Monday, December 7, 2009

Body Image

Do any of you receive the Proverbs 31 Ministries' Encouragement for Today emails? Well, my mom does and she shared this one with me on Friday. I think it hits home for most of us, regardless of our age or how many kids (or not) we've had, and it's is a fantastic reminder that we are God's daughters. God created every inch of our bodies and He thinks we're beautiful.

There's obviously a certain level of care we need to take with our bodies because they're not our own, they're a temple for the Holy Spirit, but when we become obsessive and elevate body image over God and make it our idol, we're truly missing the mark.

Jesus extends grace upon grace to us and has already freed us from that bondage on the cross. So, we just need to accept that grace and pursue Jesus with our lives and allow Him to be our measure of beauty and not our own expectations or those that we perceive from the world.

Here's the Body Image email from Proverbs 31 Ministries, written by T. Suzanne Eller. Thought you ladies would enjoy it:
"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now." 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

I walked by the mirror in the department store. I stopped, backed up, and took a second look. Was that really me? I was nearly nine months pregnant with twins and looked like Mrs. Potato Head. My arms and legs stuck out of a huge protruding stomach. My belly button looked like a cork ready to pop!

A few days later Ryan and Melissa arrived. I loved my babies! But as the months passed, I didn't love my body with all its stretch marks and a baby bump that remained no matter how hard I tried to get rid of them.

Flash forward twenty-five years. Melissa loves to serve as Mom's fashionista, and tries to keep me up with the times. One day she and I were shopping for a pair of jeans and she'd picked out a couple of things she wanted me to try on. She knocked on the door of the dressing room. "Let me in, Mom."

I cracked open the door. "I'll be out in a minute, hon."

She frowned. Later she confronted me. "Mom, you were hiding your stomach, weren't you? I don't get it. You just need to get over it."

How many times have I met a truly beautiful woman and complemented her, only to hear her say, "Well, thank you, but I need to lose five pounds," or "I'm having a crazy hair day," or "Did you see that woman over there, now she's beautiful." What I saw was a smile that was warm and welcoming, or beautiful hazel eyes that were filled with compassion, or a woman who was frugal and fabulous. My complements were sincere, but fell flat as she f ocused on her flaws instead.
My conversation with Melissa that day reminded me that I was doing the same thing. Worse, I was modeling this behavior in front of my daughter.

The truth is that I'm healthy. I have given birth to three beautiful children. And more importantly, I'm God's girl. I'm beautifully made in His image. That's a fact etched on my heart and my mind.

Now if only someone would remind my mouth.

In Bible times ancient mirrors were polished metal, easily tarnished, and the reflection was hard to see. If a woman had a flaw, she had to rely on her friends or sisters to give her a head's up.
But today we can scope out our features in detail with three-way mirrors or a 5x-, 10x-, or even 15x magnified mirror where every pore and every flaw is magnified! Too often, those mirrors are reminders of the cultural message of what beauty is - or is not.

But what would happen if we focused on the mirror Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 13:12 instead? The more we get to know God, the clearer things become. We stop checking out our own image and discover more about Him. That helps us see the bigger picture—5X-, 10X-, and maybe even 15X magnified!

And there's a bonus. The more we get to know Him, the more others see us through His reflection.

Now, that's real beauty.

Dear God, I am made in Your image. I matter to You. Make me wise. Let me be grateful for physical healthy. Will You join me as I pursue joy, wisdom, peace, and selflessness? I want to look like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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