Milk and Honey Magazine article on overcoming an eating disorder and anorexia using the teachings of truths of Jesus through the Bible.

Seeing Ourselves Through God’s Mirror

Kendra Malensek

Let’s go back a few years together. I was 14 years old, and I’d just lost 50 lbs in a matter of a couple months for no reason other than I'd basically stopped eating. I knew exactly how many calories I was eating at all times, I skipped social gathers where I knew I would be tempted to overindulge, I was in the gym every single day (slightly dizzy, but you better believe I was going to be there). I was consumed with my body image, and then I remember one day looking in the mirror and weighing myself. I was 5 ft. 10 in and 110 pounds. It freaked me out! I was losing my hair, I had a headache almost all of the time, and what started out as an inspiring dream turned into a selfish nightmare. What’s unfortunate about this is I started getting a lot of attention for the way I looked; I started getting approached for modeling opportunities, women started asking me about my diet and how I got my physique. Little did they truly understand how unhealthy I was physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Whether you are 14 or 40, I think most of us struggle at some point in our lives with body image. I’m sure you’ve done it – you get out of the shower and start to nit pick all the tiniest things about your body you don’t like. We take minor impurities and turn them into major flaws in our overall quality of life. We begin to scroll social media suddenly comparing ourselves to whether we are inferior or superior to a filtered photo of someone we may not even know. We start searching for answers in a new diet, a new exercise regime, new yoga pants (because obviously those are necessary) and we tell the world about our insecurities in a joking manner to numb the real pain behind it. Or, maybe you’re like me, where I began to look at food to numb the pain and began binge eating only to wake up the next day feeling disappointed in myself, and by default, I'd start the same cycle over again and again.

Why am I exposing these secrets I know so many of us have? Because if we aren’t willing to address these seemingly insignificant social norms, they take root into our lives. But, I know for a fact sister, that you and I are called to something so much greater where our beautiful minds and hearts can’t be cluttered with the anxieties that come from a poor body image.

I’m convinced no diet, exercise regime or weight loss pill will cure the root of body image. Believe me, I’ve tried. I have a background in personal training, modeling, and obsession with all things nutrition, and no matter how perfect all of these external things can become, if we don’t change your internal perspective and state, it’s a never ending journey that leads to anxieties and comparison, a.k.a. the killer of all joy.

What I’ve come to find out is the only way to have true freedom from poor body image is found in Christ.

Freedom for me came when I realized my body is not my own, my body was given to me as a gift and as a temple for my spirit and soul. Our bodies is amazing, and they're capable of incredible things if and when we choose to honor and nourish them with whole real whole foods, regular exercise, and peace within our minds.

It’s interesting because they're the same external habits, but they come from a very different internal space. I used to operate from such a place of fear and hate versus faith and love. I would exercise out of fear of getting fat or out of a hate for my body versus out of a faith that if I take care of my body, it will take care of me and a love of everything that it does for me. It’s my body that allows me to go through each day with energy to pursue my purpose and passions, to show up for the ones I love, and to serve those around me.

Right now, wherever you are sitting, I don’t know your life circumstances or what you’ve experienced, but I do know we can be healed through Christ. We can accept freedom for ourselves. The healing has already been done, all we have to do is accept it by faith for ourselves.

From that place of acceptance comes willingness and obedience. Once we accept our healing for our bodies and our minds, it doesn’t give us permission to then overindulge and live a sedentary lifestyle. Jesus bought and paid for us to live in divine health, but taking care of our bodies is our responsibility. It starts with a willingness to surrender to God and follow through with an obedience to take care of our temples. When we do this from a place of love, out a place of obedience, our faith isn’t in a diet and our worth isn’t in the numbers on a scale. Instead, we can live in a place of peace that surpasses all understanding and begin to live in the fruits of the spirit which include self-control.

I want to share with you a few scriptures and affirmations that have helped me stay rooted in these truths. There have been times when they were written on my mirror, on posted notes, or as reminders on my phone. I believe they will serve you as you step into a place of acceptance for the home that you live in – your body.

  • “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
  • “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)
  • “I accept and love myself just as I am right now.”
  • “I am grateful for everything my body does for me.”
  • “I choose to honor and nourish my body with whole real foods and exercise because I love the way it makes me feel.”
  • “I live with peace that surpasses all understanding.”

Milk and Honey Magazine article on overcoming an eating disorder and anorexia using the teachings of truths of Jesus through the Bible.

Kendra (pictured with her husband) is obsessed with becoming the best version of herself. On any given day you’ll find her making lists, reading personal development books, dancing to worship music and drinking coffee in her favorite yoga pants. She’s a three on the Enneagram, married to a seven and after getting married young, Kendra and her husband Hunter, wanted to live differently than what they saw around them. So they started to pursue high quality relationships of people who were willing to take them under their wing. Now they are together in the pursuit of creating a life that they dreamed of while mentoring others the same way they’ve been mentored themselves, by living a life that is in alignment with their values.