The Hidden Problem With The “Love Your Body” Message

The Hidden Problem With The “Love Your Body” Message.png

 

I remember when all the culture said was “You aren’t good enough.”

 

I remember when the only valued people were the drop-dead gorgeous ones. The actors; the models.

 

We were all told as a society that beauty meant skinny, value meant tall, worth something meant attractive.

 

And then a few years ago, the tables flipped.

Continue reading “The Hidden Problem With The “Love Your Body” Message”

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Dear Reader: You Are Beautiful

 

Dear Reader_ You Are Beautiful

Dear Reader, you are beautiful.

 

When you wake up in the morning and slip out of your bed, you are beautiful.

 

When you stand in front of your mirror, with hair disheveled and shadows under your eyes, you are beautiful.

 

You are beautiful in your pajamas, the ones you hope no one will ever have to see, with skin blemished, covered in acne or freckles or wrinkles.

 

Your hair is frizzy, skin is bumpy, and your body’s discolored – but you are beautiful.

 

That person in the mirror – the one you criticize for your imperfections, will into being thinner, pinch into being prettier, make up to cover imperfections – that person is the one that God loves.

 

God loves the person in the mirror without nice clothes, without a status or title, without a nice scent, without makeup or product or styling.

 

God loves that person because He is their Creator. And that person is you.

 

Don’t believe the lie that being beautiful doesn’t apply to you. Don’t believe the lie that says you are not enough. Don’t believe that you couldn’t possibly be loved, that you could never receive the free love that God gives.

 

Dear Reader, I beg of you, please do not fall prey to the misconception that you are the exception. God sees you as beautiful because He sees His Son’s perfection inside of you, radiating from every part of you.

 

He sees you as beautiful because He looks at your heart; that same heart that He has made as pure as snow and called holy and blameless.

 

1 Samuel 16:7b

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

He sees you as beautiful because you were made in His image.

 

Genesis 1:27

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

 

God has made you with care and wonder.

 

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

 

And you are beautiful because God promises it.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11a

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

 

As you stare at yourself in the mirror, curling and straightening and setting your hair, applying powder to your face to hide your scars and blotches and bumps, and dressing in the perfect outfit, remember that you are loved regardless of it all.

 

Remember that God sees you as beautiful, and loves you in spite of all your imperfections.

 

You were created in love, given a beautiful life to live, and a blank slate that God is using to write His story.

 

Forget the pressures of who everyone wants you to be, and come to your Father – blemished, messy, and exactly how He wants to see you: as you.

 

Friend, never forget that you are beautiful, and that you are loved. You can do nothing to change this truth, for everything you are is loved by the One who invented you.

 

He imagined your personality before you existed, and He called it good. He knew your thoughts before your parents knew you, and He loved you.

 

Never doubt how God feels about you, Dear Reader. He loves you, and He calls you beautiful.

 

*aj

Book Review: The Insatiable Quest for Beauty

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve done Book Thursdays. The lovely Tiffany Dawn emailed me at Christmastime and asked me to review this book. It looked good, so I agreed, and I found it to be a great book. Read on for the full review.

iqb-book

Title: The Insatiable Quest for Beauty

Author: Tiffany Dawn

My Rating: 4/5 Stars.

My Review:

The Insatiable Quest for Beauty was a worthwhile read for me. It addresses questions and problems we all face from time to time, regarding not feeling beautiful or valued and trying to find the answers to those questions in all different places, including in relationships, disordered eating, obsession with appearances, and more.

 

Cutting to the heart of the matter, Tiffany does not discredit wanting to look good at all. Looking good is a good thing, but only if it doesn’t become an obsession or addiction. If we go to destructive habits like dating toxic people for attention or trying to lose excessive weight when it’s totally unnecessary, it damages us.

 

Additionally, looking in the mirror and telling yourself “I’m beautiful” every day isn’t changing the problem. The issue is being so self-absorbed that you cannot think of anything else but yourself, whether positive or negative.

 

Tiffany makes the point that we must keep our eyes on God. We must look to Him to remind us that we are unconditionally loved, and not just physically attractive. We must take the focus off us ourselves and realize the One who truly matters – our Lord.

 

The Insatiable Quest for Beauty is about more than finding confidence within ourselves, but about being confident in how God sees us. He sees us as blameless and pure because of what Jesus did, and not because of what we do.

 

I don’t particularly struggle with my appearance, but it was a good read and I am glad that I read it.

 

The format and writing were not my favorite, but they did not take away from the content and impact of the book. If I were writing it, I would have done it differently. The “coffee date” style and the chapter organization, along with the broken-up format made it unique enough to stand out, and perhaps other people will like that aspect of it more than I did.

