisfy us, it wouldn't. We have to step away from the mirror and stop being image perfecters and instead be image reflectors of Christ. When you become an image bearer for the Kingdom you will be truly beautiful. This earthly beauty fades but Christ's beauty lives in us forever. There are a few tangible ways to step into living a life that reflects Christ that I learned from Cambria as well because this is a lot easier said than done.
The first thing is to read the bible and pray every day. When you know God's word you know Him, and you know His truth so when the enemy tries to have you believing lies about yourself you'll know them for what they are, lies. Your mind will be set on things above and your foundation will be unshakeable when you pursue His heart daily.
Another step to take is to build other men and women up around you. We were made for community. We were made to be one body, one church, to be in unity with one another. If we're constantly tearing each other down then community doesn't seem fun and people will run from it and then unity doesn't happen. So, build others up and show them grace and love as Jesus would.
One of the hardest things, in my opinion, is to stop the comparison. This is a huge step, but it is necessary when becoming am image bearer for the Kingdom. Comparison will leave you feeling empty and unsatisfied, it steals your joy and ultimately takes your eyes off of Jesus and puts it on to earthly things. There's no need to compare because you were created exactly as you are, on purpose, for a purpose.
Finally, remind yourself every day of the truth that you are beautiful just the way you are. God says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says there is no flaw in you. You were created in His perfect image. He meticulously created every tiny detail about you and you are one of His marvelous works.