Over lattes and tea, I met Jill a few weeks ago. We share the same church, similar life stories, same love for spy shows, and her mom works at my alma mater (go figure). With striking humor and contagious passion, Jill loves pouring into her generation, encouraging teen girls to put their value in Jesus rather than in beauty. She is currently a sophomore in college. This is her story.
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I was in the middle of a listening to a guest speaker talk about pornography, and I was trying not to laugh or do anything to give away how awkward I felt. After all, I was a camp counselor, so I was supposed to be the mature one. (Let me tell you, I wasn’t doing that great of a job.)
And still somehow, in the midst of all my squirming and nervous laughter, God reached out to me and spoke into my life.
We read Job 31:1 together, which says, “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a woman.”
I’ve heard that before, and especially since we were talking about porn, I was tempted to take it at that and move on. But something prompted me to read it again. When I did, I saw something pivotal in my own struggle with beauty and body image. I read it as this:
“I have made a covenant with my eyes not to be envious of the bodies of other girls.”
I was very much challenged.
I’ll be honest; sometimes I spend my days focused on everyone else. (I promise you, that’s not as selfless as it sounds.)
I wake up and try on my entire wardrobe trying to find something that will make me feel better about my body (which nothing does). And then I walk around self-consciously, looking at everyone, wondering if they’re thinking about me, looking at me, or judging me (they’re not). And then I beat myself up for not having a body like hers, or hers, or whoever else happens to walk by me.
And this constant comparison has never once gotten me into a healthier place. I have never been motivated to honor God with my body by envying the way anyone else looks. It just doesn’t happen. Instead I tend to get off track, caught in cycles of disordered eating and self-loathing.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Comparison might be a habit, but it is one you can change.
I want to challenge you in the same way that I was challenged. Make a covenant with your eyes.
Decide ahead of time how you will react given the opportunity to compare yourself with someone else…
when someone walks by with a body that you have always wanted,
when someone looks better in their jeans than you do,
when the mirror only makes you feel disappointed.
Comparison might be a habit, but it is a choice. So decide how you will react.
Will you guess at what her size is?
Compare your body to hers?
Condemn yourself for looking differently?
Or will you remind yourself that your value isn’t found on a tag in your jeans?
Not Just a Body
There will always be girls who make me feel unworthy. Fortunately, that doesn’t change who I am.
No one else gets to define me, because my value is set in stone. I am loved limitlessly, and there has never been a time when I was unloved, even before I existed.
My worth is not found in a size. My beauty runs deeper than my skin.
These are the things I choose to focus on time and time again. I share them with you because as much as they’re true of me, they’re also true of you!
We are people, not just bodies. And for my own health and sanity, I have made a covenant with my eyes.
I challenge you to do the same.
*Article originally written as a devotional. Read more devotionals here.*