Rethinking the Sexy Workout Mirror Selfie

By: Kristen Clark

I’m guilty. I have totally done it. After a long hard workout I remember snapping a “sexy” picture of myself in front of my bedroom mirror. You know. The kind where you angle your body just right to make your fat disappear and your muscles look huge.

Yep. That was me.

Nobody could see me though. I was in the privacy of my own bedroom. That didn’t matter though. I wanted to see how hot I looked. I wanted to admire my body.

I loved myself. A lot.

To be honest, I didn’t post that picture anywhere because I was too prideful of what people would think of me. Not to mention social media wasn’t really around then.

But that didn’t change my heart.

Deep down, I was self-obsessed and I didn’t care. I was working out because I wanted to look good. I wanted people to admire my fit body. I wanted other girls to be secretly jealous of me.

The trend of the mirror selfie.

Once the boom of social media took off, I quickly realized that I wasn’t the only person taking sexy mirror selfies. I starting seeing mirror selfies pop up all over social media. Girls, just like me, were eager to show off their flat abs and tight rears.

With the expansion of fitness companies, the sexy mirror selfie is becoming quite the normal thing to see these days.

However, as popular and normal as this trend is, as Christian women, let’s stop and think about it for just a second. Before we all jump full swing onto this bandwagon, let’s pause and ask a few soul searching questions.

Getting to the heart.  

Since none of us can see into anybody else’s heart, we can’t judge their motives with accuracy. However, we know our own hearts. We know how sinful and self-focused we can be. We know firsthand what pride is like.

We all know what it’s like to post a picture for attention. To wear something alluring to turn heads. To look in a mirror a little too long.

We know, because we all struggle with the same thing. Pride. Selfishness. Vanity. Right?

So in this post, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody, but simply asking all of us to evaluate our heart motives. With that in mind, let’s talk specifically about the sexy post-workout mirror selfie.

Why do we workout?

Okay. Before we even talk about the selfie, let’s talk about why we workout. This is the first place to start. So, why do you workout (or why do you “wish” you worked out more)?

Is your motivation to…

  • Stay in shape.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Maintain better health.
  • Avoid certain illnesses and diseases.
  • Look better in your clothes.
  • Have a better body for your spouse (or future spouse).

If most Christians were honest, they would probably say, “all of the above.” And that’s great! Those are all amazing benefits of working out. I agree.

However, over the past year I have been personally challenged by how nearsighted this view is.

A friend actually asked me why I am motivated to work out (or why I wish I worked out more). In response, I listed several of those things from above.

And that’s when I received some much needed encouragement and reminders.

I was reminded that as a Christian, I should have a much bigger reason for working out. I should be motivated for something deeper. For something more eternal. Even my motivation for exercise should be fueled by my love for the gospel.

My friend explained that working out should motivate us to have healthy bodies, yes…but not just for ourselves. Not just for our spouses. Not just to inspire people. We should be motivated to workout for two primary reasons:

1. The body is God’s temple and we should take good care of it (1 Cor. 6:19).

2. The healthier we are, the more energy we will have to serve God and advance His Kingdom long term (1 Tim. 4:8).

As Christians, we know that this earth is passing away. We know that nothing matters in the end except God’s Kingdom. We know our mission on earth is to make disciples and share the gospel (Matt. 28)

With that mission in mind, we should be the most passionate people about staying in shape. Not for ourselves. But out of a desire to have healthy bodies for the purpose of spreading the gospel for years to come.

That’s why 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

Okay, now let’s talk about the pictures.

Why do we post sexy pictures?

Now that we understand a gospel-centered perspective on exercise, let’s talk about the sexy mirror selfie.

We work out. We feel good. We look good. So…we post a sexy mirror selfie.

Now here’s the question. Why do you post those sexy mirror selfies? What is your personal motivation for doing that?

Is your motivation to…

  • Inspire other people.
  • Encourage a lifestyle of exercise.
  • Promote good health.
  • Show off your body.
  • Receive affirmation.
  • Get more attention.
  • Show the world that you can do hard things?
  • Keep up your “perfect” persona?

If you had to be really, really, honest…what would you say?

For me, I didn’t even have to post my photo and I could already see my motivation.

I was prideful and filled with vanity and wanted to bask in my own glory.

What about you? Even if your honest answer is “to inspire others” or “encourage a lifestyle of exercise,” I think it still misses the mark. If our photos are solely for inspiration, what are we ultimately inspiring people to do…work out? Then what? If that is our end goal, it misses the mark of eternity.

If each of us had to be truly honest, I think most of us would agree that our “sexy mirror selfies” aren’t as much about inspiring others as they are about drawing attention to ourselves. Our prideful hearts crave attention. We crave to be noticed. We crave affirmation. We crave our own glory.

In an attempt to get from humans what only God can give, we post.

And then we wait for the likes to come in.

I know, because I’ve been there.

As Christian girls, this isn’t God’s best for us. This doesn’t bring God glory.

We must remember that God is the only One who can truly satisfy us. He is the only one who can give us worth and value. He is the only one who holds our true identity.

Our bodies are not our own, they are God’s. We need to humbly evaluate our photos and see where we’re pridefully stealing God’s glory for ourselves.

Before you post.

Before you post any gym selfie pics from now on, I encourage you to sift your motivations through this filter. Ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. Deep down, why do I want to post this picture?
  2. What am I hoping to accomplish by posting this?
  3. Who will this selfie glorify most: God or me?
  4. What will this photo inspire others to do? Then what?
  5. Does my outfit and body reflect purity and modesty?

