Grounded Podcast

— Audio Player —

A Biblical Perspective on Body Image, with Heather Creekmore

What you think about your body matters. As we’re flooded with all kinds of messages about our bodies, how do we approach the wellness and care of them with the right motivation? Heather Creekmore joins us for an honest, biblically-focused conversation about body image. We’ll learn how to expose the idolatry that lurks in our hearts and walk in the freedom of Christ.

Connect with Heather:

Instagram

Facebook

Website

Episode Notes:

Give to Revive Our Hearts this month

---------------

Dannah Gresh: Good morning. Well, let's get right to the point today. How are you feeling about your body? I'm Dannah Gresh. Yes, I just went there. It's time to get Grounded.

Erin Davis: Man, Dannah, you did go there. Not sure I'm ready for that on a Monday morning. I'm Erin Davis, along with our beloved co-host, Portia Collins. And this is a videocast and a podcast from Revive Our Hearts. We record it live every Monday morning, and Dannah, I'll answer your question, how am I'm feeling about my body?

Dannah: Okay.

Erin: Squishy. That’s my word, squishy. 

Dannah: I can identify. I've been out of shape different times in my life. But that's because I eat too much. But I'm still moving and my muscles don't atrophy. So that out of shape I have right now is the mushiest.

Erin: It’s the couch potato.

Dannah: It’s the couch potato for sure. Okay, tell us . . .

Erin: Yes, I definitely have COVID belly—everything that I've heard about COVID, I got it going on. I've gained the COVID 19 plus some.

Dannah: It needs its own name right? COVID belly, because like I've had a belly before, but not this one. This is a different belly. 

Erin: This is many, many nights of comforting myself with brownies belly. 

Dannah: Yes. I feel ya. My comfort is Milano cookies. Anyone out there love those? We could have a few together. 

Alright, tell us how you're feeling about your body. Use the comments, and be honest. And if you have a friend you've been commiserating with about your bodies like Erin and I have been through texts and phone calls. What are you waiting for? Tell that friend that we're talking about it on Grounded today, and tag her or share the live on YouTube or Facebook, because maybe you have a lot of friends. 

Erin: You probably do. 

Dannah: Yeah, you probably do. Right? 

As usual, there really are a lot of messages coming our way about our bodies. That's nothing new. But the pandemic has put a whole new twist on things. I want to read to you a few of the headlines Erin and I were sharing with each other a few days ago. One says, Banish Anxiety about Your Lockdown Looks.”And the next one says, Fat Shaming and the Age of Coronavirus,” and then the next and then this one, It’s Okay, Our Bodies Have Changed During the Pandemic.” It's like affirming but it's fine. 

Erin: They sure have.

Dannah: “Everything's gonna be fine,” we're telling ourselves and then and then. 

Erin: I don’t know.

Dannah: I don't know either. And then it's back to the fat shaming BMI and alienation, COVID-19 brought new stigma.

Erin: Isn't it fascinating that just like every other conversation we seem to be having right now. It's all about the extremes, like fat shaming. Where did that phrase even come from? What is it? I know something about it just didn't sit right with me.

Dannah: You know, we have to be confident with the body God gave us, and if our bodies are bigger and stronger and taller, for strength, that's cool. But if we're tinier and shorter, that's cool, too. So, we have to make room for us to have the body that we were born with. But also, we have to have room for stewardship of that body.

Erin: Stewardship. That’s right. I just feel uncomfortable in my body. lately. I went to a conference and I could not get comfortable in the seats, and there was nothing wrong with the seats. It was just that I was packing several extra pounds. I've noticed that the diet and the health industry, they are coming for those COVID pounds, they want to market toward them. Any time that happens, I've got some little red flags, like I'm not sure I want them being in charge of the narrative in my heart. 

Dannah: That's right. 

Erin: Actually, I don’t want them to. 

Dannah: Yeah, how much weight do you think we've gained, Erin, collectively? Have you read anything about that?

Erin: Well, I have read some studies. I'm pretty fascinated by it. Probably, I'm just trying to compare myself to others. But one study found that 61% of us have gained weight during the pandemic, so that's the majority. 

Dannah: Yeah.

Erin: And the average weight gain during the COVID-19 pandemic—29 pounds!

Dannah: Wow.

Erin: That makes me feel good because I haven't gained that much. I don't think that's what those statistics meant to do. But yeah, that's a lot of weight in a year.

Dannah: You add that up and that's a lot of weight on all of it. That seems high to me. But you know, I think I've probably put on about 20 pounds. I have been afraid to get on the scale. But that's what I think. 

Erin: I read another study that average it at 40 pounds. So, I feel like 29 is probably the lower average. We're somewhere between 15 and 40. 

