“19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
If you are anything like me, you have heard this verse way too many times to count. In church, bible study, while reading the bible yourself. It is one of those verses that has become overused and too common, in my opinion. I have this belief that we often skip over these “overused” verses because we think we already know their full meaning.
Recently, however The Lord began to do a new work in me and brought this verse new life and new meaning all over again.
You see, I have NOT always honored my body. If any of you have ever struggled with an eating disorder, working out disorder, or any type of self harm or abuse…read on. Even if you haven’t, keep reading because Satan will attack us all in different ways and I know that each individual woman has experienced this in some form or fashion.
Growing up, I always had a TON of self confidence. I am the oldest child of five children in my family and my parents did an excellent job of affirming me and providing a stable childhood for me to grow up in. I know that this is a rarity, and a huge blessing and I will forever be grateful for this gift. However, no matter if your childhood was awesome or absolutely horrible, I believe that there comes a time in every woman’s life when she becomes vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks on her self esteem and body image. For me, this time came around the age of 17.
I was about to graduate high school and my boyfriend of about 2 and a half years broke up with me. I was so devastated. I had never quite experienced a heart ache like that, as I had been so sure that he was going to be “the one” someday. I remember that I was so sad I couldn’t eat for several days. You know that sick-to-your-stomach feeling you get when you experience emotions so strong, like sadness, depression, or anxiety? I wasn’t intentionally not eating, I just couldn’t stand to stomach any food during those first few days. I remember after about a week of the post-break-up-blues, I stepped on the scale and to my surprise, I had lost about 10 pounds in one week! I couldn’t believe it. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly excited…
“Now I can show him! I will just get into such good shape as an act of revenge. I will make him regret ever breaking up with me.”
Well days turned into weeks and weeks into months. At first, I started working out just once a day. I would go run on the treadmill or a few miles outside, nothing too crazy. But then slowly, one workout began to not be enough anymore. I would go to the gym in the morning and run, and then I would come home and do a TV workout on top of it. I would eat only around 800 calories a day. Things began to spiral out of control very quickly…
And you see, that is what so often happens to us with self destruction behaviors such as these. It begins with a WOUND, and we try to cover that wound with unhealthy “self improvement.” Maybe it was something someone said to you when you were young, or a boyfriend’s remarks about your body, or maybe like me, you just wanted to get revenge on the heart that shattered yours. Satan is so evil and conniving that he is eagerly searching for a wounded heart to devour. He is looking for a broken heart so that he can crawl into the cracks and take over.
My eating/ working out disorder lasted for the entire summer before I began my freshman year of college. I lost about 25 pounds that summer all within in about 2-3 months. I got so skinny at one point, I actually stopped getting my period for a month or two because my body was beginning to shut down. The worst part is, the skinnier I got, the more “problems” I would find with my body. It was an endless and very dangerous cycle.
My biggest fear was gaining the “freshman 15.” I continued my behaviors for the first half of my freshman year, but honestly with all the drinking and partying I was doing, it was nearly impossible to stay as skinny as I was. So, my self destructive behavior turned more towards drinking. I would go out with my roommates 3-4 nights a week and drink all of those nights. I don’t need to elaborate more on this, you get the point…I was desperately trying to cover a wound in my heart that I HATED. I didn’t want to feel the pain, so instead I tried to cover it up.
I praise Jesus that He rescued me from this pit of self destruction. I was saved my junior year of college and ever since then, I have had a much healthier view on working out and dieting. However, recently I realized that I had been actually avoiding working out all together and I had to get into my heart and do a “heart check.” It is so beneficial to be synced up with your heart… the Holy Spirit lives there, and if you let Him, He will always let you know what your heart is saying in any situation.
So, whenever I start to experience an “avoidance” behavior, I go into my heart and I ask it, “Heart, why are you avoiding this situation? What makes you completely avoid working out?”
The truth came out, loud and clear, ” I am afraid I will fall back into those same self destructive patterns again.”
Sisters, please hear me out. If we never attend to our deepest wounds, they will keep resurfacing in all types of behaviors. Whether it be blatant self destruction or complete avoidance…
After this realization, I decided I was going to ask Jesus into this area of my life. I wanted His help to find the balance in it all. I wanted complete healing and restoration in this area of my life, and so I did. When I asked Him for His help, He gave me that verse from 1 corinthians that I posted at the top of this post. And something completely new and different clicked in my heart when I read it over again…
YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN.
Jesus died (aka paid the ultimate price) for YOU! Therefore, the least I can do is honor Jesus with my body.
You see, once I realized that Jesus was actually LIVING in my heart and making that place HIS PLACE, I felt a newfound love and excitement for self-care. I wanted that TEMPLE to be the cleanest, prettiest, most beautiful place in the world because MY JESUS was living there!! I wanted to start taking care of my temple. I wanted to start feeding it the right foods and working out to honor Jesus, not to self destruct. The transition occurred in my heart from self-hatred to self-love and therefore, all of the healthy behaviors started to flow freely and naturally out of that heart.
So, if you are interested in the rest of this post, I wanted to share some of my recent tips and tricks to self-love and self-care.
1.) Work out at least 4 times a week. For me, I decided that walking for about an hour and a half is much more enjoyable and refreshing for me than pushing it hard in the gym. So, I throw little Charlie (the baby girl I nanny) in the jogger and we walk all around the neighborhood for an hour and half!
2.) Drink TONS of water! I got a cute water bottle to help with this, and I also love drinking those naturally sweetened fizzy drinks. I aim for about 8 glasses a day.
3.) Eat the foods GOD made as close to the way He MADE them.
4.) Speak life over my body. Be gentle to my heart and encourage her for all she is doing.
5.) I started a new skin care routine! I am so excited to be starting a skin care regime from Rodan and Fields. I honestly have always been so skeptical of this company, but I was offered a blessing of trying out the “REVERSE Regime” and so far, I am actually LOVING IT! It is a regime designed to rejuvenate and renew skin as well as get rid of dark spots (which I struggle with after years of acne.) I wanted to post a before picture of my skin (NO MAKEUP AT ALL) gasp…. Just kidding, part of this self love process has been accepting myself without makeup and beginning to see myself as totally beautiful without it! Anyways, I will be updating you all on this new skin care and health routine all along the way and when I finish the Rodan and Fields regime, I will post another “after” picture of skin! PS: The consultant who provided me with the product’s name is Cassandra Exsted (firstname.lastname@example.org) She is wonderful and I appreciate her so much! Contact her if you are interested.
There it is, a no makeup selfie and you know what? I can truly say I love myself now. Jesus has healed every broken place that has to do with my self image and I love HIM SO MUCH for it. Praise Him.
LOVE YOURSELF TODAY, sister.
A captivating woman knows that her body is a temple. It is home to her SAVIOR. She wants to practice self care for this very reason.
I hope this post encourages you to love yourself today and see yourself the way Jesus sees you!