I was a fat kid growing up. In my younger years, my most dreaded day would be just right after summer, when my mom would bring me and my sisters to the seamstress who made our school uniforms. I would stand still in the middle of her shop, my mom watching us, and the seamstress would get my measurements.
“Her waistline is 29,” she would announce to my mother while she jotted it on her notebook. Once my waistline was known to everyone, my mom would either say something about how she needs to put me on a diet or the seamstress would comment on how big I was. I don’t remember a day in my six years of going into that shop without going home feeling discouraged about my figure.
The truth is, the world outside the seamstress shop wasn’t also a better place for the fat kid that I was. Words would be said left and right about the way I looked, and it made me deeply insecure about my appearance.
You probably have your own version of this story too.
Because one way or another, hasn’t someone said something about our bodies? How we are either too fat or too thin; too dark or too white; too small or too tall; too healthy or too unhealthy. The world always has a way of telling us we aren’t enough, and we always have a way of subscribing to the lie.
I think it’s why certain movements, advocacies, and philosophies about our bodies exist. It’s that serious that it has become a cause to fight for, this ongoing bashing of our bodies.
Body Positivity and Body Neutrality
Some people say we have seen better days because of these movements that have popped up in recent years. Two of them that have been such a buzz were “body positivity” and “body neutrality.”
Body positivity is a movement that emerged around 2012, initially focusing on challenging unrealistic beauty standards. The message they want you to hear? All bodies are beautiful; not just the thin ladies or the muscular men, but even that fat kid standing still in the seamstress shop.
Body neutrality, on the other hand, was a term that started circulating around 2015. It is the idea that you can exist without having to think too much about your body, positive or negative. It also encourages you to recognize your body’s abilities and nonphysical characteristics over your appearance.
While body positivity celebrates the outward beauty of your body regardless of shape or form, body neutrality celebrates what your body can do regardless of shape or form.
We really could be grateful that nowadays, our society has become more and more aware of the issues we face about our bodies and that we are more empowered to speak up, to have freedom to choose, to have such support, rather than to be just told that you didn’t meet the standard.
And yet at the same time, I still wonder: who really has the final say anyway about our bodies? The ongoing movements and causes, who are we doing these for? For others? For ourselves?
And if so, if the answer and the standard still lies within ourselves or the society we live in, the question still lingers is this: who defines what we should do with our bodies?
Honoring God with Our Bodies
When my iPhone got messed up beyond my own ability to fix, I turned it in to the Apple Store. Why? Because they created iPhones; they know best how to fix it.
I like to think the same about us. When we all have been messed up with different views and voices about who we are, it is good to remember and trace back: who created you?
’Cause the answer we are looking for lies with our Creator. The Creator knows best how to fix us. The Creator knows why we were made. More so, the Creator holds the standard.
1 Corinthians 6:12–13 (CEV) says this about our bodies:
Some of you say, “We can do anything we want to.” But I tell you that not everything is good for us. So I refuse to let anything have power over me. You also say, “Food is meant for our bodies, and our bodies are meant for food.” But I tell you that God will destroy them both. We are not supposed to do indecent things with our bodies. We are to use them for the Lord who is in charge of our bodies.
I love this verse because it doesn’t just give us an insight about what to do with our bodies. It doesn’t necessarily tell us whether we should be positive or neutral about it, but it tells us who is in charge of our bodies.
This makes me realize why the issue about how our bodies should look is an ongoing saga with no end in sight. Because we are trying to solve it from a perspective that we own our bodies. So we end up believing anything we want to believe about it, until we feel good about ourselves.
Worse, we think society sets the standard, so we do our best to always work our way to please and fit in.
We have quite forgotten for whose these limbs were made, for whose this skin were created, for whose this waist were knitted. They were not made to fit a certain standard, a certain movement, a certain size, or a certain beauty.
They were made for more than that. They were made to honor the One who intricately weaved every fiber of our bodies and breathed life into it so He could use it for His glory.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (CEV) goes on to say:
You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.
Hear this: that body of yours with all of its imperfection? The Bible says that your Creator didn’t just mindfully knit it in your mother’s womb altogether. But even when it lost its purpose, when we gave the enemy control over it, our Creator made sure He bought it back to Himself by paying a great price. And now the Holy Spirit lives in it as His temple.
I don’t know why we sell ourselves so cheap trying to fit to a worldly, temporary standard. God created our bodies so we can use it to honor Him. He created it to bring Him glory. Your body has been designed by God with an eternal purpose.
Take care of it well and use it for what it was intended for.
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