Dannah: The bottom line is we've gained weight. And here's the thing that I've noticed, Erin. It's like we haven't really been able to talk about it. At least here in our home country. I've had friends in other countries that tell me that either the government or the media began running wellness challenges and public service announcements for people to get fit and lose weight in an effort to boost their immune systems. You know, that was like last last April, May, June, they were doing this. But little of that was heard in our American newsfeeds. And it seems like mentioning our concern about weight loss and wellness in the United States, as you just heard by those headlines, that can be considered body shaming. 

Erin: It sure can. And listen, I don't want to shame anybody here on Grounded. But we do want to walk out on a limb this morning and talk about an issue that it seems like the media is a little afraid to talk about or is getting the conversation wrong between those extremes, like I mentioned before. So, here's the question for us this morning, how do we think about and by default, talk about, our bodies in ways that are biblical? I'm less interested in what the world is saying about our bodies, but I am very interested in what the Bible says. And if we're going to have a conversation about the Bible, and body image, one thing we've got to talk about is self-control.

Dannah: Yes. 

Erin: Which is a biblical value that I'm not seeing touted necessarily in the headlines. Food has become absolutely a source of comfort and security for me. I remember when the pandemic hit, one of my sons, Noble said, “Maybe we should order some fun food.” So, we did. We ordered things that I would never order before just as a way to kind of cope. And now we're many, many months later, and we're still on the fun food train. So when everything feels out of control, we are sometimes losing self-control. That is a heart issue, not a scale issue. And it shows up in the ways my pants are fitting these days.

Dannah: Or not fitting these days.

Erin: Right. That's what I was trying to say.

Dannah: I took my button top jeans off the other day and had an imprint in my belly of every button. I was like what?

Erin: I've seen all the memes about the trade out of our stretchy pants. We want to stay in our stretchy pants. 

Dannah: Yes, we need them.

Erin: There's a reason for that.

Dannah: Okay, so we want to be clear, this is not a weight loss show. We're not going to all go on a diet together. But we do want to consider how are we stewarding the bodies God's given to us? We want to have an honest conversation about body image. Heather Creekmore is with us today to help us do that. But first, I need Portia to help me share some good news, Portia.

Portia Collins: Good morning, Dannah Banana.

Dannah: Good morning, friend.

Portia: Well, sometimes the good news starts with bad news. And the National Eating Disorder Association reported a 41% increase in calls for help when comparing January 2020. Pre-pandemic to January 2021, mid pandemic eating disorder symptoms have spiked during COVID. And this is probably just one area where we can see women are not feeling too great about their bodies.

Dannah: Yeah, Portia, and every mom and grandma should lean in a little closer. Because the big uptick in body image issues, according to the New York Times, has been among teens and tweens. I just want to say this: if you suspect your daughter may be struggling, get help. She absolutely can through God's truth overcome this. But Mom, you need to intervene and helping your daughter might start with helping yourself.

Portia: We're sharing this information in part so that you will be aware that our precious daughters are at risk. But also, because we want you to know about a secret weapon against your daughter's war against beauty lies. And so now what we're about to say next, and I'll just say there are a lot of disclaimers. 

Like every other mental and emotional challenge, the number of reasons a girl may struggle with her body image is vast, but we want you to know about the ripple effect. Can I get that out, Dannah?

Dannah: Yeah, the ripple effect. It is kind of a tongue twister. The ripple effect is what we call it when the way a mom feels about her body ripples down to become the way a daughter feels about hers. For example, five- to eight-year-old girls who think their moms are unhappy with their bodies. Surveys tell us those girls are more likely to feel badly about their own bodies. What I'm saying is this, one of the best predictors of whether a girl will struggle with confidence in her body is to examine how her mother talks about her own body. When a woman openly criticizes her body, is constantly saying negative things and engaging and obsessive dieting behaviors; well, it makes her daughter think bad things about her little body. And we're talking about girls as young as five.

Portia: You know, that hits really close to home because my Emmy is only three years old, but that happened in the blink. It's like she's three today; she could be five tomorrow, you know. I'd like to think that I'm pretty conscious about what I convey as it pertains to beauty and body image. But this makes me want to be even more attentive. 

Dannah: Well, I'm glad. So pay close attention, my dear friend, because here comes some really good news. The ripple effect also works when a mom expresses confidence in her body: speaking positively about it, and engages in healthy life-giving wellness. That makes it more likely for a girl to feel confident in her own body.

Portia: Well, this reminds me of something that I think I've shared with my own daughter. When I decided to go natural, and they'd be back up, we're gonna do a little haircare. Listen, I'm going natural means that you decide to stop chemically relaxing your hair to straighten it. I had done that pretty much my entire life. I decided to stop doing this, in large part, to teach Emmy to love her natural hair. 

