Saturday, January 14, 2012

on daughters and body image

i have all these thoughts rolling around in my head and adam took the big kids swimming, so bear with me while i process out loud. i read this article by janell burley hofmann about an experience she had with her seven year old daughter (7!!!) after her daughter confessed feeling "fat." it's a good read and made me cry, surprise surprise. i could not help thinking of my beautiful daughter and the conversations we are sure to have in the future. i could not help but think of my childhood and the fear and control that gripped me in my middle school years as i desperately wanted to be "thin."

it is such a touchy issue with women...this topic of beauty and weight and health. we struggle to be thankful for how we were created and to fight self-loathing and destructive tendencies. we struggle to not compare with others, to not be defensive when people express concern. our culture is hard on women...telling us lies about what real people look like and act like and our information age puts overwhelming amounts of info in front of our faces all the time enticing us to think there are quick fixes and essential ingredients to happy and healthy lives. and well, we are just sinful and we twist things. like anything else good, we broken messed up folks can turn health and fitness and beauty into idolatry.

i admire hofman for the way she faced head-on her own insecurity about her body with her daughter. and while, i'm sure we disagree on many things (girl-power, self-confidence etc), i think she makes a good point. our daughters will learn from the women in their lives. adam noted, that insecurity about body cannot be dispelled in an instant. it is something we must cultivate and encourage...this looking to Jesus for security and identity. when they are young, mommy is so important. marit is just 4, but i pray that she will find rest in Jesus so that when she is more influenced by peers, she will be confident in Him and His loving work in and around her. do i really believe that i am created beautifully by God in His image? of course our motives are always mixed and kids have a way of seeing through them...little perceivers that they are. am i telling marit one thing and acting something different out for my own body? of course, eating well and exercising are ways we can take good care of the gift that is the body, but am i emphasizing it right in my own life, with my words and actions?

what do i know? we have not had these conversations at all yet, but i want marit to know from now until forever the truth: you are beloved by God. you have been created by God. no amount of striving for perfection in any area of life, be it having a perfectly thin body or achieving excellence in some sport or art will ever ever satisfy. only Jesus can satisfy the longing in your heart to belong and to be loved. everything and everyone else will fail.

i want to live this struggle openly before my little girl. i want to repent of my own sin to the Lord and if it is helpful, to her. i want to preach the Gospel to myself so often that marit overhears it and preaches it to herself.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in you body. 1cor 6:19-20

this article is great too regarding body and performance and being loved by God.

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