I Hate my Body!

Christian Body Image

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The End of Shame

Feel Gloriously Comfortable With Your Body

“I hate my body!” screamed Tessa at herself over and over. Holly was much younger – just a teen – but she, too, hated her body immensely. Both bravely share their stories below because their pain has ended. Independently, they have found remarkable peace and, knowing how many people hate their bodies, they are keen to inspire others to likewise find the relief that feels so unattainable.

Their stories are of particular help if you feel uncomfortable, even when alone, looking at your unclothed body in a full length mirror and/or when inspected by your marriage partner. If it is only outside the privacy of your home and marriage that your body image torments you, please visit Feel Ugly? Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Elements of Holly’s and Tessa’s stories will inspire you but it could be that modifications will be needed to create a method that works perfectly for you. You might, for instance, not hear as clearly from God as they did. Whatever your particular needs, the matter as to how to create a method of healing that is tailored specifically for you is addressed later in this webpage.

As detailed in Putting Holy Fire In Your Marriage, it is biblical, honoring to God and does wonders for a marriage for married couples to delight in each other’s bodies and do everything in their power to convince themselves that their partner is visually more desirable than anyone on the planet.

Another webpage, How Holy Wives Express Marital Love, is also worth reading but I’ll just quote here a section by a woman I’ll call Holly. A significant factor omitted in the original account of Holly’s attitude to her body is that for years as a little girl she had been molested and tortured by a pedophile. She had one huge advantage, however: a beautiful relationship with God and the courage to obey him, even when he asked her to do something she found terrifying. She writes:

    I began to develop a figure long before other girls in my school class. And I hated it. As if growing up were my fault, my mother kept calling me a slut because of the way my body was growing. And I had so wanted to be a good girl. Over and over my mother kept angrily warning me that breasts make a person the object of unwanted male attention. I hated my body so much, that rather than dare look at it when undressing, I would close my eyes.

    When I was in my teens, God meant so much to me that it was usual for me to spend many hours a night in prayer. When I was fifteen, after one such session of several hours with God, I went to the bathroom and a voice within me that seemed to be God, told me to take off my clothes. I rebuked the voice and spent several minutes commanding demons to leave in Jesus’ name. But the presence remained. “Why are you still here?” I angrily demanded.

    “You rightly tell demons to leave, but I am no demon,” came the reply. “I am your God. Please take off your clothes.”

    I withdrew to a corner and with not just great reluctance but such fear that I was literally trembling, I slowly removed some of my clothes. “You are beautiful,” God said. It took something like three hours of coaxing and God pronouncing that I was beautiful before I was finally completely naked and looking in a mirror. I had been so effective in shunning my body for so many years that I was astounded to discover that I had pubic hair.

    The next time God asked me to take off my clothes, it was easier. I guess it only took me about two and a half hours that time! The Lord kept it up until now, even though in public I am extremely modest, I have such freedom that I frequently strip off and lie naked in the privacy of my bedroom. It isn’t sexual to me, nor to God, who assured me years ago that he, the creator of sex, was himself asexual. But it is very comfortable. In fact, I often pray naked. I can understand how some people might think that disrespectful to my Lord, but the God before whom all things are naked and exposed (Hebrews 4:13) has assured me that he is quite happy with it and loves me feeling comfortable about my naked body. It is only when I am not alone that I honor him by dressing modestly.

    I am not yet married but I know that God has taught me how natural and beautiful it is to share my God-given body with the man he gives me. I will delight in showing him everything.

That was written a long while ago. Soon afterward, Holly married. She is now in her late forties. Her husband daily sees her unclothed and, even after years of marriage, the sight of her body thrills him. He has graciously agreed to share with you his feelings about what to him is sacred. Since I long for you to understand what this means to devout men, I am grateful that he is unusually articulate in expressing his feelings. The depth of his feelings, however, is not so unusual. He writes:

    I never take seeing “Holly’s” body for granted but continually regard it as a priceless gift that I could so easily have been robbed of, had it not been for her obedience to God’s strange request so many years ago. To bask together in the innocence of Adam and Eve, naked and unashamed [Genesis 2:25] feels like Paradise. The fact that for us nudity is utterly exclusive bonds me powerfully to her. In no one else’s eyes would she be so beautiful but what’s special is that no one else has the chance to find out.