When I got a daughter, things changed for me. I became even more cognizant of beauty standards and all of this. When I was younger, I remember straight hair was the thing, heavily manipulated hair was the thing. It was seen as pretty. I remember people set her hair so pretty and straight. But I never heard that referred to in regard to natural hair. So, I wanted to make sure I didn't communicate this to my daughter. I literally chopped off all my hair. I started over letting it grow naturally from like the root as it is like today, nice and curly. 

Dannah: It's gorgeous. I love it. And how could not love Emmy’s little side buns. I mean, her hair is so cute.

Portia: She loves it. She recognizes mommy's hair is like mine. No, I'm not saying that straight hair is inherently bad. So if you're watching this and you're relaxing your hair, I'm not judging you. But I'm saying straight hair doesn't necessarily mean that you're more beautiful. We don't have to convey that as the standard for beauty or good body image or anything like that. Ultimately, our beauty is defined by God. That's what I want my baby to know.

Dannah: That's it. That's exactly it. Our beauty is defined by God; we let God define us. And Portia, I believe you're gonna see the positive ripple effect in your Emmy. 

When I share about this with mothers at my True Girls Mom’s Workshops, they'll tell me some of the most remarkable stories. I'll just share one with you. I hope it encourages your heart. A mom who was shorter, about five three or so, told me that she didn't like her short legs. She complained about them often. She grumbled, but she heard about the ripple effect. 

So, she started to take her legs to the Lord and ask for His perspective, His eyes to see them. And now, this mom happened to be a runner. She began to see through her prayer with the Lord for the very first time, the strength of her legs, the speed of her legs. At some point, she began thanking God out loud in front of her daughter for those legs. She would just say things like, “Lord, thank you for giving me fast legs.” And she said sometimes, “I would just tell my kids I'm so thankful my legs are strong.” Then she told me through tears, this was so emotional for her, “My daughter caught it.” And then she told me, “Recently, I overheard my daughter tell a friend, ‘The girls in our family have fast strong legs.’” 

Portia: Oh, I love that. It really, literally kind of gives me chills. 

Dannah: Yeah.

Portia: Like, she caught it. I can only imagine how that feels. That's what I want from my baby. I'm reminded that mom is living out Psalm 139, verse 14, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” And so, she knew.

She knew God made her wonderfully.

Dannah: She knew it very well. That's right. Mom, listen, your kids won't remember your muffin top, your spider veins, or how you look in a swimsuit—unless you obsess about those things. They'll remember that you bake the world's best muffins to fill their tummies, that you use those legs to run and play with them. And that you built memories at the beach every summer in that swimsuit, in that swimsuit. She'll remember if you take time to acknowledge before her and God that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that is some very good news.

Portia: Amen, amen. Well, this feels like the perfect time to get Grounded in God's Word to hear what God says about us and how we are made. So take it away, Dannah.

Dannah: I have a quick thought if you open your Bibles if they're nearby to 1 Corinthians chapter 6. I'm going to read a familiar passage to you in just a moment. But I want to ask you this, Can you walk by a mirror without checking your look? Are you obsessed with face tune in other filtering apps? Because the free stuff just isn't enough for you to filter you to perfection? Do you do your best to hide in the back when a group picture is taken? Are you constantly thinking about your weight every single moment of the day? Of course, except when you're eating? Right? That's when we don't think about it. 

Depending on how you answer those questions, you might have some issues with what I call body consciousness. Now body consciousness, it's the quality or state of being aware of something right? But body consciousness, that's the state of being constantly aware of the body, either others or your own, but mostly our own, right? And if that sounds like you, I'm gonna encourage you to push the reset button. 

But let's be careful how we do it, because the goal of taking care of our bodies isn't being thin, having a thigh gap, or achieving a stereotypical sort of look. That's not what makes us truly feel better. If it were, then why is it that some of the most body conscious women I know are a size zero and have flawless skin? Right? 

Well, our bodies were not made to glorify us, that's the bottom line. And when we approach the wellness of our body in the care of our body in a way, that is to glorify us and achieve certain physical goals, we are on the wrong track because our bodies were made to glorify God. 

Let me read to you where we find that in Scripture, this is gonna sound familiar to you. It's 1 Corinthians 6, where Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. He wants to answer some questions about their sexual ethics. He clearly states a belief about our bodies over all that should govern everything we do with them. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 reads like this, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

In your body, glorifying God with your body, it's not this like, big, ethereal, mysterious concept. It's this physical body that glorifies and points to God, our bodies matter. But not the way the world tells us they do. They matter because they are the temporary house of our own eternal spirits. If we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. What does it say? The Holy Spirit who lives in you. I don't know about you. But I don't want the living loving God of the universe dwelling in something about which I feel ashamed. This first tells me: Dannah, you were bought with a high price, the blood of Jesus. Your body, like mine, was redeemed or bought when Jesus died on that cross. Do you understand that? Do you believe it? Do you live as if you believe it? 

