By Dylan Davidson
Hey everyone! Sorry it’s taken so long to get the next blog posting up. I’ve been spending a lot of time planning out the next few blogs and what the topics will be; I feel like I’ve gotten some insight as to what God wants me to speak about. Today we’ll talk about self-worth, what true beauty looks like and the difference between what society is saying and what God is saying. So without further ado, let’s jump in and get started.
The first thing I want you to do is go to Google, type in “beauty” and see what you find. Most websites like Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary and Yahoo Answers define beauty as being more than just what appears on the outside, which is very true. Now don’t get me wrong, outward appearance is very much a form of beauty. It is not the true form of beauty—the true form lies beneath the skin. Today’s society is telling young people, both girls and guys alike, that in order to be considered beautiful, you need to look a certain way, dress a certain way, wear certain make up and wear a certain hair style.
Here is one example: People Magazine has a yearly issue titled “Sexiest Man Alive”. When you look at the cover, you see a person with good looks, a nice haircut and perfect teeth. But how does People Magazine chose the person that is going to appear on the cover of the sexiest man alive issue? It’s all based on the outward appearance and it has nothing to do with what lies beneath the skin. Beauty in today’s world has become so shallow and one of the biggest lies being told to young people, women especially. Society picks people who have outward beauty and presents them to the world in a way that says “you have to look like this in order to be beautiful.”
I’m here to tell you that no matter what your outward appearance, God has made you in His image and you are His masterpiece. Song of Solomon 4:7 says “You are altogether beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you.” We are God’s masterpiece and He has made each of us uniquely beautiful in our own way. In 1 Samuel 16, God is talking to Samuel about how He has rejected Saul as king over Israel and that there will be a new king chosen by God: David. God sends Samuel to the house of Jesse to find the anointed one. When Samuel arrives, Jesse’s first son, Eliab, comes to greet him; Samuel takes one look at him and says “this has to be the guy God has chosen.” But God then tells Samuel, in verse 7, that “looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges people differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; but God looks into the heart.” God sees the true beauty inside us, while we look at the outward appearance. In today’s society, it’s hard to find anything that goes against what we’re being told, and firmly stands for God.
A public figure that I look up to, when it comes to this subject, is a guy named Matty Mullins, who also happens to be the vocalist for my favorite band: Memphis May Fire. Matty was born and raised in my home town of Spokane and is now the front man for one of the biggest metal bands today. Even though he is one of the most famous men in the “metal scene”, he still understands how important a personal relationship with Jesus is. Matty has devoted his life to sharing the Gospel through music. When you have time, I would like you to check out some of their songs, specifically the songs “Beneath The Skin” and “Divinity.” I would suggest reading the lyrics first, because the music is slightly aggressive. I use the band as an example to show that there are influential people standing up for God and telling young people like you and I that we are beautiful and perfect just the way we are. We don’t have to look a certain way in order to be considered beautiful. You and I are perfect, because God made us in His image and He does not make anything that is ugly.
That’s all I have for now; until we meet again, may the force be with you!
By Brenda Yoder
When I was given a girl to raise, something inside me froze. At twenty-three, I was still a girl myself, struggling with my own issues – an eating disorder, insecurities, identity issues, the list went on. If I struggled with my own body issues, how was I going to raise a girl with a healthy self-image?
God’s word says in our weakness, He is strong (1 Corinthians 12:9). Somewhere in my weaknesses and insecurities, God’s strength showed up. Though my struggle with food and weight was a constant battle, I didn’t want my struggle to be my daughter’s. I never wanted her to know the hell I lived in beginning at fourteen when I became anorexic, then bulimic. I wanted her to have a life free of bondage, free of the obsession with weight and food. I wanted her to be healthy, something I’ve diligently pursued as a lifetime principle.
The Holy Spirit showed up when I lacked the skills of raising a girl with a healthy approach to food. My upbringing was ruled by the food and weight issues of my immediate and extended family. I had a love-hate relationship with my body and food, and I didn’t want to pass that onto her. As I watched my daughter graduate from college this month, I marveled at what God has done in giving her a healthy self and body image.
I’m sharing my thoughts on breaking the cycle of disordered eating in this first post of a two-part series. Here are the first principles God taught me in raising a healthy daughter.
