Contentment is a difficult concept to live out, especially where body image is concerned. Everything around us is built to create dissatisfaction, built to encourage it and prolong it and make it a way of life.
Every part of our culture, our media, our private discussions is built around dissatisfaction and either plotting out changes or wistfully bemoaning things we simply have to live with. Contentment seems to be something we will only attain when we arrive at the ideal, when we’ve achieved perfection.
One day, I’ll be content with my body, my looks. One day, when I’m thin enough, or fit enough, or tan enough, or just better than I am now. That’s where contentment lives. Not here.
We are told that dissatisfaction is the fruit of laziness. If we worked harder, had more self-control and self-discipline, we could achieve the body of our dreams and finally have the contentment we long for. But God tells us different.
In Psalm 16:2-6, David praises God,
2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
3 The godly people in the land
are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
or even speak the names of their gods.
5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!
I love David’s attitude of contentment and praise. That every good thing comes from God. He finds what God has given him to be pleasant and wonderful. Though David was not speaking of his body, I believe the same principle can be applied.
Our culture tells us to criticize and improve everything we have. It’s disguised as “goals” and “drive” and “ambition” and “self-improvement.” But truth be told it’s dissatisfaction, lack of contentment.
God calls me to strive for His balance. To set a goal to serve Him, do my best, but also view what He has given me as pleasant and wonderful. Including my body.
True contentment with my possessions, body, circumstances, whatever, can only come from Christ. Workouts are good for our health. Food feeds our body, but only God brings peace, wholeness, and lasting contentment to the heart, soul and mind. We need to remind ourselves of that daily.
CHALLENGE: Identify messages around you that encourage dissatisfaction and think of ways to remove them. Pray for contentment with your body and looks. Practice telling yourself, and God, that the body he has given you is “pleasant” and “wonderful.”