Wednesday, March 01, 2006

True Confessions

I went to the mall on Sunday. (You can probably already guess where this is going.) I had deja vu as I saw my reflection in front of the three-way dressing room mirror. (See previous post If I Ever Go Postal It Will Be In A Dressing Room.)

Earlier in the day I saw a seven-foot-tall real life Barbie-woman in her bra and underwear who appeared in my mailbox along with a coupon for a free pair of underwear at Victoria's Secret. Later that night I saw another Barbie-woman and two incredibly fit, svelte women on Dancing with the Stars.

I guess I'm not used to experiencing that many female body images in one day, at least not on the same day that I see my own body image in a dressing room. I cried in my husband's arms before falling asleep that night. I felt like a teenager. I feared for the years that lie ahead when my daughter will go through this on perhaps a daily basis.

I also wondered why in the midst of the school shootings there hasn't been an incident of female violence by a marginalized, overweight girl on a group of popular, pretty, skinny girls. I even had a terrible fleeting fantasy about shattering the Victoria's Secret storefront window, with all of its ten foot Barbie-women images, with an automatic weapon of some sort. Do blogs get monitored for violent content? If so, please know this is not a threat of any kind. This is simply the rant of a regular thirty-something mom. I've never owned a gun nor ever plan to (notice I couldn't even name an automatic weapon) and I faithfully attend a Quaker church.

I spoke with a friend today who also struggles with food as her idol of choice and is also trying desperately to lose the weight gained during pregnancy. What strikes me is how self-hatred can creep into the lives of women like us who don't have fashion magazines in our homes, who never watch music videos, who hardly watch TV, and who believe that God truly does love us.

On a positive note, my friend and I see the spirituality of our struggles with food and hence our bodies, and are finding success in giving up on will power and giving ourselves over to worshipping the One who has the power to break our love affair with food. I'm finding a Beth Moore book called Praying God's Word helpful.

"You see, if a man could truly subdue all his fleshly appetites by the pure power of his own determination, he would simply worship his own will. If the Word of God is about anything at all, it is about God's will rather than ours. Our liberty is paradoxically discovered through the will of God rather than our own. God will never allow us continued success through our pure fleshly determination to "touch not, taste not, handle not." (Col. 2:20-23) He knows we would end up worshiping our own wills and methods. Through the might of His Holy Spirit released through the authority of His Word, we are empowered to say no to the things we should - to our excesses, withholdings, compulsions, and harmful consumptions - and say yes to freedom, moderation, and better health. When we bow to God's authority, we invite Him to take control, and He is the One who does it, as 1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells us."

We all have something that competes with God for our attention and worship. Drugs and alcohol are the obvious ones, but pretty much anything (or anyone) can become an idol. If you think you don't have one, perhaps pride or self-righteousness is yours. :-) (The word denial is also coming to mind.) May you and I increasingly experience the freedom God so desires us to have as we fix our eyes on the Lover of Our Souls.

1 comment:

Steve Fawver said...

I appreciate your willingness to process this. I find myself thinking the same things about my daughter... wanting her to be in a place of freedom from the images that she sees and wondering how I can help her see herself through God's eyes. I wish more women would verbalize the feelings they feel when they see the way our society has objectified the body. May we continue to help our own kids and others to be moving towards health and freedom! Thanks...