As promised, here are a few tips for overcoming the daily battle with the mirror (aka the struggle with self-esteem and self-worth).
1: Recognize your body for what it really is. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" Question: when you think of temples, do you think of ugly, nasty, worn down, disgusting ruin, or do you think of beautiful, elaborate, magnificent structures? My guess is that you think of the latter. The beauty of our bodies isn't equated with how much fat we have or what shape it comes in. The beauty of our temple is that God's work is done with it. You can have the most beautiful, model-esque body in the entire universe and still be ugly in the sight of God. Or, you can have a plain-Jane, not shapely at all body that does beautiful things for His Kingdom. True, incorruptible beauty comes from the inside, and when we realize that we will stop being so hard on ourselves when the outer doesn't cooperate.
2: Recognize your body for whose it really is. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" Guess what? That body that you're constantly critiquing and picking apart--it's not even yours. Your vessel is just that, a vessel. A tool. An instrument for God's using. A few weeks ago, Robert and I had to go to Home Depot to buy a drill for our new home. Really, Robert had to go and pick out a drill, and I just went with him. After perusing all the aisles, Robert decided on a drill that had great performance reviews, would do what he needed it to, and fit within the budget. He didn't choose the drill that looked the cutest or had the most bells and whistles. There's a reason Home Depot doesn't sell drills with exquisite paintings on the side. It doesn't matter what it looks like so long as it does what it's supposed to do. The same matters for you and for me. God is not concerned with a dress size; He is concerned with us doing His will. And when I start focusing more on what my outward, pointless appearance looks like and am focusing less on doing God's will, I'm not being a useful tool for God. When I get caught up in what my body looks like and how much my body weighs, I need to realize that it isn't my body at all. Instead, I should be looking for ways to use the body that God gave me to do His work.
3: Recognize what's most important. 1 Timothy 4:8a says, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things." There is obviously benefit to exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but we must recognize that outward maintenance is not as important as inward maintenance. When we get caught up in the physical and "merely outward", we aren't keeping our first priority on the Kingdom of God--and we know that only when God is our first priority are all things added to us (Matt. 6:33). Keeping your temple (of God and not to self) healthy is important, but when it becomes the primary focus of our lives and the dominant thought of our minds, we need to shift gears. Let me illustrate: for a couple of months, I was super caught up in this couch to 5K craze that everyone seems to be involved in. Mind you, I was trying to keep those self-destructive thoughts at bay in a seemingly productive way. The only problem was that I was finding time to run and exercise and log my calories, and not time to study and pray and visit like I needed to. Is there anything wrong with running? I say yes, but only because I hate it. Really, there is no problem at all. Is there anything wrong with watching what you eat? Of course not. It's probably something we all need to do more often. But, is there a problem with overemphasizing the outward and the temporal, and neglecting the spiritual? Absolutely. Paul told Timothy that godliness is always profitable. Exercise, ehh. Godliness, yes. When you find yourself down on your looks or weight or physical condition, dive head first into the Word of God. Consume yourself with study and prayer. Strive to attain godliness, not a perfect figure.