 

Lastly, I didn’t agree with completely everything that was said (more on a theological aspect than anything else), but the message of the book was definitely valuable enough for me to read the whole book and enjoy it.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way. Thank you, Tiffany!

 

Find my review on Goodreads and also on Amazon.

 

*aj

Dear Christian Teens: On Relationships

Dear Christian Teens 1

Happy Tuesday, awesome blog readers.

Today’s post is a bit different than normal (and I do know that I say that a lot). However, some things have been on my heart recently about teens and relationships.

This is a shorter post today, because today is my first day back to school and last night I was trying to get to bed early. A near-impossible feat on a blognight, I know (and I just made that term up now).

But nevertheless, the points still stand. And I’d like to share them with you.

I am planning on planning on doing more “Dear Christian Teens” articles in the future. (Yes, I am very indecisive and unpredictable, so I can’t promise anything, but I will plan on planning on it.) 😛

I mean, this is a teen blog, after all.

So, here goes. Dear Christian Teens #1. In which Amanda talks about romantic relationships. And dating. And other things she has never quite experienced, but probably will someday.

**

This is written like three separate letters. (Have you noticed my obsession with letters yet?) It’s rather choppy, I know, and I’m sorry. But I wanted to alternate. Because alternating is fun.

So…to be blunt…

Dear Christian Teens,

Dating is not a sport. It’s not “marital practice”. We should focus on the final goal when we are considering a romantic relationship – marriage – for our hearts are much too precious to be thrown around like bowling balls.

Dear Christian Guys,

Value the modest girls. The ones who care about God’s opinion over yours. Beauty fades. Dignity stays.

Dear Christian Girls,

Value the gentlemen, not the bad boys. Humility and selflessness are to be treasured, not thrown away.

Dear Christian Teens,

Choose to love someone who loves God over you. If your eyes are fixed on others and not God, you won’t find The One God has for you. You will find them by focusing on Him.

Dear Christian Guys,

True beauty comes from the inside out. Not the other way around.

Dear Christian Girls,

Don’t compromise your purity to be loved. Rather, prove that you’re worth it by staying pure.

Dear Christian Teens,

Love your family. Treat them with respect and kindness. How else do you expect to be ready for having a family of your own?

Dear Christian Guys,

Your walk with God is invaluably important; you are to be a spiritual leader. You don’t have to be a pastor, but God calls you to be the head of your family and to lead them in truth. Never compromise that.

Dear Christian Girls,

You are God’s beautiful creation, and not an object. Don’t make people think you are by dressing and acting without decency and dignity. Never forget that who you are is defined by what Christ has done for you, and you do not have to prove anything.

Dear Christian Teens,

God must be the center of your life. If He is not, especially in terms of relationships, your life will not be solidly built. Form your life around your relationship with God, and let Him lead you.

And Christian Teens once more,

Marriage will not always be glamorous like in the movies. It won’t be all butterflies and rainbows. But love, and the most beautiful kind at that, is a love that is committed. Not just when it’s easy, but always.

**

I’m sorry if my thoughts are incoherent.

But I guess what I’m trying to (indirectly) say through these mini-letters is this.

God should ultimately be the one guiding our relationships, not us alone.

We all are precious and valuable, and none of us should ever see others as objects (despite what the culture says).

“Old-fashioned” virtues like modestly, decency, humility, and selflessness are BEAUTIFUL. To be treasured, and valued and appreciated.

When commitment to God and to each other is the center of a romantic relationship, it will be much stronger. Seriously. God isn’t to be put on the back burner, people.

And lastly? Dating and relationships are to be taken seriously. As are our relationships with our families. Because really, the ultimate goal is to raise up families to love God and know Jesus.

We can’t listen to the culture when it comes to such important matters. Marriage is beautiful, people. Not to be corrupted.

We were made for each other, God designed it that way.

So Dear Christian Teens,

Let’s be serious. Let’s focus on God first before others, and treat everyone like Jesus would.

Anybody with me?

*aj

Four Life Lessons from SoulFest 2015

SoulFest 2015

Good morning, my friends.

Just as a heads up, this post is going to be shorter than usual, for it is already 1:30am on Friday night as I’m starting to write this and I’m exhausted and about to pass out. That delicious chocolate hazelnut coffee I had at 9pm has stopped working, so I’m on the verge of collapsing.

I’ve been at SoulFest in New Hampshire since Thursday, and Friday night I was at an amazing show until midnight. Hehehehe.

So as a tribute to this amazing annual Christian music festival…I’ve gathered up a few life lessons to take home with me and share with you.