Instead of posting sexy pictures that draw attention to us, let’s be intentional to use our social media accounts and photos to point people back to God’s glory. May our motivation for exercising and being healthy be rooted in our love for the gospel and God’s Kingdom.

Let’s chat below.

  • Can you see how vital a Christ-centered motivation for exercising should be for us as Christians?
  • In what ways do you struggle to want to post sexy mirror selfies?

Photo Credit: Here 

Girl Working out

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  • Little Csaszar

    Wow thanks so much for the post it’s really inspiring. Just last night after the gym I was thinking the same thing. But I was wondering so many sports companies and business push for the the workout wear that is super tight and shows off a lot of things that don’t really need to been shown off (ha the vanity steps in again to promote itself). I guess just like anything you have to get creative with what you wear. But do you have any ideas or hacks about wearing modest gym wear?

    • Tiana

      If you wear the really tight legging-type pants, you could always wear workout shorts over them like I do.

      • Amaris Lancaster

        I agree. I like to wear shorts over tights and a loose cotton t-shirt over a sports bra.

    • Hannah grace

      ever tried a longer skort?

  • EllieC.

    This is so true. My sister and I are hoping to start jogging within the next few weeks — not that we aren’t fit, but it is the one way the two of us can get out of playing soccer.:) I’ll keep this article in mind! Thanks for posting!

  • Very good. This not only applies to post-workout pictures, but any pictures we post on social media.

  • Man, so on point. 🙂 I’ve been trying to get back into working out more, but part of me knows I’m not doing it for God. Yet I do not want to be guilty of laziness… It comes down to just praying and asking God to purify my motives and live in a way that pleases Him. 🙂

    Thank you for posting this!

  • Brianne

    Awesome post!! This really is an issue in the Christian girls’ community. I struggle with wanting to post self-directing photos. I never do, because that’s not glorifying to God, but I know I still have too much pride sometimes. Thanks for this post! 🙂

  • Ann Martinez

    I have not nor will I ever post a “sexy” selfie. To me all they show is vanity. It’s okay that you want to look good, work out & take better care of yourself & if you have a need to show off your progress why not just send a selfie to friends & family not the public. And there’s so many workout clothesoit there that’ll show the contours of your body without having to show any skin.

  • Soleil

    I am in kind of “rehab” of excercise and I think this article is just great! I wasn’t the type of sexy mirror selfies although I really loved to stare at me in front of the mirror, I am truly grateful that God has taught me that the true beauty is the heart who loves Jesus and the Gospel.

    • Shanice Harris

      Hi Soleil. I struggle with staring in the mirror too. I also struggle with comparing myself to other women subconsciously. Your last statement is so powerful. May God bless you

  • Omayra

    I loved the post girls! Actually I am going to the gym. And we need to do all for the glory of GOD. Thanks for help me.

  • Kesslyn Fleck

    Wow! I appreciate the list of questions on evaluating pictures, selfies or not, that we post or take! This post really hit home for me, as I have been struggling with deciding if social media is truly good for me and my friends or if it is hindering our relationships with the Lord. I will definitely be referring back to these questions when I post from now on!

    Actually, I have been considering taking a break for social media because I subconsciously find my worth in the responses I get from my posts, even though I know that it’s wrong to do so. Social media makes it easy to base my value on what others think of me, because it’s always there!

  • Gracie

    What an amazing article! Thank you so much for posting this, this really hit home for me.

  • Joanna

    Thank you so much Kristen!! You said this so well and clear!

  • Shanice Harris

    This is such a supportive article. In today’s culture my aspirations as a young woman have been to lose weight to look sexy and have a body that men will desire and women will be jealous or in support of. I see now that these aren’t glorifying things. I’m not posting sexy pictures or anything like that on social media now and this article makes me see that I’m doing the right thing and i need to reconsider my motives of wanting to look a certain way. It’s extremely hard growing up in this culture.

  • Juliana Santos

    I loved this article. As a brazilian woman, I can say that my culture praises the perfect body. And sometimes you can get involved with the lust of the world, but is good to have articles like this to remind me of my purpose on this earth. Thank you, Kristen. God bless you!

  • Lizzy

    This made me realize that even though I don’t post my body all over social media or show it off to the world, when I am alone, I do admire myself sometimes. I never thought of it as terrible because no one else could see, and I thought “I worked to get these muscles so its ok to admire um’ a little right?” WRONG! I know see how self centered this is and how self obsessed I have become. I my motivation for fitness is to look good not to get stronger, unlike it used to be. But I am going to stop. I want to use the body God gave me to grow stronger and be the best way I can be.

  • Ana

    Wow!! This article was spot on. I see a lot of my pride here, even though I do not post gym selfies I see a lot of my hearts desire. Thank you for this post.

  • Yes, not to mention posting “hot” selfies pose a visual temptation to men who are trying to be godly. Not cool.

    • DiggyD

      Most girls don’t really think about men when posting for themselves, its not constantly on their minds. If I want to post a selfie because I feel good about myself, then I will. And if this makes men feel ‘godly,’ then that’s their problem. I’m still going to post selfies because I am not obsessed with the existence of men.

  • Colleen

    Love this article! Lots of good points that I’ve never thought of before!

  • Emilie

    I don’t even use social media.
    My mother taught me about the dangers of social media!
    I’m glad that she did!

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