- Using the word “healthy” and eliminating the word “fat.” Sometime during her preschool years, I began using the words “unhealthy” or “healthy” rather than “fat” or other words when referring to body image, weight or food. God gave me these words throughout the years to guide food choices and help her understand the importance of balanced eating and body image. When she was in middle school. I remember her using the word “fat.” Fortunately, we had a healthy discussion about body image. I don’t remember the word “fat” being used by her again.
- Complimenting her character rather than physical characteristics. I made a conscious effort to compliment my daughter more on her character, behavior, and manners than her physical appearance. I tried to avoid saying “That makes you look skinny” or similar comments because comments like these make many of us self-conscious (Do I look fat in other outfits?). A comment about my physical appearance as a sixth grader sent me into a tailspin of losing weight as a seventh grader, which turned me into an 88-pound skeleton by eighth grade.
- Being conscious of comments about my physical appearance in front of her. While I still have “I look fat” moments when I look in the mirror, when she was young, I worked hard at not letting her hear about my insecurities or pity-parties. I didn’t want her to know how I struggled with body or self-image. Something must have worked, because it wasn’t until she was in her late teens that she was aware of my history with an eating disorder. God is gracious all the time.
Join me next month for Part two of this article. Until then, how do you raise your daughter with a healthy body image? What things have you found helpful?
Broken and Beautiful: Brenda has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a BA in Education. As a Parent, Counselor and Educator her ministry is helping moms and daughters navigate the tough stuff of life. Have a question for Brenda? Email her at AskBrenda@thewhatvergirls.com
“The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves.” Ronald Reagan, Arlington National Cemetery, May 31, 1982
By Kim Chaffin
“The Dating Tightrope” Part 1: Taking the first step
“The Dating Tightrope” Part 2: Finding the balance
In my last post I talked about the guidelines my husband and I had laid out for our kids. Today I want to look at the importance of prayer and how each of our kids required a different approach when having conversations about dating.
Prayer: For years we prayed for our children and the spouses they would have one day. It was in prayer that we found the wisdom we needed to set the guidelines, and the words for some very intense conversations with our kids. Prayer gave us peace to step back and give our children space to grow. Time in prayer for our children is one of the greatest gifts we could give them. I cannot stress how important it is to pray for them to make healthy choices when you are not there to guide them. In prayer, I cried out for God to show my kids the next step in their walk, even when I know they really don’t want to listen to the words of their parents. I hope you are picking up what I am putting down here…. PRAY and PRAY ALWAYS, FOR YOUR KIDS.
Our different approach: No matter how hard we tried to keep things balanced, when speaking to our kids about dating there was a different approach with each of them. We have to talk to our son differently than we talk to our daughter.
With our son, we had to make it clear what our expectations were: how to treat his girlfriend, and how to have respect for her parents and the guidelines they set for their family. We also spoke to him about how he should treat a girl the same way he would demand a young man should treat his sister. As I stated in our guidelines (post 2,) the girl our son is dating is Jesus’ princess; he needs to treat her like that. We encouraged him to really think about the woman God has chosen to be his wife; out of respect for her, he should save the special gift of sex for her. Also, we told him to have respect for the girl he is dating: do not put her in the place of having to tell her husband that she gave the gift, that was meant for him, to someone else. Now, my husband and I know it takes two to tango but we have tried to raise a son that will be a Godly leader. We are proud of our son: he would not date his current girlfriend until he talked to her father first. He met this beautiful young woman during his Jr. year in college and her home town was 6 hours away; he could not just drive over on a whim and ask. It was the end of Christmas break and he wanted to ask before she came back for school, because they really liked each other and he did not want to disrespect her by starting a relationship without her father’s blessing. Because of his college lacrosse practices he could not go in person, so he set a Skype-time with her dad. The next weekend, when he had a break in his practices, he drove the 6 hours to her house to officially meet her parents and ask–again–to date her. He was a broke college student and really could not afford the gas but he knew it was what was expected of him and he knew she deserved that kind of respect.
For years my husband has joked about it being easier with a son, because with a son you are only worried about one p@n!$. With a daughter, however, you are worried about all p@n!$es. Yes, that is crude but true.
With our daughter, we taught her to have high expectations of the way she deserves to be treated. We told her to set the bar high when choosing the young man that wants to date her, to remember she is Jesus’ princess and, as a princess of the king of kings, she should never feel she is unworthy of being treated with respect. Thankfully, our daughter has a clear picture of how a woman is to be treated because her father treats me with a great amount of love and respect. Our daughter has made it very clear that to even take her to a dance, a young man must go through her father first.