When you really grasp that, you come to live out this truth, you glorify God. That is, you make a lot of Him, you make much of Him, not you, not your beauty, but His beauty. Think about that. As you come to truly believe that your body is made to point to God and you listen, live as if you believe that about your body; well, you'll begin to behave as if your body is good, it's useful, it's strong, it has purpose. 

And that brings us to the opposite of body consciousness. Confidence is trusting in or knowing that something's reliable, right? Well, body confidence is the state of knowing your body's purpose to glorify God, and to be able to depend on it to do what God designed it to do without making too much or too little of it. With God's intended purpose as the fulcrum upon which our thoughts about our bodies rest, we experienced God esteem not self-esteem. And if we esteem God, we will understand the great value of our body, but not make too much of it.

Doesn't that sound good? Doesn't that sound peaceful? Listen, if it doesn't, because it seems too hard to attain? Well, sometimes God's conviction does help us push reset on our self-control and other godly character qualities that help us care for and steward our bodies well, but the reason that we do those things is not so we can maintain our 20-year-old beauty, it's so that we can showcase His glory. 

I'm pushing reset this month because of that muffin top that I have acquired during the pandemic, I've lost my body confidence a little bit, eating too many comfort carbs has definitely caused me to lose some of my peace through this pandemic. And what I mean is this, I don't want to think about my body at all. I want to think about how to use it for Him. And when I forget, like I have been lately, I do something about it.

So my entire team at True Girl and just about 3,000 moms and daughters are participating in a wellness challenge. We're moving, we're drinking water, we're eating healthier, but not just veggies. We are devouring God's truth about our bodies this month, and it's purpose to honor him. And as I do that, I'm reminding my body every day: body, you exist, for one reason to point to Jesus, it's my heart in my mind as much as my body that needs to be reset right now. 

And if your heart needs a reset, to live out this truth, do whatever it takes, walk, run, do Pilates, count calories, or do the diet craze that appeals to you. But don't forget to ground yourself in God's truth about why you're doing it. It's to glorify God.

Erin: There it is. Dannah, that is what we need to remember. I'm like you, I just want to forget that my body exists, and you're obsessed one way or the other. That takes me obsessing somewhere else. And I want to obsess on the Lord. Thank you so much for pointing us to Scripture. 

Hey, it's time to get Grounded with God's people. Heather Creekmore is with us this morning. She's a wife. She's a mom. She's a Christian body image coach, which I think is super awesome. I want her to coach us up this morning. So welcome to Grounded, Heather.

Heather Creekmore: Oh, it's great to be with you, Erin. Glad to be here.

Erin: Well, my body has been, I think, every shape and size over the course of time. I've been very, very tiny, though not very often. I've spent most of my life not so tiny. I've been pregnant with four babies, and I actually loved my body pregnant. But it did change my body permanently. There's no going back to body before those babies. And currently I am at the top end of the scale for me, thank you COVID. 

So, what is going on in the scale? Does it seem to change what's going on in my heart? Because I can look back and go, man, when I was teeny, teeny tiny, I wrestled with some of these things more intensely than maybe I am now. So why do you think that is? Why do we seem to struggle to accept our bodies no matter what we weigh, no matter what shape we are?

Heather: Well, I think we believe the biggest lie that accompanies body image issues. And that is, if our bodies looked different than we wouldn't struggle anymore. And this is really the lie that were sold by culture by marketers, right? If we're not discontent, we're not going to feed into the $80 billion diet fitness industry, right? So, it's a lie that we have absorbed and believed that, oh, if I could just get to that size, if I could just lose X number of pounds or get the surgery, then I would be free. 

And honestly Erin, my change came and my personal story was when I recognized that I had made my body image an idol. I was looking to a different size body or different shaped body or to get all the things right so I would be saved. And I knew the God and Jesus answer. I knew Jesus was responsible for my salvation. But if I'm honest, I really kind of thought I needed Jesus and a hot body, right?

Erin: I can relate to that.

Heather: Because then I really do feel it, all right?

Erin: Yeah.

Heather: All the contentment, the joy, everyone would love me, my life would be perfect, if I could just get that thing. And that thing became an idol for me.

Erin: Yeah, that is the conversation. We're not having your right. I mean, there is a lot of information coming at us. We think we're immune. Nobody's immune to the marketing that's coming at us at all sides. I actually have had some pretty huge victories in this particular area. I know you have to. I had a full-blown eating disorder in college. I got down to about 115 pounds at the apex of that which is very, very tiny for me. I remember somebody saying to me, in the middle of that, “Wow, you've gotten really thin.” I said this, “As a Christian woman in ministry. There's no such thing as too thin.” So that's where my heart was at the time. I was just obsessed with my body. 

