By Blake Stewart
For students in college, learning to care for and love their body is important part of their spiritual formation.
A discussion about body image issues, expectations, finding a healthy balance and implementing God into that plan was the focus of Monday’s Community Conversations.
The conversations, hosted every other Monday starting at 6:30 p.m, are conversations focused on bringing different professionals to discuss topics that effect college students and leaving time at the end for students to ask questions.
Often the images we have of our own bodies is not divine, said Shawna Songer Gaines, university chaplain.
According to Gaines a lot of students say that they hate their body or struggle with the image of their bodies
“As Christians it is important for us to remember that God creates intimately and said that it is good. We bring delight and pleasure to God,” said Gaines.
The Monday night panel consisted of students James Livengood and David Ingalls as well as Sara Hopkins, director of counseling center, Lauren King, psychologist at Southeast Psych Nashville and Trevecca alum Daniel Jetton.
Each member from the panel brought their own personal experience of dealing with body image issues and how they approached finding a healthy plan of balance.
The factors that effect a person’s image can vary from their peers, the media, television and society.
According to King, our perceptions not based on reality are cognitive and emotional. It’s complicated, it’s not just what other people perceive, she said.
“We are all made to gear toward a negative bias. Our brains are wired to hold onto negative information. It is a lot easier for us to hold onto negative ideas of who we are and what our bodies look like,” said Hopkins.
Our society views weight loss as a good thing, said King
According to Hopkins our culture tells us that beauty is rigid. For women to be pretty is to be thin and tall. Our perceived idea of what beauty is does not meet the criteria for most women, she said.
The media dictates what beauty is supposed to look like, said King.
Students have to learn to accept themselves and compassion because being hard on oneself can often lead to depression, King said.
The key point in the conversation was on finding a healthy plan of balance.
As Christians, a lot of that has do with knowing how God views you, said Jetton
“Being a living sacrifice is applicable because we should present our bodies as an act of worship to God. In terms of thinking about your body we should ask God. A life worshiping God does not have to live up to the cultural ideas that are portrayed,” said Livengood
As students at a Christian college it is important to understand that all are imperfect and embracing that imperfection seems countercultural. Students can love who god made them to be and not fall into the cultural lies, said Hopkins.
Trevecca offers counseling services for students. To set up an appointment:
· Go to TNU4U.edu
· Scroll over menu
· Select Services
· Select counseling services
· Click on click here to set up counseling appointment
· Fill out the form and click submit