In researching the topic of image and who we are in Christ I came up with some questions that have taken me down an extremely interesting path of discovery. Want to give it a go? You'll need to write your answers down for it to do any good.
List your top 5 personality traits that you feel are most dominant.
List the top 5 things that you feel are important to have in a marriage relationship. (For ex: loving, laughter, sex, supportive, secure.)
List the top 5 descriptions you feel describe your parents marriage.
List the top 5 ways in which you wish to portray yourself to the world.
List the top 5 ways in which you think people see you.
List the top 5 things that you think about most often.
List the first 5 things that you think describe your body.
Is there anything about yourself that keeps you from doing something you want to do or have been called to do?
Is there anything about yourself that you know you need to change but don't?
Are there any personality traits about yourself that are praised by those that love you and also traits that are repeatedly disliked by those that love you?
How do you think God would describe you?
What do you think God thinks about you?
Is your body a temple for the Lord? Have you cared for it as His temple should be cared for?
Does what you think God thinks about you line up with scripture? Here is the link that has all the scriptures that say who we are in Christ. Does your idea of what God thinks about you line up with that? Anything that does not line up with these scriptures you will need to pray about and go digging into your Bible's Concordance in the back to see what the Bible says about those things. Here is a link that has the attributes of God from Bible Gateway. This will also be helpful in discovering if what you think God thinks about you is scriptural.
Now, look for word repetition. Are there certain personality traits that come up over and over? How did you come to develop the trait? Where is it rooted? You'll have to go deep in some instances. For example: angry. Why are you angry? Were your parents angry? When did you start feeling angry? What does being angry satisfy in your life? Start digging. How does this emotion give you power or make you feel better? Take some of these questions and substitute your repeated word instead of the word angry.
I know I have certainly discovered some things about myself in this process that relate directly to my outward image, the physical body. I think a lot of women tie their self worth and confidence very deeply into their outward appearance. I have noticed since I have lost 30 pounds I am much more confident than I was before. That in itself is fine, I think that is human nature but I find myself much more open to talking to people and putting myself out there more than I would have before. Considering evangelism, if we are afraid to put ourselves out there we can't evangelise that much can we?
A good question: If I felt great about my physical appearance would it change the way I serve the Lord or evangelise? Ouchies, that may or may not sting a little.
I also had some fun finding the root of why I am such a physically affectionate person. Sometimes we just grow up to be the way we are and we don't think about how we even got that way. My parents were like rabbits, they were always "physically affectionate" with each other. CONSTANTLY. Their marital life was very wrapped up in touching each other in very loving ways with hugs, massages, and hand holding. They had sex as much as they could. I guess I thought that was normal? Sex was a huge part of my upbringing unfortunately. My dad had a porn collection that could rival the inventory of any gross adult store. I hated that so much. It made me very angry with my father and I felt it was a huge disrespect to my mom. My mom had a great love for the male strip clubs. She knew that irritated me immensely and she would tease me about some guy long dong whatever his perverted name was. They sent me to a private Christian school and their lifestyle didn't line up at all with what I was taught about marriage, lust and sex. At least they were physically faithful to each other. They weren't bad people or anything, they were the best parents in the world to me. They gave me, their only child, everything and loved me greatly. They were just sex junkies ha ha. Anyhoo, I could see how easily my dad was manipulated by boobs and women's bodies at a young age and how my mom could also get him to do anything by using hers. AHEM. I also saw how they expressed their love for each other with their bodies. This explains a lot about myself after digging in very deeply. When my husband left me for another woman not long after we had our first child because he said he wasn't getting enough sex that didn't help either. I think that was the turning point for me that created my worth and self value being wrapped up in my physical outward appearance. If you weren't sexy you weren't anything in my thinking about myself. After my husband left I worked out constantly and only dated tall muscular guys who worked out all the time too. Once again, wrapped up in outward worldy image. I had forgotten all about who I was in Christ and although I prayed every day during those years of 23 to 27 yrs old I quit going to church and wrapped myself up in outward image and physical gratification that made me feel very worthy. I think perhaps too that I gravitated towards my first husband because he was a very physically affectionate person too and that was what I was used to seeing and I guess that was what was normal to me? He was not the right person for me. I received my self worth not from the Lord anymore and His love and unconditional approval but instead from men who wanted me. I liked being stared at and complimented all the time. It made me feel valuable. That is so sad. Perhaps that was another factor that kept me overweight during my 30's. I felt safe the way I was. Now I am losing weight and I am being flirted with again which hasn't happened since my 20's. I think perhaps I need to be very careful with how I begin to deal with my weight loss and not let it alter how I value myself or receive my worth. I am who the Word says I am and I am nothing more and nothing less. I am no more worthy of anything whether I am skinny or fat. Now, I know I should not be overweight for health reasons, energy levels and such and I will continue losing weight until I am happy with what I see but I need to drill it in that the skinnier I get does not make me any more of anything except more healthy, energized and smaller. Period.
Whatever our issues, I think it's important to line up who we are with what the Word says we are. Any inconsistencies need to be dealt with. Sexual molestation at a young age is another biggie. Oh Lord the damage that can do. I was not molested but some people very close to me were and I have spent years in a group therapy for loved ones who were molested by pedophiles. I've watched the judicial system fail us and leave scars. Thankfully years and years of therapy and the Word of God have washed a young woman clean and healthy. She can go on into life and love and be loved. The Word will wash us clean. It will make us whole. It is our true identity. I've seen the love of Jesus heal a man with the same scars. Truly, if we can just see ourselves as God sees us the rest is easy to deal with. It won't hurt as much if we know who we truly are. This body is so temporary considering eternity. I am wondering as I walk more in this just how walking in my godly image that God says I am will affect how I view my outward physical appearance and it's importance to me. I find this fascinating.