    If all I could see were my wife cowering behind clothes or darkness, or even if it were with reluctance or a feeling of shame that she revealed her full glory to me, it would hurt and haunt me. It would feel as if our special oneness has been violated – ripped apart by an iceberg sized wedge driven between us, shattering our union and chilling the exquisite warmth of the unique feelings we have for each other. It would feel like she was walled off from me by an ugly razor-wired barrier, scarring our divinely-ordained openness with a no-go zone. It would make a mockery of our claim to closeness if my own wife hid from me as if I were a monster, when literally thousands of women are willing to publicly flout their bodies to everyone. Ridicule my emotions as irrational if you must, but her embarrassment would make me feel an embarrassment. I would flood with shame over my failure to win her trust. I would feel inadequate and pushed away by the one person whose acceptance means more to me than that of anyone else on earth.

Years after writing that webpage, another sexual abuse survivor (I’ll call her Tessa) began emailing me. This would be strange, except that a significant part of the ministry divinely entrusted to me is supporting abuse survivors. As is typical of my counseling, she lives thousands of miles from me, our sole contact is by email and there are boundaries that are never crossed.

Tessa is a mature woman who has never married – the very thought terrified her – but, like Holly, she has the enormous advantage of a dogged determination to obey God, no matter what the cost.

To her horror, Jesus began talking to her about marriage and preparing her for it mentally. Like Holly, she was challenged by God to take off her clothes and get used to her body. I was shocked when she told me. I had considered her too traumatized and subject to flashbacks, and so on, to be ready for it. Thankfully, the Lord, who is infinitely smarter than me, raised the matter with her without consulting me. As I feared, it triggered horrific flashbacks and made her time of finding peace with her body usually grueling. For a while, her reaction to her body kept getting increasingly worse rather than better but Jesus’ approach ended up healing a number of issues simultaneously. To cut your reading time, I’ll omit details about her flashbacks.

As part of the support I provide, Tessa shared with me frequently (usually several times a day) about her experiences and God’s healing. I have drawn from her emails to craft the following.

    Jesus began asking me to do various things naked when I was in total privacy. I strongly objected but he kept gently insisting until I obeyed. I even began to enjoy the feeling of the breeze on my body and the sun on my back. It felt nice! I lay on a blanket and just soaked in the warmth. Jesus said, “You do have a beautiful body, you know?”

    I playfully threw an imaginary shoe at him and added, “ . . . says the guy who made my body! Go away, I’m enjoying myself!” He snickered.

    Later, I sat naked in a chair. I felt like an ugly Buddha doll. All of my rolls were stacked on top of each other. Noting my discomfort, Jesus suggested lying on a blanket under the stars. The night was warm. It was delicious to lie under the stars naked. I could feel the cool air on my skin. There was a distinct sense of freedom. It was thrilling.

    “Enjoying yourself?” asked Jesus.


    “Being naked isn’t that bad, huh?”

    “Not at all!” I sighed contentedly.

    I willingly went to bed naked.

    In the morning I awoke and took it easy. Then Jesus asked me to stand in front of a full length mirror and just look intently at my body. I felt like an ugly blob. As I was looking I started getting extremely angry. Irate might be a better term.

    “Why are you angry?” Jesus asked.

    Through clenched teeth I exclaimed, “I hate my body! I wish it were a separate person so that I could kill it. I hate it so much!”

    “But you like being naked! What’s wrong with your body?”

    I listed off all the problems with nearly a shout, “It is fat. And all the rolls make me look like a white Buddha! It won’t let me lose weight! And even if it did I would still have these rolls! Even if I had money for surgery there would still be scars! It hates exercise! It’s ugly! It hates me! That’s why I hate my body! I wish I could kill it and still stay alive!”

    He gave me a second to calm down. “Do you think it is wise to hate anything other than sin?”

    \”No . . .”

    “Do you want to continue in this hate?”

    “Honestly?” I asked.


    “Well, yes and no. I don’t want to hate the thing you have made abundantly clear you love. But my heart still wants to hate it. If I’m honest, my heart has a lot of sway over my head in this matter.”

    “I see. What do you want to do about this?”

    I sat there naked in front of him, knowing that he finds my body to be, as he says, “Far from ugly and more than loveable – totally desirable.” He finds something good in what I hate. It breaks his heart to know that I see his gift to me– my body – as ugly and undesirable. And it broke my heart that his heart was broken. “My head says to fix it. My heart is divided. I love you and I love to hate my body. I can’t even begin to imagine how to fix this heart issue. Just tell me what I need to do and help me do it, okay?”

