A Conversation On Self-Image

A good friend of mine and I often go back and forth with each other in discussing image issues and how we are to cultivate a Biblical view of ourselves in light of the caving pressures of this world and God’s Word.  She’s been a source of great encouragement as she and I walk along this road together. Every so often we will get together and pray and it’s a privilege to watch God work in our lives as He heeds our prayers.

Here’s a recent email exchange we’ve had together.  I’m grateful for friendships that are intentional – so intentional that we can email our hearts away to oneanother even when there is little time for real, adult conversation. So thank you dear friend (you know who you are) for being a real and authentic companion to me and for spurring me on toward love and good deeds.

I hope you can glean a bit from the vulnerability of our conversation.

HER:

The Lord encouraged me yesterday in the image arena….I had been thinking about the verses in 1 Peter (do not adorn yourself outwardly…but with a gentle and quiet spirit which is in submission) and wondering how that “worked” and I happened to read a chapter in Captivating that was talking to those verses directly.  The thing that stuck out to me the most was that a gentle and quiet spirit is one who is at rest in trusting the Lord and offers beauty as it invites others into that rest.  That is so different than my constant striving to be/get something more.  Plus, they were saying how we as women are born beautiful in our core because that is the side of the Lord we were made to reflect.  I’ve read that before but never really believed it.  For the first time it actually started to sink in…that beauty is already mine, it just needs to be unveiled.  Again, so different than the striving to get it.  It’s a hard one though, because believing in and offering that kind of beauty is so vulnerable and “unnatural” to what I have always believed.  Plus, it completely shatters my means of feeling better about myself (or worse) by comparing with others.  It’s a whole new way to look at women in general….as already beautiful…and to see that beauty reflected in ways I’m not used to looking for.

Anyway….those have been my thoughts lately.  They take some cultivating though, I can tell, I revert back to the old way of thinking as naturally as I breathe.

ME:

I love that you are so real and authentic and I think THAT in and of itself is beautiful.  I wonder if something that may encourage you is to hang out with “old” women more.  Sounds funny but seriously, there is alot to learn from the aging and elderly.   I’ve met some really godly older women that just radiate beauty.  It’s mesmerizing to watch them as their skin wrinkles and their bodies sag –  there is something about them that I want. I love that they don’t “care” anymore so much about the outward image but their inward spirits are shining and attractive. They have a better grasp on life and eternity because they are closer to the end of this life.  Shame on us for trying to live like we are un-touched by the body’s aging process.  I think if we understood how fleeting our lives really were – this would be so trivial.  This sounds odd, but I have  friends that are about 10 years ahead of me and they’ve “put on a few pounds” (not fat by any means just not in their old “high school” bodies) and it’s like they’ve been released from the “I’m trying to stay young and fit and hot” mentality. They care more about others than themselves and they aren’t so into themselves and are more godly because of it.  Then I have the friends who are aging and trying so desparately not to gain a pound or a wrinkle. They wear the mask of “I’m a health freak and I’m never gonna get fat.”  I actually believe they have fat fears (and probably none of them will ever end up that way) and they seem in bondage to the idol of image although I would consider them very godly.  Alot of their time is spent studying the latest organic food and healthy eating habit and they cling to that like its’ their life insurance for keeping up a good body image.  We all know tht desiring health is not bad, but it can become consuming and therefore becomes an idol.

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