Finding Contentment In How God Made You
Few truths are as comforting to the follower of Christ as the belief that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. Especially in seasons of uncertainty and upheaval, we cling to the promise that God’s sovereignty and omnipotence will guide us toward a future that will align with His personal plan for us. Girded with scriptural affirmation from Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:4-5 and Romans 8:28-29, we face circumstances we wouldn’t have chosen with confidence God will “work things for the good.” Our challenge in these times of molding is to avoid manipulating circumstances and pursuing fleshly strategies in an attempt to alleviate our discomfort, as this often derails the opportunity God is providing for personal transformation and spiritual direction.
As keen as we are to discern the roadmap He is providing in the spiritual, vocational, and relational challenges of our lives, we seldom consider the possibility that He has a physiological plan and purpose for us as well. While God was ordering our paths in ways that would bring Him glory, He was also intentionally designing a physical body He intended to facilitate that plan. David gives voice to this in Psalm 139:13-15:
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Have you ever considered that your physical characteristics were something God intentionally created, and that He sees those unique attributes as intertwined into His plan and purpose for you?
Have you ever considered that your physical characteristics were something God intentionally created, and that He sees those unique attributes as intertwined into His plan and purpose for you? What I’m referring to here is His original intent for your physiology as you were “intricately woven”, not necessarily the version that you exist in presently. As is the case for our relational, financial, and vocational miscues, our personal choices can also take us off the path God intended for us in the physical arena.
We live in a Christian culture that celebrates God’s unconditional love for His children and His primary focus on the state of our hearts and motives. We also live in a broader culture which encourages us to embrace and love ourselves regardless of our state of physical health. With these powerful influences at work it can become difficult to consider the concept of God’s original intent for our physiology. Does God actually have a physical standard or physiological intent for me? If so, what clues can I find that would inform my alignment with that?
Does God actually have a physical standard or physiological intent for me? If so, what clues can I find that would inform my alignment with that?
In the 1940s William H Sheldon introduced his theory of Somatotypes, suggesting that there were three main body types: Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph. According to Sheldon, each type possesses unique physiological characteristics and exceled at different physical tasks. Sheldon’s work codified what most people naturally perceived about our physical differences and helped us understand the strengths and weaknesses associated with each type.
Throughout history, each of these differing body types has enjoyed their season of being seen as generally ideal for a variety of reasons. Regardless of what a culture might consider advantageous at any moment in time, all body types have been viewed as “ideal” or aesthetically beautiful by a percentage of the population. Regardless of what may seem preferable to us, God calls all of these body types “very good”, and all are equally capable of glorifying Him. In understanding God’s physiological purpose for us, it would be helpful to first identify what kind of body type He was fashioning when He created us.
In my work with people to help them become more physically available, I encounter many who are not at peace with the “frames” God “wove” for them. Given a choice, they would trade in what they were given for another “model.” This discontentedness is broad and crosses all body types: The endomorph who wants to be thin like an ectomorph, the ectomorph who wants to be stronger like a mesomorph or endomorph, etc. Depending upon what sport or vocation someone might want to excel at, there is yet another opportunity for dissatisfaction.
Aside from our physiology, it is common for us to lose our childhood innocence and become increasingly dissatisfied with our aesthetics. Freckles, birthmarks, eye color, hair texture and more become a feeding ground for discontent as we grow older and are informed of our “flaws” and “imperfections” by our culture, our peer group, or even our families.
When we are tempted to be angry with how we were fashioned, we need to understand the insulting nature of our displeasure and the offense this causes our Creator:
Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?
Our appropriate perspective should be to accept with humility and gratitude the body type we’ve been given and seek to become the best version of what God intended for us.
Our appropriate perspective should be to accept with humility and gratitude the body type we’ve been given and seek to become the best version of what God intended for us. For starters, this would mean understanding what would constitute an appropriate body fat level and lean muscle content for our body type that would allow us to function most effectively and productively.
Perhaps the discontentedness many feel regarding their physical bodies has more to do with what they have become rather than how God created them. Sadly, the idea of viewing their naked body is abhorrent to many Christians. While we need to avoid narcissism, I don’t believe this was God’s intent. David, the author of Psalm 139 was in awe of his physiology despite being viewed as less than ideal physically by kings and prophets. When we struggle with seeing ourselves positively, it should be of great encouragement to know that there is much we can do to align ourselves with His physiological intent when we view our physical bodies as a consequential stewardship.
The Apostle Paul encourages us to pursue contentment in all the circumstances of our lives:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
-Phil 4: 12-13
Arriving at a place of contentment with our bodies is more than “learning to love ourselves as we are.” A biblical perspective also avoids neglect or self-obsession. We all benefit from understanding:
- God created me uniquely, lovingly, and purposefully.
- God had a physiological intent and purpose for me. There is a “best version of me” that sprang from His creative genius.
- As I consider God’s vocational, relational, financial, and spiritual purposes for my life, it would be important to consider and align myself with His physiological purpose as well.
- Understanding my body type provides clues as to the “base model” he designed for me.
- God’s greatest concern is for our physical availability and functionality, not our aesthetic beauty.
- Gaining contentment with our physiology may include both raising our standard of fitness to align with His intent and turning a deaf ear to our culture’s perspective of our bodies.
If you are interested in knowing more about body types and discovering yours, fill out the form below for your free quiz!
Before, I go, I would like to leave you with this.
You were created perfectly and beautifully by a loving Creator. Let this song by Nicole Nordman encourage you in your acceptance of who God made you to be.