But the Lord has really done a miracle in my heart through His Word, His Spirit, His people, and I want to praise Him for that. I don't have those obsessive thoughts anymore, even though I'm much bigger than I was when I was anorexic. I know you've had some victories to tell us about that about the Lord. He exposed the idolatry in your life, but I hope you're walking in freedom. So, what has that victory been like for you? 

Heather: Absolutely. I mean, so my story starts when I was in the third grade, I remember thinking my legs were bigger than the legs of other girls around me. And so that led me to start dieting in middle school. By college, I also had an eating disorder, but I was kind of in that eating disorder not otherwise specified category because I wasn't super thin. I really enjoyed eating, and so I could not be the anorexic, although I tried. But I did not have the quote unquote, willpower to do that. Neither was I bulimic, like, I couldn't make myself throw up. Although I if I'm honest, I tried that, too. So, I really believed I just had this normal girl problem that every woman that I knew.

Erin: Well, that does feel normalized. 

Heather: I was like, it's just normal. When when God showed me that I was serving an idol, that did change everything. Because Erin, I knew the Scripture. I was raised in a Christian home. I went to Christian Schools. I grew up in church. I knew I was fearfully and wonderfully made. I knew I was God's masterpiece. But in every one of those instances, I would kind of talk myself into I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, but I wish I was more fearfully and wonderfully made like her.

Erin: Sure.

Heather: Or if I am a masterpiece, I'm like lower gallery, not upper gallery, right? What I think I was doing is I had tried to turn God's Word, God's story of His great grace into a self-esteem manual with those verses. I had turned back to me and I'm gonna put myself up on me, and I'm awesome. God made me awesome. Shout out to Him, but it's really about me. And that's always a dead end street. 

So yes, God has done a tremendous work in my heart to free me of that obsessive dialogue in my head that was all-consuming, to free me from hopping from diet to diet and fitness program to fitness program. But I'll tell you, I would be lying if I said it just switched, flipped and boom, I'm free. And now I never think about it anymore. I think we will always be tempted by this idol. We will always hear the lure of more beauty would make you happier, lose that 30 pounds and your life will be perfect. I still daily have to surrender at the cross these thoughts and these temptations I have.

Erin: Yeah, I would say I don't know that I have to do it daily anymore. But I do still find it . . . I don't know if it's a human thing. A woman thing. Some friends and I did Whole 30, years ago. I was talking like Whole 30 was going to save my life. I was telling everybody about it. It was the greatest thing ever. And I had a little check in my spirit like, actually, Whole 30 isn't going to save you. I'm glad you're feeling better. But it's not the ultimate, so I still maybe fight the heart issues. Not maybe, I do. 

Hey, the world has a megaphone on this issue. You mentioned that. What do you say? $80 billion?

Heather: $80 billion.

Erin: To health and fitness industry. Whoa, that's a lot of money. And there's two extreme messages that I hear: either, the goal is to look like a thin teenager for your whole life which is unobtainable, or accept yourself the way you are; it's the treat yourself idea. You deserve it be empowered in your body, no matter what your body looks like. 

Now, I don't have the body of a teenager; I haven't had a body of a teenager for a very long time. And the truth is, I do need to lose some weigh,t I do. I'm not feeling good. I am not as active as I need to be. I'm a parent of four young children. They don't need me just laying on the couch feeling achy, having chronic headaches because of what I eat. So, I don't want to be at either of those two extremes. Take us to the Word. What is the core message that Scripture teaches? I know it teaches many lessons. What would you say the core message that Scripture teaches about our bodies is? 

Heather: Well, of course, we're to be good stewards, right? But I feel like that has gotten muddied even in the church, or at least, the messages I heard growing up was somewhat muddied. I knew that my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit, as Dannah just talked about. But I felt like that meant I needed to have a hot body for Jesus. And that was how I heard that. 

My struggle was with defining beauty the way the world does, instead of defining beauty, the way the Word does, right? But you're right, there's so many messages coming at us. Most of us that are over the age of 30 or have had children were really quick to write off the, okay, I'm not gonna look like a 20-year-old anymore. Boom. Okay, good. I'm free not to do that. 

But you're right. In there has been this plethora of messages. It's part of the body positivity movement—telling us that we should have pride in our body, take pictures of your stretch marks and love your cellulite. I think that's a little crazy too. Because really what that boils down to is, a call to have body pride. I don't think that's God's solution to anything. 

All through Scripture we hear and read that. Pride is not something that God loves, right? God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. So, body pride is just kind of this thing that's been sold to us as a place we need to get to, if you would just have self-love and love your body, then you'd be free. 

