What to Say When a Woman in Your Church Battles Body Image

biblical body image body image idolatry christian living friendship self-esteem Feb 06, 2024
woman at church body image issues, what to say to women body image issues

If more than half of all women struggle with body image issues, than there's a high likelihood that women at your church are struggling.

These are women who show up on Sundays.

These are women who read their Bibles.

These are women in your small groups, women's ministries, and maybe even married to your pastors.

They don't know that body image issues have a spiritual root. Instead, they believe they are about their bodies.

They think if their bodies could change, their body image issues could change.

But, oh, how misguided this quest is when we try to change our bodies to improve our body image issues.

This is part one of a short, four-part series to help Christian women improve their body image.

Tactic one. If women in your church are struggling with their appearance, value, weight, or worth... here's how you can help.

First, tell them to get their eyes off the mirror. Don’t tell them to stare until they find something else they like. Instead, encourage them that the best way to find freedom is through self-forgetfulness, not self-mindfulness.

Tim Keller talks about self-forgetfulness in his famous little book, "The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness." It's not about self-neglect or self-hatred. Instead, it's about getting your eyes off of your thighs and on to what is really important. You see, when we focus more on self we actually make the problem bigger. No one has ever been freed of body image issues by spending more time thinking about or working on herself. Instead, this exacerbates the problem.

Self-forgetfulness is a beautiful concept where we lose the self-focus and instead remember our greater purpose. We are only able to do what scripture commands--loving others as we love ourselves, when we stop thinking about ourselves most. Self-forgetfulness gives us the space and freedom to let God be Lord over who we are and what we look like. Then, it gives us the grace and breathing room to do what he's called us to do without tripping ourselves up with our own appearance-based insecurities.

I think of the Psalm 121:1-2 where the psalmist says he will, "lift his eyes up to the hills..." Why? Because that's where his help will come from. It won't come from making the mirror happy. Our rescue is always from God alone.

Body image issues are no exception. 


Need more encouragement? Check out Heather's books here, or her online course and coaching program here. You can also give the Compared to Who? podcast a listen, for twice-weekly encouragement with body image struggles from a Christian standpoint, where she explores all the nitty-gritty details we all face when struggling with body image woes and how to get free.




Tired of fighting your body image issues alone? Do you know that you're "fearfully and wonderfully made," yet still feel like your body isn't good enough?

Sign up here for  regular encouragement and take the 5-Day Body Image Challenge!

I'm Ready for Body Image Freedom!