Our kids are now 21 and 18 and we now have the worries of our son having an apartment, along with being in a serious relationship; our daughter is now officially promised, or you could say courting. We are faced with a whole new set of challenges and at times it is hard to say, “these are the rules in our home,” when we know that my son has an apartment of his own and if my daughter is in town, she could go to the apartment of her boyfriend. We would still rather have our kids here in our home where we could chaperon them but we cannot control that anymore. Now more than ever, we rely on PRAYER.
We have been very impressed with some of our kid’s actions; we know they came from the guidelines we set years ago and all the talks we had with them. In my next post I will look at how we have found ways to deal with the apartment issues and how were able to say yes, and give our blessing, when an amazing young man wanted to put a promise ring on our daughter’s finger.
Until next time, don’t forget to pray for your kids and keep the lines of communication open with them.
Put Down The Phone!
by Andrea Mitchell
Like any typical teenager in the pre-texting world I grew up in, I spent hours on the phone, giggling and whispering secrets to my best friend, usually about boys that we liked. It didn’t matter if I’d just spent the weekend at my friend’s house, I’d rush home so I could call her and continue the conversation. My parents were constantly telling me to get off the phone already!
So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when I got a little too attached to my iPhone late last year. It started off innocently enough. Walking by my command station in my kitchen, I’d sneak a peek at my phone, checking the lock screen for notifications. But soon, those quick peeks became minutes of tapping icons, checking just in case my notifications had been accidently turned off by the toddler. Minutes of me staring at a small screen, ignoring the sounds around me, snapping at my kids if they dared to interrupt my perusal of what was happening on Facebook and Twitter. And Pinterest. And Instagram. And Facebook again.
It didn’t hit me how this was affecting our family until the day I noticed that right beside me were my son and daughter, crowding the same small space, “checking” their own devices, just like I was.
But it really, really didn’t hit me until the day I caught myself not listening to my daughter as she told me something important to her. When I realized I had brushed her off in favour of my phone, I lowered it, apologized, and asked her to repeat herself. But she was understandably frustrated and let the conversation go.
That’s when I knew I had to make some changes. Immediately.
I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of gal, but I knew that forsaking all social media forever was not realistic. Rather, I made a few small changes that, while difficult in the beginning, have reaped a large harvest of good.
Assess which social media is beneficial and ditch the rest.
As a blogger, it’s tempting to be on every single social media outlet out there. And while it was helpful for me to make connections, I was weary from keeping up with them. I decided to go against the norm and do less. I deactivated accounts, removed apps from my phone, and focused on the couple that I actually enjoy using. Not only did it free up oodles of time, there is less clutter in my mind now that I have less information to process in a day.
Set time boundaries and put the phone away.
I used to get up in the morning, grab my phone and scroll through my notifications as I stumbled down the hallway on my way to make coffee. I’d grab it while waiting for the kids’ toast to pop, check it before leaving the house to drop them off at school, check it again on my way in the house…. any spare moment seemed to find me with my phone in hand, morning and night.
Now, I purposefully leave my phone on its charger in my room until it’s time to take the kids to school. When the kids get home, I put it back in my room and close the door. I intentionally choose to focus on my kids rather than my device. And with less social media on my phone, there’s very little to check anyway!
Set the example, but give yourself some grace.
Some days are easy (like the ones I’m too busy chasing a toddler to catch my breath), and some days I have a legitimate need to keep my phone close by. I am a work in progress and each day is a journey.
But what keeps me going is the difference my small changes have already made on our family. My kids are less prone to checking their own devices, and more likely to engage in conversation about their days. I find we are spending more time together, as I’m not hiding in the office on my computer or hunched in a corner with my phone; I’m now available. I’ve even discovered that my kids, in their preteen and teen years, really do still want to spend time with me (even if they might not admit it)!
But most of all, I’m learning what’s truly important. I was so afraid of missing out of whatever was happening online that I really was missing out on what was happening in my home. I’m sad that I can’t get those days back, but I am so thankful we have today and that my kids have forgiven me.
And not only that, with my hands free of my phone, there’s a lot more room for one of their hands instead.
There’s no app for the happiness and joy that hand fills my heart with.