christine clling

When Your Identity Is In Your Appearance

Are you critical of your body?


When we are condemning and cruel to ourselves for how our bodies look, we’re placing our identity in our appearance. When we struggle with criticizing our appearance, we’re making our view of ourselves more important than God’s view of us. What are some signs you put your identity in how you look?

You’re afraid to go without makeup.

You WON’T be seen without makeup.

You frequently compare yourself to others.

You always want to change something about yourself.

You negatively critique yourself in your head frequently.

You workout compulsively, or feel guilty if you miss a day.

You either compulsively shop to improve your wardrobe or completely avoid shopping because you don’t like how you look.

You’re extremely affected when someone makes a positive comment to you about your appearance.


What if you really don’t like how you look? God loves you anyway. Right now, just like you are. Becoming healthier can glorify him. Tearing yourself down does not. Either way, he loves you now. Bring your negative self image to God and ask him to show you how he sees you. If you listen for it, he will tell you. When he tells you, you’ll be blown away at his love for you.


God’s view of us always trumps how we see ourselves. Are you critical of your appearance? You’re forgetting to see yourself as deeply loved by god. You’re forgetting to see God as the awe-some God that he is. You’re making yourself too high and Him not high enough. When you put your identity in your self image, you’ll never be satisfied with yourself because the body you live in is imperfect and you weren’t created to be your own god. God loves it right now anyway, as is. Criticism and condemnation of your body puts the expectation of perfection on yourself, which you cannot attain without the hope of heaven.

Our Efforts Won’t Solve Our Lack Of Joy

The popular self improvement movement is dangerous because it puts the emphasis on the self. Giving people motivation to improve themselves is great, but it becomes less than great when we begin to believe that we hold the power within us to ultimately improve ourselves. The idea is being sold that if you could just lose that weight, work out more, or eat perfectly, you would be happy. Might your happiness increase? Yes, and thank God for that! But the lie is that  you will be happy. The lie is that you’ll be happy by your own power and effort from your weight loss, work out consistency, or healthy diet success. The truth is that God is the only one who can give you ultimate happiness and never ending joy. He is the only way you’ll be truly secure in yourself because he’s the one who securely holds you. Your goals for yourself will always change, you will be tempted to always look and do better, but He won’t ever change. His view and love for you will never change, and that is the only thing that will give you the ultimate happiness.

The Remedy

The only long term remedy for our struggles with body image is a bigger view of God and a lesser view of ourselves. Not a weight loss program, workout plan, or diet. These things can be great and have their place, but when we make our self image our god, our view of ourselves is bigger than our view of the magnificent God who came down to be with us. If God says He loves us just as we are, who are we to criticize and nitpick the bodies he made for us? There is a time and place to improve our health, but it’s so easy to fall into making it our identity and idol. We need to deeply believe that God’s view of us is more important than our view of ourselves. When we remember who God is and who we are, we will stand in awe of Him and our focus will move from ourselves and onto him, just as it should be. Our awe of Him is the only thing that will keep us secure knowing that we are both small in front of him and infinitely beloved just as we are in front of him.


December 4, 2018


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