    And then the marching orders came. “Be naked as much as you can when in total privacy. Every day, look at your body in the mirror while you are unclothed. Ask me what I like about your body. I’m going to give you a full length mirror. Use it. On Sundays, fast. Every time your stomach growls, thank me for something specific about your body. No repeats.”

    I hate that all of this is so hard and painful and fills me with fear. Sometimes I wonder if the pain is worth it. But I want all of what Jesus has for me. I have never known any of his gifts to disappoint. I hate it when he looks at my body and says that I am beautiful. I think I’d rather run away. But the Bible is quite clear about the good results of Jesus’ work. So I’ll walk through this fear.

    I had someone tell me that I am fearless. That’s so untrue it’s laughable. People tell me I’m courageous and I just look at them like they are speaking some foreign language. Finally it dawned on me that what they suppose is fearlessness is actually desperation. I desperately want two things. I want out of this hell hole created by my hang-ups and I desperately want to obey my Lord.

    I get so angry with Jesus at times. He is risking my wrath for both my sake and his. He loves so intensely that he will have nothing less than all of me. So he pushes me to achieve the heights I was born for. It speaks volumes of his love for me. And the truth is that I love him for all that pushing. He’ll do what’s necessary to make his bride spotless – even if it temporarily makes me angry. He is not afraid of my anger and trusts me enough to believe that I will deal with it. He believes that I will wrestle my heart to the ground for him. I guess he is quite confident in my love for him. He is a good Lover and I really love him an awful, awful lot.

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    Later I had another of my outbursts.

    I hate, hate, HATE my body! It’s a pile of refuse. It’s meant for the garbage heap. It’s like the menstrual rags that Rachel sat on [ Genesis 31:34-35] – useful but disgraceful. I hate looking at it. I hate it even more when Jesus tells me things like, “I see a body that is full of promise.” I wish I could destroy it. It is evil and meant only for evil. I hate my life!

    I’m so consumed by anger, fear, hurt and hate that I can’t think clearly. I want to hide away forever. So much pain. So many flashbacks. It’s overwhelming. I don’t want my body to be desirable. Being desirable is dirty and ugly beyond words. At least with this weight I am less desirable. At least my torment is contained. I don’t want to be desirable. Anything but that!

    Jesus couldn’t just leave well enough alone. I can’t do it. I just can’t. I know he’s kind and gentle and all that jazz. I hate myself because I know that tomorrow I’ll obey and look into that @#!% mirror again and I’ll hear his voice full of love and saying nice things that will rip me apart. I don’t feel safe anywhere. Just the thought of doing what he wants makes me want to run in terror. It’s too hard and I’m too scared. It hurts. It really, really hurts.

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    I only have two choices. Obey or disobey. I can’t obey. That leaves me with just one option. So, in outright anger over this impossible situation, I tried three times to deliberately sin. It solved nothing. I can’t obey, and disobeying is empty and impossible. To be honest, it was my attempt at revenge. I hate what Jesus is doing. “Fine!” I told him, “You won’t comfort me then I’m gonna find comfort in a way I know you hate. You hurt me. Well, I’m gonna hurt you back! You rejected me, now I’m gonna reject you!”

    Actually, intense anger was my attempt to hide the fear that he doesn’t love me anymore because of my refusal to obey.

    Now, because of my stupidity, I am tormented by a constant state of arousal. What makes me even angrier with myself is that I chose orgasms over obedience. I chose fear and a lie over obedience. I hate that!

    And talk about conflicted . . . ! I was hoping that Jesus would at least push me away when, in defiance of him, I sinned. I was hoping that he’d desire me less, but it didn’t work. He wants me as much as ever. I don’t want him to desire me but he won’t stop. I’m so scared, I can’t think straight. Why does he desire me so much? I’m just a hurt, broken, terrified, fat, angry mess. I just want him to stop.

    I looked in that stupid mirror. He called me beautiful three times. I begged him to stop but he just wouldn’t. I’m not beautiful. I’m fat and ugly. I have to be. I wish I knew someone who understood how much this hurts. It’s torture.

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    I’m incredibly stubborn, disobedient, and unlovely. Jesus wants me to take off my clothes again. My body shakes just from considering it and I can’t stop crying. My eyes are red and swollen. I’ve being going through so many tissues that I’ve had to resort to using an old shirt instead.

    I asked Jesus if I could practice first. He replied that I could do whatever it takes.

