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Are you feeling lousy because, when you look in the mirror, you’re reminded of how much weight you’ve gained? Did you become so focused on your outward appearance that you forgot that God cares about your inner qualities? Did you forget God loves you? He also loves courage and truth.

It takes courage to accept the truth of how things are right now. You’ve gotten out of “shape”; that’s true. You know what’s also true? God can help you recover your true shape again. He can help you become healthier than you’ve ever been, no matter your age.

Today, be happy with who you are. You are perfect? No? Well, who is? Remember, even those muscled, tanned movie stars have cellulite. Why? Because cellulite is a natural condition of the human body. It’s not evil or ugly; it’s normal. Our healthy bodies are made by God to contain a certain amount of stored fat. Everyone’s body will place those stores in genetically designed places. When God considers the worth of a person, believe me, He doesn’t make value judgments based upon deposits of subcutaneous fat. It’s the world’s job to make shallow and superficial judgments like that.

Instead of concentrating your efforts on what you see as wrong with you, focus your energies on what you can do to make things right today and tomorrow. Your body is an amazing piece of work. Whatever your shape, your body is designed with an amazing ability to heal, to correct, to generate health. Working with your body and its God-designed systems, you can get back into shape, and I don’t mean some idealized, impossible shape, but the very shape God intended when He created you.

I think it’s easier to remember things if you can put them into recognizable, memorable phrases. Remember to accept who God made you to be and where you are right now. To me, that’s the foundation of rediscovering your body the way God designed it.

You must first accept yourself. If you don’t accept who you are right now, if you resent of hate yourself, it’s going to be very difficult to find the positive motivation you need to move forward. From now on, you must daily remind yourself to accept yourself. You are not allowed to beat yourself up anymore! Can you learn lessons and gain wisdom from your past? Absolutely! But you must look at yourself, as God does, with new compassion every single day. God, even knowing all He does about your past, your present, and your future, daily has compassion for you. If He can do that, you can at least accept yourself each day.

This positive acceptance can power your motivation to change. It’s kind of a paradox, really, which seems to be God’s stock-in-trade, but by accepting yourself today, you find the strength to change yourself tomorrow.

Say this prayer, “Father, help me to live in the reality of this moment and accept the truth about myself. Guard me from self-hatred, and teach me to love myself as You love me. Allow this love for who your are, who I am, and who You created me to be, to motivate me today to love myself more. Today, I need the reality of Your love to replace the perceptions of this world. Amen.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with body image and need professional assistance, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help. While the Christian-track treatment program is not required, we offer it to those seeking a strong faith-based component to treatment. We help you grow in your spiritual walk and relationship with God, and allow that to be your foundation as you build a life of hope and happiness.