But that's not really the truth of Scripture either. That kind of loops back to what do we do if we're wearing extra pounds. How do we lose weight or steward our body in a God honoring way? I think what it really boils down to you is considering the treasure principle. I love that you said back in college how there was no such thing as too thin. I mean, we probably commonly talked about that. And in terms of money, there's no such thing as too much money. 

But so, in Matthew 6, Jesus talks about the treasure principle. It's where your treasure is, your heart will be also. I think our big thing is to look at where your treasure is, if your treasure has become beauty, if your treasure has become, “I'm going to do this extreme weight loss program, so I can lose 30 pounds and my life will be better forever and ever, amen.” Then you have things out of order. We talk about balance a lot, but I think our God is a God of order. So we have to prioritize things so that what's most important in our lives should always be the things of God and God's kingdom. But it's hard when you're on a diet. I mean, I’ve tried them all. When you're on a diet, you're pretty consumed with that diet. You're pretty mission focused.

Erin: Sure, you’re thinking about you. 

Heather: Yeah, right. I'm gonna get there.

Erin: I eat one carrot and think I probably lost 15 pounds, because I did eat a carrot. Then I think a lot about: no, don't get on the scale, Erin, but I'm going to get on the scale. There's like a hamster that gets back on the wheel. 

Heather: You're exactly right. We all do that. It goes right back to that obsessive conversation in our head and starts all over again. And so, I really think the freedom comes in what Dannah mentioned, in the self-forgetfulness. 

I have my little mirror here. And the audio audience can't see this, but I've got a little mirror here. It's actually cracked because well, we're all broken vessels. Actually, it's cracked from being on the bottom of my bag. But I think instead of doing what the world tells us, where we look into the mirror, and we try to make ourselves happy with what we see. “If I could just change this and change this, then I would find freedom.” I think what God is calling us to, is to do this. And if you're just listening today, I tilted the mirror up. This is where the freedom comes. It's when I am free to realize that I am just here to reflect Jesus. It doesn't matter if I have zits on my face or bad hair day or a bad weight day. I am free just to glorify Him and bring praise to Him. And that is where we find freedom. 

And yes, we can, we can pursue health goals. But if we make those health goals our treasure, at the end of the day, we're always going to end up right back where you and I both been. Maybe we're wearing the size, maybe we see that number on the scale, but we're still not content. 

Erin: Yeah, I love that you keep taking us back to the heart. None of this is ultimately about our bodies. It's about our hearts. It's about our relationships with the Lord. 

I do want to talk about aging. I did not know that I had a fear of aging. I really didn't think I would care about the ways aging would affect my appearance until I started aging ,and it feels really vain. I have walked with the Lord for 20 years. I know that I should think my gray hairs are kind of glory even though I don't think they're kind of glory. I don't want to look old. I don't. So coach us up with some truth that's gonna take me past this turkey neck that's getting worse by the year as we age. As we age how do we women glorify God?

Heather: Right, I'm so right there with you, Erin. I don't know why I thought wrinkles wouldn't come for me.

Erin: I didn’t think they were coming either.

Heather: You know, I really do believe that if we all stop and think about it, there's probably someone in your life you can picture—an older woman who is truly beautiful, because of the heart you see inside her that just exudes out of her. 

I had a mentor once; she was in her early 80s. She in my eyes she was drop dead gorgeous. Right now, if I stopped and analyzed it, she looked like an 80-year-old woman. But I didn't see that in her at all. I saw this maturity and wisdom and beauty that just emulated from her. I feel like that's the way we can remind ourselves of the truth that people don't just see us for physical bodies. 

I mean, really, what is that? It is objectification, right? We objectify others. We see a woman, we're like, “Oh, I wish I had that body, or I wish I had that body part.” That's just objectification, we're not seeing her as body, soul, spirit; we're not seeing the whole package. And when people look at us, most of the time, unless they're objectifying most of the time, they're seeing our whole package too. I think we can take the pressure off by just realizing that other people are going to see that true beauty from the inside, if it exudes out of you. 

Now, we've probably also all known an older woman who's been obsessed with trying to look younger. 

Erin: And it doesn’t work.

Heather: No, it doesn't. Because you look at that, and you're like, hmm, I'm not comfortable with what's going on there.

Erin: You need to go up a size in pants Mama, it's just not working. 

Heather: Right. 

Erin: I feel ya.

Heather: I think, again, the freedom comes in and not thinking too much about what we look like, or how we're aging. But it comes in remembering that our true purpose here is to just be vessels for Jesus and reflect Him.

Erin: I love that. I've never thought of that before Heather. There's a lot of conversation about men objectifying women, and that's an important conversation. But we do objectify each other as women in this area, and I don't want to participate in that any longer. I love that I'm going to try to embrace aging. Heather, I'm really gonna try. It's coming for me whether I do or not. 