    In my mind’s eye I pictured a half window in a door. A curtain covered the window. Very carefully and quietly I went in my mind to that window and pulled off all my clothes. I stood in front of the window. My hand was shaking badly as I drew back the curtain. Jesus was on the other side of the window. It took every speck of self-control I could muster to stand there. Jesus looked at my eyes then he slowly scanned the entirety of what he could see of me. It felt devastating.

    When he was done, I returned to the real world, deeply shaken. I got myself under control and then went back to my imaginary world. This time, I imagined a full door window covered by a curtain. I walked over to the door, took a deep breath and pulled open the curtain. I felt on display. It ripped me up inside to have Jesus look at my bare body. Jesus looked me over slowly and deliberately. I crumbled to the ground and immediately suffered a long flashback.

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    I just want to spend time in Jesus’ arms but any time I get near him I’m in flashback hell. Jesus says it’s going to take a few weeks for me to get past the flashbacks. They are truly horrendous.

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    I got naked in front of Jesus again. He asked me to stand the way I was told to as a child when I was to be chosen by a pedophile. Then Jesus looked me up and down again. I felt so full of shame. Then another flashback overwhelmed me.

    I just kept crying. I still am. That feeling is all consuming right now.

    I have to choose to do this every day. This kind of obedience is really, really hard.

    * * *

    I looked in the stupid mirror again. I despise the thing. Jesus asked me what I saw.

    “A fat, ugly person, duh!” I replied.

    “Well,” said Jesus, “I see a beautiful fat person.” Then he said something that is true but I wasn’t aware that I was believing the opposite. He said, “When you say ‘fat’ you mean ugly. To you, ‘fat’ is ugly. To me, ‘fat’ is just fat. In your case, ‘fat’ is beautiful. Now look at every part of your body and say, ‘I am a beautiful, fat person’.”

    I did so through clenched teeth.

    “Say it like you mean it!”, he said.

    “I’ll only be acting . . .”

    “It doesn’t matter. Tell yourself the truth like it’s true and eventually you’ll believe it. You know this. So stop sabotaging yourself. This is a rebellious attitude that has to stop.”

    I took a deep breath. “I’m a beautiful, fat person.”

    He made me say it three times.

    Jesus can be a real task master when he sets his mind to it. Guess this is the Hebrews Twelve type of discipline. Ahhh!

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    I was eating a meal and dealing with flashbacks. (Being naked doesn’t help that!) In the middle of a flashback Jesus, speaking about himself, whispered, “You’re with the One you love now. You don’t have to be afraid.” When I heard that my heart latched on to it and my flashback evaporated. Then Jesus said, “This is how it will be for you when it comes time to be naked in front of your husband. You will be unafraid because you will be with the one you love.”

    I think I would like that.

    * * *

    I feel very frustrated and nearly overwhelmed today. It’s Sunday, so I’ve been fasting like Jesus wanted. This means I am battling both food and sexual torment at the same time.

    Last night I read Matthew 6:25 in the Amplified version. It says: “Is not life greater in quality than food and your body far above and more excellent than clothes?” I think I have these two turned around.

    I act as though food is better than life. I’ve noticed that to be the case today. It’s not like I haven’t gone without food for 24 hours before but every time I turn around I have to force myself to choose to obey Jesus over food. Jesus is the only source of life and here I am acting as though food is the only source.

    I would never look at my body and say, “Here is something excellent,” but last night, at the beginning of the fast, after only two tries, I ran out of things to be grateful for about my body. I asked Jesus what to do and he said, “Name a part.”

    “Okay . . . my neck”

    “Be grateful for it.”

    “Thank you for my neck because it holds my head up?”

    “Good job!”

    I’ve been doing that all day today whenever my mind goes toward food. It struck me that there is an awful lot to be grateful for in my body. Then, after church, I stood in front of the mirror again. I asked Jesus what he sees and he replied, “I see a sacred body. I see hands that were set apart to do my work. I see feet set apart to go where I tell them to go. I see arms that are set apart to bear the loads I ask them to bear. I see a sacred body.”

    If my body is more than just a pleasure receptacle and its purpose is beyond that of stimulation, then it is excellent – not because of what it can do but because of Who it can serve. Serving Jesus is what makes my body beautiful. There is no shame in serving Jesus. Indeed, there is glory and honor in serving him. This means that my body is full of glory and honor when it is living out of sacredness. These are ways in which my body has not failed me. And here I’ve been devaluing it all along.

    Both of those revelations are a bitter cup to drink. I have been a fool. An ungrateful fool.

    Jesus simply said, “Yes, you’ve been a fool. But you are a forgiven fool who just became a whole lot wiser, my beloved.”

