Are you happy in your own skin? Do you love your body? If you are like most people, there are parts of your body that you like, parts you tolerate and parts you would change if you could. How we feel about our bodies is shaped by culture, and our culture has a lot to say about what our bodies should look like.
This past week every time I turn on the TV or open a newspaper there is an article about Michael Jackson. Reporters speculate on the number of plastic surgeries he had on his face as he pursued his perfect body image, and they show picture after picture to document the changes over the years.
What strikes me in reading this, is not how weird Michael Jackson was, but how much his life reflects our society. When I was a teenager, make-up, hair colour and dieting products were advertised, and that is still the case. But look in the newspaper now, and you always see ads for plastic surgery. Tummy tucks, chin lifts, botox treatments, these are all household words now. Surgery is just one more option to achieve that perfect look. Our culture encourages us (especially women) to make huge sacrifices to look a certain way…whether it’s getting that super expensive skin cream or a better, more attractive nose.
I think as followers of Jesus in this culture, we have to continually remind ourselves that our loyalty is to a different culture. We want our body image to be shaped by our faith in a God who created us beautiful. God came up with the idea of creatures who change from beautiful smooth-skinned babies, to beautiful wrinkled old people. God created us with big noses and little noses, straight noses and crooked noses.
In our July worship services, I’ll be preaching about our bodies. What scripture texts do you think I’ll be using? In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for ads…what are they saying about how you look? See if you can find an ad that says, “Your body is beautiful the way it is—don’t change anything.”
This week’s prayer: Thank you God for bodies! Thank you for my body! Help me take off the glasses that the world gives me—glasses that make me see people as ugly or beautiful. I want to see with the eyes of Jesus, I want to see beauty in every face I meet this week.