Dear Ladies, You are Astoundingly Beautiful Part 1
Dear Ladies, You are Astoundingly Beautiful,
Every year millions of people watch the biggest football game of the season, the Superbowl, and for the last few years Life.Church gives a message titled 30 Second Theology on Superbowl weekend which is described as:
"The best TV commercials soak up our time, attention, and sometimes, our money. They can make us think, laugh, gasp, or even cry. But is there anything to learn from those half-minute ads? We think so!"
This year, one commercial, in particular, stood out and spoke to me, Dove Choose Beautiful | Women all over the world make a choice. I instantly knew that I would be in the same position as many of the women in the commercial, I would instinctively go towards the average door, but I would want to go through the beautiful door. Why is this? I requested additional resources through the Life.Church website and I want to go through these resources in a series of blog posts. But the purpose of this post is to consider the question of why the plight of so many women is believing in their beauty?
I am going to turn to several books to search for insight into this question. First, here are a few statistics
"One international study shows 90 percent of all women want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. Eighty-one percent of ten-year-old girls are afraid of being fat. And only 2 percent of us [women] actually think we are beautiful" (Kay and Shipman 2014).
Just let that information sink in. How does that make you feel?
There is a poem by Rupi Kaur in the collection of poetry and prose titled Milk and Honey that apologizes to
"all the women
i have called pretty
before i've called them intelligent or brave" (2015).
The poem goes on to say that
"from now on i will say things like
you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because i don't think you're pretty
but because you are so much more than that" (2015).
It is such a touching and inspiring poem, and I believe that it speaks truthfully. There is, in many cases, too much importance placed on the physical appearance, the physical beauty of a woman. Genuine and full beauty comes though, not from appearance but a spirit of reverence for the LORD, appreciation, kindness, thankfulness, peace, strength, courage, passion, enthusiasm, and a caring heart.
Now, I will not diminish that physical beauty is still of significance to a woman's heart because I believe it is. I couldn't tell you one woman or young girl who does not want to feel beautiful. Allison Trowbridge, author of Twenty-Two: Letters to a Young Woman Searching for Meaning explains that
"We must learn how to honor and elevate the deeper beauties—of wisdom and character and service. The beauty of wrinkles and imperfections and authenticity. Physical beauty can and should be appreciated, but it is just the icing on the outside of our lives. Icing is enticing, but nobody wants to eat a whole cake of it" (2017).
I like that analogy, the "icing on the outside of our lives." You notice in the quote that the "cake" the essential substance of beauty is that of spirit, but still, there is the beauty of appearance, the icing, which is not the essential substance of the "cake" but still an obvious part.
To explain the duality of beauty, John and Stasi Eldredge authors of Captivating profess that
"God gave Eve a beautiful form and a beautiful spirit. She expresses beauty in both. Better, she expresses beauty simply in who she is. Like God, it is her essence" (2005, 2010).
Thus, it seems that beauty is an integral part of a woman's heart. And, I completely agree that
"Every woman has a beauty to unveil.
Because she bears the image of God." (2005, 2010).
Yet, why do only 2% of women believe they are beautiful? Obviously, I cannot speak for all women, but I can explain what has affected my perception of my physical beauty and this is what I want to discuss next.
". . . beauty is an integral part of a woman's heart" http://ow.ly/C6sW30aKbX7 #hope #truebeauty #faith @lenaebaker CLICK TO TWEET
3 Reasons Why Women Do Not See Their Physical Beauty
There is a reason that James states
But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. ~ James 3:8
Words are powerful and can do damage. I know many women, including myself, who have heard hurtful words about their appearance at one point in their lives which left a scar and effects their idea of self-beauty.
Once words are said, they cannot be taken back; therefore the Apostle Paul said
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~ Ephesians 4:29
This is so important. We must be careful in our words and seek to build our young girls up, to build ourselves up, and to build other women up.