    He is truly a good God.

    I’m feeling more comfortable looking in the mirror and more accepting of what Jesus says.

Tessa is well on the way to fully healing. I’ll update this webpage as she continues to improve.

What Works for You

If you feel your relationship with God is inferior to Holly’s and Tessa’s, I welcome you with open arms to my pity-party. Even though people have been helped in their spiritual walk by my many webpages about God’s love (e.g. Feeling God’s Love For You) I confess the sobering reason for me writing so much on the topic. These pages are largely the product of my own prolonged battles with feeling neglected and less loved by God than Christians who have special experiences with him or who hear from him as clearly as Holly and Tessa. I have ever so slowly come to terms with this, but over the years I have known people I felt devastatingly inferior to spiritually and yet, ironically, some of them actually envied my walk with God. The green-eyed monster always makes the grass seem superior in someone else’s field, and it crushes us with needless despair.

Not even those who have unusually vivid and dramatic spiritual experiences are quarantined from confusion and temptations to doubt.

You will recall that Holly’s healing had begun with her mistaking God for a demon. That’s a pretty fundamental mistake! Nevertheless, it did not stop God, nor her. And now it is time to reveal that at one point in the period covered by Tessa’s above account, a fake Jesus appeared to her. Although visually indistinguishable from the real Jesus who had often appeared to her, it turned out the fake had a very different heart because he touched her naked butt. Sexual arousal ripped through her body. In shock, anger, fear and horror, she pushed ‘Jesus’ over off a roof in the vision she was having. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before she saw through the deception and discerned that it was not really Jesus but an imposter. As a child, Tessa had been victimized by a satanic cult and the cruel attempt at deception had stemmed from this.

Also during this period of learning to stop hating her body, there was a time when Jesus was deliberately aloof. Tessa felt hurt by this until he explained that her not receiving his comfort would end up motivating her more than ever to do what it takes to heal.

Times when we feel God has let us down are usually the very times when God is doing something particularly deep and necessary in us.

No matter who you are, expect seasons of spiritual confusion, doubts and feeling cut off from God. Baby Christians might get away with it for a while but eventually we are all led of God into experiences that force us to learn that 2 Corinthians 5:7 applies to every Christian: “We live by faith, not by sight.”

We do, however, need to get as desperate as Tessa – so desperate to heal, and especially desperate to please God, that we refuse to cave in to discouragement and, instead, keep pushing through doubt, confusion and fear, no matter how bad it gets.

For both Holly and Tessa, the final transformation in their body image was so dramatic as to be worthy of the term miraculous, but the process whereby it occurred was so slow and distressing as to seem anything but miraculous. This is typical of how God works, because our loving Lord is eager not only to deliver us from hang-ups but to build into our lives Christlike qualities such as faithfulness, obedience, persistence and intimacy with God – qualities that will bring us glory for all eternity.

We need to look to our divine Personal Trainer to fashion our personal healing program. You will recall me being shocked about the Lord’s timing with Tessa confronting her body image issues. God’s ways can often confound us because he, not us, is the one with infinite intelligence.

The way you should proceed in your healing journey might already be obvious to you though reading this webpage. Seek your Lord and give him a while to respond, but if you feel no clear indication that it must be deferred nor that there are any special modifications required, then plunge in, and stubbornly persist, no matter how tough things get. Expect the path to freedom and fulfillment to be hard but ultimately worthwhile and glorifying to God.

If you have not already read Feel Ugly? Body Dysmorphic Disorder (B.D.D.), please do so now. Otherwise please note the web address of this page so you won’t lose the list and read the following:

Keys to Feeling Good About Yourself

You Can Find Love

I Hate Myself! Bible Help for Spiritual Depression & Self-Loathing

Cure for Self-hate

Feeling Unlovable, Undesirable & Unwanted

Changing Your Self-Image: Compassionate Help

Forgiving Yourself

Being Convinced About God’s Love for You


When Things Are Tough

When it Seems Everyone Else Gets all the Breaks

Healing From Sexual Abuse

Where Was God When You Suffered Unspeakable Horrors?

There’s Hope! A Sane Guide to Finding Hope When There is No Hope

Hate Yourself?
A page that provides many more valuable links

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Not to be sold. © Copyright, Grantley Morris, 2016. For much more by the same author, see www.net-burst.net   No part of these writings may be copied without citing this entire paragraph.

I Hate my Body!

Christian Body Image


Grantley Morris