When did the messages of culture become more powerful than the messages of God?
I would really like to figure this out, because somewhere along the line, I forgot that I was made in the image of the living God.
God created us to be whole persons. Culture teaches us (especially women) to be fragmented selves.
Kim Gaines Eckert, in her book Stronger Than you Think, writes, "Women's bodies [are] selling everything [in culture]... Women's bodies are not women's whole selves. When women are valued for their beauty and sexual appeal to the neglect of their many other capacities and gifts, it fragments them" (19, emphasis mine). If we do not guard ourselves against the education offered by culture, we will live under the self-condemning cloud of "never-good-enough."
But in the guarding, where do we turn? How do we live in celebration of the fact that we are image-bearers of our very Creator?
"Instead of focusing on what you look like (or don't look like), begin to focus on what you can do" (125).
God created you with specific abilities to do different things -- from riding a bike to crafting sentences to running and walking to creatively expressing yourself through vintage clothing or Etsy to climbing trees to cooking to eating to digesting -- seriously, people, we are absolutely intricate, fascinating, created beings! Affirm what you can do, affirm what others can do, and when awe hits you, revel in that awe.
We are His miracles.
"When you begin reciting body-hating messages, remind yourself that you were created as an embodied person in God's image" (126).
I recently discovered my struggle with brutal, negative self-talk. Now that I am aware of the messages I am constantly streaming into my head, when one pops up, I immediately repeat, "Imago Dei," to myself until I can rest in the knowledge that God has created me to be an image-bearer. Sometimes my negative self-talk turns into private bouts of worship. I was made in the image of God. Wow.
"We will grow in our search for wholeness when we stop breaking our bodies into pieces that we like and don't like... You have a whole body. Start trying to think of and appreciate your body that way" (129-130).
As stewards of God's creation, I believe we have a mandate to work towards self wholeness. When we disparage ourselves in any way, we are telling God, "Your work wasn't good enough. Your creation wasn't complete. I'm going to take control from here." When we fall into this line of thinking, we are forgetting that God saw what he created and it was very good.
(Thanks to Kim Gaines Eckert for an excellent book.)
Re-posted in Ruby-Eyed Okapi,
"Promoting Modesty and Purity to an Overly-Sexed Generation."