Okay, one last thought. Why does this even matter? I mean, Dannah mentioned the impact it has on our daughters. I don't have daughters; I have four sons, so I can give myself a little bit of permission slip there. But why does it matter if Christian women don't get this right. And frankly, what I see is that we as Christian women, we don't struggle any less. We don't seem to have any more freedom than those who don't have Christ. What's at stake. Like, I feel like a lot of us just think, Oh, this is just part of being a woman. I just am going to hate my body until I die. What's at stake if we don't really trust God's Word in the area of our body?

Heather: There's a lot at stake. But Erin, I can't let you off the hook, because eating disorders are on the rise among boys. It's becoming an epidemic among all of our children now. It used to be we talked about the girls, but now it's affecting the boys too. And and you're right, Christian women are struggling at pretty much identical levels to those women who don't claim to know Jesus or even attend church. I did a study a few years ago, 300 women nationally, and found that our rates were exactly the same as what I was reading.

Erin: That doesn’t surprise me but it does make me cringe. I don't like that. That's true, but doesn't surprise me a bit.

Heather: Right. I think what's at stake in part is really opportunity to live and the freedom that Christ has given us and fulfill our purpose through Him and our lives. Like, I know way too many women that say we’ll all get involved with Bible study when I lose 10 pounds, or maybe I'll volunteer for a leadership position when I can get a couple of things right with my body and I feel better about how it looks. 

We miss out on doing those things that He's called us to do. Then really beyond that, and our own personal relationships with Jesus. We talked before we went live about Jonah 2:8. This verse is the strangest verse ever to use for body image issues. So bear with me. But Jonah 2:8 says, “Those who pay attention to vain idols, forsake all hope for steadfast love.”

I shared my issue was an idolatry issue. When you're serving an idol, you will never be able to rest; you will never be content; you will never find the joy that you really want. Our idols separate us from our true Savior. They're a block between us and God. I think there's a lot at stake in our personal relationships; there's a lot at stake and how we live for Him and how we serve Him. 

Then beyond that, there's something at stake in our testimony. If I'm sitting in the gym on a spin bike, and I turn around and I start complaining about how fat my butt looks, and the girl beside me is complaining the same thing, we're just the same. I don't show that I've any greater hope, or any greater definition of where my worth comes from than she does. Whereas, I think that spin bike opportunity is really an incredible chance for us to share the truth and the hope of Jesus Christ with the women who don't know Him. What would it look like if I turned to my friend and I said, “You know what, I get it. I struggle too. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I'm like, oh. But what has helped me is knowing that my true value and worth comes from Jesus and nothing I can do, no amount of COVID weight I gain, nothing that can happen to my body will separate me from His love.” And that gives me confidence. 

Erin: Yeah, that woman’s hungry to hear that. I love that. Oh, Heather, you are a delight to talk to you about this. I feel convicted and encouraged. You've written a book called Compared to Do a Proven Path to Improve Your Body Image. Like I said, you are a body image coach. We're gonna drop the link for how to find out all about you. Thanks for being with us. Heather. You have been a true delight.

Heather: Thanks for having me.

Portia: Thank you, Erin for guiding this. It was great. I was sitting over here once again, got my little iPad taking notes. 

Erin: Taking those notes.

Portia: I love the fact that Heather said instead of looking into the mirror, blue with tip tilt it up to look at to reflect the glory of God. 

Erin: I love that.

Portia: That was amazing. Well, we love telling God-glorifying stories here on Grounded. And this month, we're sharing Emily's story. Her story is basically evidence that God is at work through Revive Our Hearts. We want you to watch this short clip, and we'll tell you why it matters in just a minute.

Emily: Letting go of dreams is not easy. But His plans are better. I remember well the day grieving the loss of someone who never was. I remember getting on my knees and crying. It's like I don't think I can do this anymore. But I knew the same God has led me all this way was the same God who would walk with us every step of the journey ahead. As for God, His way is perfect. 

Portia: I hope you love that video. I certainly did. And I hope that you found it encouraging. Before we say goodbye, we wanted to take a moment to invite you to pray with us for a special need at Revive Our Hearts. May marks the end of our financial year, our fiscal year. So, we want to finish it well. We are asking the Lord to provide $750,000 by the end of this month.

Erin: Listen, Portia, if there's a topic that makes us more uncomfortable than body image, it might be money. It can be uncomfortable to talk about these things. But we do want to be faithful to tell you about our need to Revive Our Hearts so that you can pray and maybe contribute. It's because of the gifts of people like you that Grounded as possible. We want Grounded to keep being possible, so we're letting you know 750,000 we need that by the end of May.

