Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guest Post: Created by the Creator of Beauty

Editor's Note: I know Caitlin Elmore from EDGE Corps... we met out in Colorado at training back in May and have definitely been "social media" friends since- inspired by each others blogs, instagrams, etc! She serves at the University of Akron. (That's in Ohio... don't worry, I had to google it too) and has something like a bajillion siblings. Caitlin blogs over at  Engraved. Her blog is deep, silly, snarky, and filled with DIY, music, and life. She recently asked me to do a "10 Things I am Loving Right Now" post for her... make sure and check it out (after reading her post of course)! Without further ado, I am SO excited for you all to read this... it's a real gem! - HB


So when I was asked to write this I panicked a little bit. In a good way. I just could not figure out what to write on...a lot of things make me tick! Gold glitter, Beyonce, knitting, kittens, infinity scarves...

But in all seriousness, I feel pretty passionate about a lot of things and I was having trouble deciding what to write this precious guest post on. And then, I was scrolling through Hellogiggles this morning and one of the headlines stuck out: Creating the “Perfect” Man. What? This seemed out of character for their site. I had to know.

So I click on it and there is this hilarious picture of Viggo Mortensen with all these photoshopped body parts and such. Ah, I’ll just show you: here. The picture was in response to an article from Men’s Health magazine. Based on the passion stirring up in my heart, I knew I had to write about this.

I am about to tell you a dumb story about high school.  It’s 2005 and I am 15 years old. Every year in marching band we would have silly awards for our class. That year I won “Best Butt”... which some of the guys in my class took as an open door to make comments.  They never said anything mean... they were honestly trying to flatter me. But I was 15, growing into a new body, and very uncomfortable with the attention my body was getting. I was born into a family of women with child-bearing hips. I am what magazines called “Pear shaped.” When puberty hit and things started changing, I noticed, but now I knew that other people did too.

I was also a dancer at the time which meant that I was in a leotard and tights three to four days a week. Standing in front of a giant mirror. With ten other girls and their unique body types. It was then that I became an active player of what I like to call “The Comparison Game.” And now, with the comments the guys were making at school, all I could look at during ballet class was my giant butt (I wore a 4...) and how wrong my body was.

This is not the first time I struggled with body image. And this was definitely not the first thing to put the idea in my head that I had to look a certain way, but it’s a very vivid, awkward, and sometimes painful reminder that like most women, this is a deep issue in my heart that goes way back.
Honestly, I can’t handle that Men’s Health article. And I really can’t handle the picture that accompanied it. But I will say, I was encouraged to see comments from men saying the article was inappropriate, offensive to women, and offensive to MEN. So kudos guys. You rock.

Who has seen the Dove beauty campaign ads? While the campaign itself could be controversial based on conflicting messages from Dove and their media team, I do really enjoy the ads. This one in particular:

Ok so the “he” in the video is this young man who apparently has a crush on Amy. But what if Amy is us (because she is, isn’t she? Quick: name twelve things wrong with your appearance.) and “he” is God.

So, I’m not going to talk about how we need to show more “average girls” on tv or how “curvy is beautiful.” Yeah those things are true, BUT if I am going to claim to be a daughter of the King, then I am not going to tell you that you are beautiful because you have “real” curves, but because YOU ARE ALSO A DAUGHTER (or son) OF THE KING. We are beautiful because we were created, beautifully and wonderfully, by the creator of beauty.

To our Father’s sorrow, we chose to redefine beauty. And we’ve kind of gotten to a point where those redrawn definitions of beauty and perfection are just accepted, even among Christian women.

I would look better if I lost 10 pounds. My skin is too white. I have cellulite on my thighs. My hair doesn’t ever look right. These are all lies. And they aren’t limited to appearance. I am too loud. I am too quiet. No one thinks I’m funny. No one wants to be around me. If I were just more gentle. If I were just more bold.

Stop. Breathe.
What does God say?

“All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” - Song of Songs 4:7

“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” - Psalm 45:11

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” - Ecclesiastes 3:11

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” - Genesis 1:31

Honestly, this is just scratching the surface of why we are perfect in Christ. We are beautiful (men and women included) and we are worth SO MUCH MORE than society has led us to believe.

Because I believe strongly in applications, I will leave you with a list of things that you can do to start to reverse the effects lies about beauty have had on your heart.

  1. Stop filling your mind with junk. You be the judge of what is “junk” and what is harmful for your heart, but here are some quick examples. Beauty and women’s interest magazines, music videos, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, The Bachelor, A LOT of movies. I am not saying that you are bad for watching movies and tv shows, but if you are really struggling and want to be really serious about focusing your heart on truth, get rid of the junk that feeds the lies.
  2.  Fight with truth. Write down every lie you are believing and everything that is “wrong” with you. Now get out your Bible and do some serious reading (and some serious praying). For every lie your wrote down, find a truth that proves it wrong.
  3. Take care of yourself. I don’t mean counting calories, and dieting and exercising excessively. I mean finding clothing that is modest and makes you feel beautiful in the right way. Also, staying active in any capacity that will give you energy, keep you healthy, and give you a more positive outlook.
  4. Find a network of encouragement. Are you interacting with a group of people who tear you down or build you up in things other than truth? Get out of there. Solid Christian community will build you up in the right ways. Also, seek accountability. Find a woman (or if you are a man, a man) who you can tell everything to and (this is key) who will speak to you truthfully.
  5. Incorporate some cheesiness into your life. Leave a love letter from God next to your mirror. Let Scripture remind you who you really are in Christ.
  6. Most importantly, spend time with your Father. Who better to remind you of your worth than the one who deemed you worthy enough to come into existence? Focus on your identity in Christ. Focus on what is true and good.

You guys, we are beautiful. We are so beautiful. God calls us lovely. He calls us his beloved. He did not intend for us to operate out of these lies of unworthiness. “Finally, brothers [and sisters] whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.” - Philippians 4:8

I wish I had pages and pages to talk further on this issue. This post doesn’t even begin to go deep enough, but I hope it was at least an encouragement to you. You are in no way alone in your struggle with body and self image.

I will leave you with this song. What a powerful message of truth! 

Live Loved (because that’s what they say here and I think it’s super awesome),

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