Loving Our Bodies and Ourselves

by Wende B. Conrad, M.A., LPC

Spring is my favorite time of year! I view it as an awakening of
nature and beauty, a time of hope and new beginnings. You can
hear birds singing and see leaves sprouting on the trees.
Flowers begin growing again and blooms start to appear. Each
and every one different from the next. I love the variety of colors,
smells and shapes each has to offer. Their uniqueness is worthy
of celebration.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God celebrates our uniqueness as
well. “You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit
me together in my mother’s womb. How precious are your
thoughts about me. O God, they cannot be numbered!” Psalm
139: 13,17 “He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah

I can’t help but believe spring wouldn’t be as beautiful or
interesting without the variety offered to us. Just as I believe we
as human beings would not be as beautifully interesting without
our uniqueness. Yet somehow, especially this time of year, it
seems there is a tendency to compare ourselves with others and
wish for commonness. We wish for the body or hair or clothing
of who we see on social media, the model in the magazine, our
friends or the neighbor down the street. But, “The Lord doesn’t
see things the way you see them. People judge by outward
appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.” Samuel 16:7
Focusing on our outward appearance and finding fault serves as
a great distraction. It keeps us from having to look inward, study
who we are, appreciate who we see or make the true changes
that will align our behaviors with our beliefs. What would it be
like to gain our self worth through our character rather than the
shell of our bodies? Our character is what we can take with us
throughout life. Our bodies inevitably change in one way or the
other. Our character can be a comfortable, lifelong, dependable
friend. “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy
hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should
clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so
precious to God.” 1 Peter 3: 3-4 “Charm is deceptive and beauty
does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly
praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly
declare her praise.” Proverbs 31: 30-31

The power of the Lord can transform us. We can learn to love
ourselves and respect our bodies. We only have to make the
decision to trust in Him. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of
this world, but let God transform you into a new person by
changing the way you think, then you will learn to know God’s
will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans

Our bodies are uniquely ours, and they are the temple of the Holy
Spirit. Let us love our bodies, honor our bodies and treat them as
such. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy
Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not
belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you
must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
It is my prayer that we may no longer look to the scale for the
perfect number or clothing labels for the perfect size to feel
valuable but to the Lord for his perfect workmanship. “Thank
you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is
marvelous -how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14

Wende B. Conrad, M.A., LPC, received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina Charlotte and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Appalachian State University. She has therapeutic experience in a variety of areas including depression, anxiety, abuse, PTSD, eating disorders, and personality disorders as well as experience with cognitive and personality testing and neuropsychological screenings. Wende’s interest in eating disorders began early on as she noticed the conflict society placed on individuals to gain their self worth through their physical appearance more than their competence in other areas. Her interest grew as she researched the field throughout college and graduate school and has continued to grow as she has put her studies into practice. Wende’s primary goal as a counselor is to assist others in gaining insight and strength to achieve wholeness so that they may experience fulfillment throughout life.