Portia: Well, you know, many of us at Revive Our Hearts wear more than one hat. And so my other hat aside from Grounded is being the partner development specialist. In this capacity, I get the privilege of hearing from our friends and our partners who joyfully give to the Revive Our Hearts ministry each month. 

I was looking through our Monthly Partner Facebook group, and one of our partners, Miss Geri Dawn, she commented and said, “I love being able to be a small part of this ministry.” Well, Geri, I want to tell you that you are more than just a small part, because our partners are truly the lifeblood of this ministry. You help us to faithfully serve women all across the globe.

Erin: Yeah, you do. And we want to keep handing out hope and perspective. That's why Grounded is here every week, to hand out hope and perspective because we need it every week. Wwe want to invite you to partner with us. Give a gift to support Revive Our Hearts this month. We're going to drop the link to make it easy.

Dannah: What a really fun and practical program? I could have listened to Heather all day. 

Portia: Me too.

Erin: I know, she was so engaging. 

Dannah: Wow. Yeah, you know one little thought. We want to say that today's program is not to make you think about your bodies, but to think about heaven, and to think about glorifying God. When Heather tilted that mirror up, I and said, “Listen, these mirrors are supposed to be glorifying Him.” I thought about in the Old Testament. It says that the women in the wilderness brought their mirrors to the artists who crafted the artifacts for inside the temple of God. What a sacrifice. And what doesn't that just say, we want to glorify Him?

So let me point you one more time towards heaven with a Scripture I want to read to you from 1 Corinthians 15. I'm pulling it up on my other computer here because I want to read it in the New Living Translation. I like how it says this concisely. Verse 42 says, “It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever.” 

Our bodies are buried in our brokenness. That's what we're talking about today, that brokenness, feeling that brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. Think about that, friends. Good stuff. 

Erin: Woohoo! That’s some freedom from body image obsession. I love that. 

Portia: Yes.

Dannah: Yeah. Okay, friends, let's go out with this, because I really liked the idea of non-scale victories. I said earlier, I haven't been on the scale. So, I don't really know because I don't like to be tied to the scale. Many wellness plans are moving away from watching the numbers on the scale and encouraging women instead to look for non-scale victories and NSV, they call them. Your pants are going to fit better; you're going to have more energy; you're going to sleep more soundly. These are non-scale victories, but we want to give you some non-scale victory goals this morning. But these are the kind you've probably never heard from a wellness company or diet plan, because ours are grounded in truth, grounded in this whole idea of glorifying God with our bodies. So, here's mine, I do want my body to have the energy to serve Jesus and to serve others, well.

Erin: I want that non-scale victory myself, but here's my primary one. And the Lord will have to do it because I can't do it. I say often I can't even drink enough water in a day. So, I want the Holy Spirit to give me self-control, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, not Erin control. I want the Holy Spirit to give me self-control in the area of food. And you know what i would love? I would love if it was sustainable. Now, I've had pockets of it. I've had moments of it. I've seen glimpses of it but not sustainable self-control in this area. I would love it if the Lord would do that in my life.

Portia: Well, how about this? I want to steward the gift of my body in ways that give God not me, the most glory. I don't want you to just see Portia think, Oh, she's so cute. I want people to look at me and think, Oh my goodness, the light of Christ is just emitting from her. So that’s what I want. 

Dannah: I love that. 

Erin: I want that one too.

Dannah: Yeah, me too. I love it. It's a good one. Well, friend, what are your non-scale victories, the kind that are grounded in truth. I hope maybe you'll take a moment before you leave us today to write one in the comments or maybe just text a friend right now and share a goal with her. And let's make sure that we wake up next week together on Grounded.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Grounded Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. What if you could play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead? Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread the message that Christ is King and that the way to know Him is through His Word. Spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Hosts

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins is a Christian Bible teacher and writer/blogger who enjoys studying and teaching Scripture.  Portia is the founder of "She Shall Be Called" (SSBC), a women’s ministry centered on helping women understand and embrace true biblical womanhood through solid study of God's Word. To learn more about SSBC, visit www.sheshallbecalled.com.  Portia and her husband, Mikhail, have a daughter and currently live in the Mississippi Delta. 

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guest

Heather Creekmore

Heather Creekmore

Heather Creekmore writes and speaks hope to thousands of women each week inspiring them to stop comparing and start living. Heather is the author of two books--Compared to Who? and The Burden of Better—which take a deep dive into the spiritual roots of body image issues and comparison and offer a grace-based path to freedom. Heather has been featured on Fox News, Huff Post, Morning Dose, Church Leaders, For Every Mom, along with dozens of other shows and podcasts, but she's best recognized from her appearance as a contestant on the Netflix hit show, Nailed It. Heather and her fighter-pilot-turned-pastor husband, Eric have four children and live in Austin, Texas. Connect with Heather at Comparedtowho.me.