Ever since I can remember, I’ve taken issue with my body. I’ve always compared myself to the “skinny” girls around me. I remember as early as 5th grade a particular girl in my class that for some reason I always compared myself to body-wise. “She’s so skinny. Gosh, I wish I could look like her.” I compared myself to her all through high school and beyond. Even now as a 30 something woman I would see her pictures on Facebook and think to myself, “Having kids didn’t ruin her body. If only I had more self-control not to eat the pizza or the scone.”
I would avoid looking at myself in the mirror when I walked by it naked as I got out of the shower. I was disgusted by what I saw. Thick thighs, stretch marks, a belly that hangs, boobs that sag, so many dimples in places I thought there shouldn’t be dimples.
My family has always told me I was beautiful. My husband has always been so kind to lovingly adore my body. He would tell me things like,
“You are the standard by which all beauty is measured”.
So sweet and romantic, but in my mind, total lies. There is no way he loves my body at 230 pounds. He’s just trying to make me feel better. The way I spoke to myself not only affected my own self-worth, but also the way I saw others. I was either terribly down on myself or I would put others down to make myself feel better.
My thinking has changed. I no longer look at myself in disgust. Now I see stretch marks and thank the Lord that my body grew life 4 times! I see my sagging boobs and thank Him for allowing me to feed my babies. I see my thick thighs and thank Him for good food and a strong body that I can use to continue on a journey to health. Last week I went to a public pool with my family. It was the first time I had been since I had changed my thinking. As I sat there enjoying the cool water on that very hot day something occurred to me. Not once had I looked at the skinny girl and wished I was her. Not once did I judge the heavier girl! Not once did I compare myself to anyone else at that pool! I was completely confident in who I was in my own skin. It must have shown too because my sisters commented on how good I looked. Confidence is attractive! I am beyond grateful for my renewed mind and heart concerning my body!!
I grew up in a Christian home. My family bounced between churches during my childhood. At one point my dad was even the pastor at a church. All my life I was taught “modesty.”
“Make sure you don’t show too much cleavage.”
“Make sure your shorts aren’t too short.”
I took pride in my “modesty” because “our bodies are temples”. I was protecting the boys and men around me from thinking lustful thoughts. There was no way they were going to lust after me anyway because I was “fat” and covered up. My parents taught us the way they thought best. That’s what they were taught after all. For generations parents have been teaching their girls to cover up and their boys to be good because “that’s what the Bible says.” I have been teaching my own 4 children the same. But is this really what Scripture teaches? Is this really what the Lord had in mind and desires of us? I believe the church is missing the mark and we are debilitating our kids in the process.
Let’s get real! No more masks! No more “we can’t talk about that!” No more tip toeing around what’s really going on!
The way the church approaches the body is doing way more harm than good! By the time our boys bounce their eyes, the image is already in their head. It doesn’t take staring at it for the lust to begin, because we are conditioning our boys that the sight of the opposite gender is going to automatically trigger a sexual response. Wearing modest clothing isn’t keeping our men and boys from lusting and wondering what’s underneath. I have talked to several men who said it didn’t matter what someone was or wasn’t wearing, the curiosity was still there. But when everyone is bare, nothing is remarkable. I’ve seen this first hand recently while visiting a nude beach. I saw many people being modest and none of them were wearing clothes. They were showing a mutual respect for not only bodies around them but also the person as a whole. More on that in a future post!
We girls can do all the right things, but if someone’s mind is in the gutter, we could still be lusted after. I have recently been introduced to a group of people who believe, like me, that we can do better. We need to start showing our children that they have been created in the image and likeness of the Most High God! That word means a picture. A physical and spiritual image of the Lord! No matter what we look like, our bodies are a gift from God and the pinnacle of His creation. If we can begin to put that into the minds and hearts of our children, I believe that we could begin to change the current course the world and the church is on. The current methods aren’t working! We give the boys a pass with phrases like, “Boys will be boys” and “every man’s battle.” We put blame and guilt on girls because their skirts are too short and their shirt is too low cut. It’s wrong, and it’s not fair to either group!
I will not lie down and surrender to the notion that my boys are sentenced to a lifetime of bouncing their eyes or installing barriers on their computers in order not to lust! That is bondage! We need renewed minds and hearts!
I refuse to lie down and surrender to the notion that my daughter will forever feel inferior and ugly because she’s comparing her body to the ones she sees in the magazines or on TV! That is bondage! We need renewed minds and hearts!
This is a work in progress for our family because this way of thinking is fairly new to us, but I will do everything in my power to help my children live in freedom as they reject bondage to the lies of Satan! I will not give up this fight! Satan will not win! IN THE NAME OF JESUS, NOT ON MY WATCH!