The Culture and Media
The media is filled intentionally and unintentionally with biases which can lead to many unrealistic portraits of body image." Talia Fuhrman explains in her book Love Your Body that
"Magazines are infamous for going way overboard with Photoshopping and airbrushing the women in their glossy pages, making attractive women look impossibly perfect. And that's just my point: It's impossible to look this way, because it's not real!" (2014).
Additionally, in my post 7 Excellent Questions for Evaluating Information Online, I outline some very important "detective" steps you should take when looking at information online, but I also believe these same measures should be undertaken when scrutinizing the culture and all forms of media. How do the culture and media perceptions of beauty make you feel about your beauty?
Certainly, not all of culture or the media affects beauty in a negative or unattainable way. Many campaigns are backing and advocating a body positive message. I mention one in the post Why You Need To Care About Aerie Real. Look these campaigns up and support them or get involved.
For me, this has been the biggest hurdle in seeing my self-beauty. The enemy knows where I am weakest and tries to exploit it whenever possible.
In the book bringing up GIRLS by Dr. James Dobson, he reveals a letter from a woman discussing her journey to realizing her self-beauty. For years she suffered from feeling unworthy and ugly, she disclosed that "But the enemy of our souls is mean and a liar. I was too wounded to recognize him for who he was, and I believed every word" (2010).
Have you been there before? Believing every word the enemy tell you about your unworthiness and ugliness? He tries to kill, steal, and destroy everything good and beautiful in the world, and this includes you, the daughter of The Most High.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~ Ephesians 6:12
Oh, how I can't stress to you enough how true this is! John and Stasi Eldredge discuss this is full detail in the book Captivating, I completely recommend reading this book. Let me just mention one point; the enemy has a special hatred for your femininity, who did he target in the Garden of Eden? But, we have the power of Jesus, and He has already won. I want to close with this all hopeful fact.
Thank you are reading Part 1 of this Blog post series. The next post in this series will discuss the uniqueness of personalities; God was intentional in the characteristics He gave you. I will detail my results of the Myers-Briggs personality test. If you would like to join in, you can take the free test here.
In the meantime, consider what has influenced and affected your perceptions of your self-beauty. Part of the healing process is understanding the source of your feelings. Yes, this may be hard, but take heart and
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. ~ Colossians 1:11-12
Pray, read the Bible, seek community.
3 Reasons Why #Women Do Not See Their Physical #Beauty: Hurtful Words, The Culture and Media, The Enemy http://ow.ly/MwIM30aKciK @lenaebaker CLICK TO TWEET
Yours Truly, LeNae
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Check local library listing through WorldCat for Captivating
Check local library listing through WorldCat for bringing up GIRLS
Check local library listing through WorldCat for Love Your Body
Check local library listing through WorldCat for Milk and Honey
Check local library listing through WorldCat for The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance
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Image from RealHer Makeup (Affiliate link) ~ “RealHer is a natural, cruelty free makeup brand that inspires women with motivational quotes on each product as a reminder about how powerful you can be if you truly believe in yourself.”
"For every product sold, RealHer donates 20% of all profits to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a top-rated, nonprofit that advances equity for girls and women through leadership programs, advocacy, education, and research." Taken from the RealHer website May 2017.
Dobson, James. 2010. bringing up GIRLS. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Eldredge, John and Stasi. 2005, 2010. Captivating. Nashville, Tennesse: Thomas Nelson.
Fuhrman, Talia. 2014. Love Your Body. New York, NY: Rodale.
How feminists have failed Christian women | Colorado .., http://gazette.com/how-feminists-have-failed-christian-women/article/1600511 (accessed April 10, 2017).
Kaur, Rupi. 2015. Milk and Honey. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Kay, Katty and Claire Shipman. 2014. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know. New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers.
Life.Church | 30-Second Theology, https://www.life.church/watch/30-second-theology-2017/ (accessed April 08, 2017).