In the last post, I said we would be discussing externals. I know what you are thinking: skirts and make-up and jewelry. That covers the extent of "practical" teaching on Godly, feminine looks, correct? Obviously I came to a different conclusion or I would not have asked. Sadly, Fair Lady externals have been relegated to wearing skirts to your boot tops, keeping your cheeks as pallid as possible, and avoiding bling like the plague - or doing the complete opposite in a “Christian” way. Disclaimer: I can think of few things better than a long, swishy skirt and wear them often; I rarely use makeup and, when I do, keep it natural; and this Fair Lady never liked glitter. Also, it is okay to wear jeans, make-up can be a good thing, and who does not like a pearl necklace? That said, I have met far too many young women who limit themselves to this box of rules: long skirt, no color, no gold. But this neither exhausts the ways a Fair Lady's body can serve her Lord nor does it say anything about the state of her heart. Why limit ourselves to fashion? More importantly, from what spirit does our fashion flow?
What I want to make unmistakably clear is that one's principles result in one's practice. You cannot have a fair outside without having a fair inside - and not every fair heart will show the same fair body. There may be different ways to evince ideals we hold dear. Far from promoting a "shades of gray" mentality, this smacks of the Biblical concept of “changed heart equals changed demeanor.” Let us go to Scripture and assure ourselves we are not merely putting on an act but putting on a new spirit. We must seek the Word's reasoning behind all of our actions.
Now. If I shan't be touching on clothes, what is this about? Those who know me well can probably guess. It is my waistline.... Yes, that's right.
Are we shrinking or something? It would not be surprising considering all the weight-loss commercials on television and radio, let alone the aisles of low fat everything in the grocery stores. Need I mention low-moisture, part skim mozzarella?
This might not be the question in vogue but I think it is one worth asking the girls of today, especially those well-beloved daughters of the Reformed church. You know the ones. They have been called the "daughters of Zion," "her father's arrows," and the "Church's secret weapon." Satan spotted a potentially dangerous group of young warrior women and struck a chord near and dear to their hearts: their bodies. He really is a clever one, the Devil. He has used many tactics throughout history to attack this Secret Weapon. Discontentment, physical brutality, the “ornamental” syndrome...the list goes on. But have you ever thought of the complexity of his latest approach? He is attacking our bodies. A day in the life will illustrate my point.
A girl’s radio alarm wakes her up with the empowering ad for a dinner-replacing smoothie. Perfect to lose those three inches you never wanted. After a quick perusal of her emails - replete with helpful tips to distract yourself from the afternoon snack craving - and a bowl of healthy high fiber, low calorie flakes with nonfat milk, she heads out to run a few errands. At the doctor’s office, she runs through the latest Cooking Light publication and studies the BMI chart hung on the wall. A drive to the grocery store lands her amongst myriad dieting concoctions topped off with the check-out line modeling magazines. Sure, as a Christian she would never thumb through their pages, but the front cover says enough about what the “latest hot body” ought to look like. Exhausted, she goes home, flips on the tube, and is inundated with images and words and products screaming THIN!
This is a hypothetical *cough* situation, but you get the idea. Satan has her in his grip if she gives in to this stuff. First, there is the basic ME issue. I do not know if you noticed, but that day was pretty self-centered. Caring so much about what you look like takes time! All of it. You no longer see your body as the temple of God, but the temple of You. Then there is the relational aspect of the problem. Look at Susie. She is so pretty and trim! How does she do it? I am sure I work out way more than she does. A bit of jealousy, perhaps? I am going to dwell on a third problem, however, namely, the problem of purpose.
The problem of purpose concerns for whom we live and serve, what drives us in our innermost being. A true Daughter of Zion wants nothing more than to serve her Lord. This is her driving force. She seeks out His desire for her life in His word. What is the purpose of women? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever via a role which, let’s embrace it, is focused on the home. Marriage. Children. Family. Now let us wander through Satan’s preference for a women’s life. To steal the glory from God, diverting us from His plan by making a bony, wispy body appealing in our eyes. Hours at the gym. Fake diet food. Size 00 skinny jeans. Me. Whoa, look at that! Satan’s hopes and God’s plans are at war with each other! We cannot serve both. Did you know fat is good for women? Satan’s current best-kept secret. But the science can be saved for another post; for now, let us return to God’s purpose for women as He outlines it:
“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed....For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ...” (Titus 2: 3-5, 11- 13).
Not seeing the connection, I know. It will all clear up in a moment. First, see how it is assumed there are children involved in a woman’s life? Well, that requires fat. Second, we find a call to holiness, a set-apartness from the world to become like Christ. Now, you could be set apart from the world by behaving maniacally in public. That is not what I am talking about; rather, a deep seated desire to behave as Christ would flowing from the work of the Holy Spirit. This behaviour, more times than not, is contrary to the world’s latest fad. Right now, the world’s latest fad is skin and bones. Third and last, Paul encourages us to look toward and live in light of “that blessed hope” of the appearance of the glory of Christ, the end - and beginning - of Christ’s sacred romance with His bride (in drier terms, covenantal story). Does being supermodel thin fit with this paradigm. I should say not, considering all the energy invested on ME rather than on Kingdom work, the worries about MY appearance rather than what Christ’s Bride is doing, the time required to live up to MY rules for SELF-esteem rather than time spent on His desires for the Church’s glorifying of Him.
I hope you are seeing the connection. This is something I have been thinking about lately because of personal experience and people-watching (come on, we all do it, right?). I am not out to bash skinny people. After all, some people are just made slender (and I think that is great!). I am not condoning obesity as it is the opposite side of the same coin. What I am bashing is a mentality focused on self, displayed through obsession about weight. I see a pattern of being obsessed with Thin in our times. Like a lot of good things, these thoughts are counter-cultural and uncomfortable, but somebody needs to say something and why not from an insider on a blog nobody reads?
There is more to say on this subject, but I do not know yet how to proceed. So who knows what next post will be like? Please leave thoughts about this post. Too awkward? Not relevant? Good? Too long!!!