  1. The Gospel is NOT something to be ashamed of.

Over and over again, artists and speakers alike are sharing their faith in front of thousands of people. You know why? Because the Gospel changes lives from the inside out. It’s not a cult…it’s a relationship with the Creator of the universe; a relationship that we were made to crave. It’s so amazing, and so inspiring when someone shares their story, because it is so true that we will never be satisfied in life until we know the love of God.

  1. God sees us as beautiful, and there are no mistakes.

We all have a story being written. There are no mistakes written by the pen of God, only beautiful purpose. And beauty comes from broken things, like us. We’re all sinners, saved by the amazing grace of God. We are seen as flawless in the eyes of our Creator, for our being saved has absolutely nothing to do with what we’ve done. His perfection is given to us, for He is the picture of love.

  1. God isn’t finished.

Just because life is dark, it doesn’t mean the night will last forever. The sun hasn’t died. His love for us is as sure as the sun, as is His purpose.

He never will leave or forsake us, and He can see it all. Like a song I heard live today says, “To You, my future is a memory.” (Already There by Casting Crowns)

He isn’t finished. Just keep trusting!

  1. God can use anyone.

Our life purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be singing on a stage in front of thousands of people, or it might be. Our ultimate life purpose is to bring glory to God and others to know Him, so whether that’s singing every day for a living, being a light in your school, raising kids as a stay-at-home-mom, or whatever it may be, God will use all of us. Are we willing?

When I come to full consciousness, I will have more to say. But for now, I do not, and I’m just going to ponder these four truths in my mind for a while (*cough cough* as I sleep).

Enjoy your lovely Saturday. I’m praying for all of you!

*aj

Majesty Meets Mercy (Part 1)

Snowy Mountain Landscape

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Think about the word “majesty.” And “splendor.” I love these words. Do you want to know what I think of when I think of these? Well, let’s take a trip inside my mind.

I take a deep breath.

Majesty. Splendor. Vastness and greatness, beauty and extravagance. Nature in full glory. The snow-capped purple mountains in their hugeness. I spin around to take in the breathtaking scenery around me.

Beside this image, I see the ocean. The cool and crisp water rolls in, and teases my toes at the shore. The expansion of the sea reminds me of my finite mind and invites me to awaken my thoughts to the tossing and turning of the waves, miles and miles offshore.

Let’s come out of Amanda’s mind now and dig into the Bible. The Book of Psalms, chapter 104. PLEASE read it! You can read it here. (Or, open your Bible to Psalm 104.)

Did you read it yet?

Okay.

(I didn’t want to put it directly in this post, because it would take up half of the post, and that’s kinda long.)

Although I would really love to elaborate on every verse, well, that could easily be five posts. (Two and a half weeks!) So I’ve picked out a few of my favorite verses.

Verses 1-4:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!

    O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

    covering yourself with light as with a garment,

    stretching out the heavens like a tent.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;

he makes the clouds his chariot;

    he rides on the wings of the wind;

he makes his messengers winds,

    his ministers a flaming fire.”

GOD IS VERY GREAT! Clothed with splendor and majesty, and covered with light. (Isn’t that mental image awesome? Stretching out the heavens – makes the clouds His chariot – rides on the wings of the wind – oh goodness. The best part about this is that it’s not just great writing. It’s great explaining of infinite concepts, and inspired by God Himself.)

Verses 5-9 (my favorites!):

“He set the earth on its foundations,

    so that it should never be moved.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

    the waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke they fled;

    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

    to the place that you appointed for them.

You set a boundary that they may not pass,

    so that they might not again cover the earth.”

 

Let me just say that that imagery is amazing. And absolutely 100% TRUE. God is in control of everything, ever. He spoke the universe into being. He created everything so beautifully and everything WORKS! He created perfection itself!

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that God (in all of His wisdom) appointed for them. No rolling hill is an accident, no fingerprint is a mess-up, no piece of the ocean is in the wrong place, no island is a mile too close or too far away from where God wanted it to be, no face is formed wrong.

God. Designed. It. All. He designed it all, and has an eternal plan.

And yet, He cares. He’s not the giant mural artist who ignores the little specks of paint. No. No splotch of color is too small for Him to see. We are the specks, and He cares for all of us. ALL OF US!

This God – El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai – in all of His majesty – is Abba. Father. He cares about us, because He is our Designer, Creator, Sustainer, and Provider. He is our Father, and loves us more than we will ever comprehend! He has mercy on us – His children – though His majesty is overwhelming. He is a BIG God, and yet he is a loving Father.

On Tuesday, I’ll get more into this, so stay tuned for Majesty Meets Mercy (Part 2)!

*aj