I hear weekly from preteen and teen girls what they believe is “wrong” with them. Their teeth are too yellow. Their hair is too straight or curly. They are too short or tall, chubby or skinny, busty or flat chested. They are in a constant state of trying to look “right” so they can be accepted.
Sure we walk around saying that it is what is on the “inside that matters.” Of course those of us who follow Christ are saying we see the Lord’s reflection when we look in the mirror.
Yet, the horrible and very real truth is that as women we can rarely look past the outside long enough to focus on the soul.
The problem according to several statistics is that they are consuming about 10 hours and 45 minutes of media DAILY. This generation is consuming more television, internet, print media, video games, and movies than ever before in history.
Even if we hide our girls away- turned off the computer and never watched a movie, the moment we walk into a store it is in our face. Article after article is about how to be skinny, have perfect skin or perfect hair. If not it is about picking someone apart because of their lack of such attributes.
How do we convey how to live in this world and look like Christ when we are constantly bombarded with WHAT WE ARE NOT.
The problem of course lies in the moment that we believed that serpent’s lies; when we took the bite from the fruit of knowledge of good and evil we lost our innocence. Women lost the memory that we truly are created in the image of our living God.
So the diets started. The comparing. Sizing up. You are looking at me and wishing you had my eyes, while I want your hair. So we make ourselves look “pretty.” In the meantime our girls are crumbling under the pressure of, “If I could be a little more this and a little less than that.”
We wonder why they are starving themselves or marring their bodies. They can’t get past the fact that they are “all wrong.”
Those that are smart or leaders are seen as “too much.” We can say it isn’t true over and again. We can keep saying we shouldn’t care about our looks. An hour out the door of church and my own teen is asking if her jeans, “make her look fat.” Yes, we joke about that line, but I have stood in my bedroom on more than one occasion sweating that question to my own husband. Perhaps it’s about control? If I can at least look the part then I just might be able to get by. So I am wondering:
How do we really teach our girls that they are gorgeous to God and that is what matters?
How do we help them engage culture and take it back for Christ, in real ways?
How do we really help them to put their identity in the right place and person without pretending- but really make it a truth in their hearts?
We need to stop ignoring it. The facts are that while women OUGHT to believe that our souls are beautiful we are striving for beautiful bodies. It begins with every woman working on seeing themselves as created in the image of God. Every woman needs to get before God and honestly assess their insecurities as they compare themselves to other.
Godly women need to be mentoring girls. We need to show them in the word what the Lord meant for them. It is important for us to teach others how to take the words of Proverbs 31:30 inside: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
We must teach this generationally. Each generation of girls needs to be sharing with the next that they are “perfectly and wonderfully made.” Adults, teen, pre-teen, and children: one to another.
We must teach girls that they were created to do mighty things for God. Teach them about our Biblical examples: A queen that saves a nation (Esther.) One redeemed that helps those take over the promised land (Rahab). Mary was a teen chosen to bear the Messiah. What about Deborah, Abigail, Mary & Martha, Sarah or Rebecca? Ever thought about how there was a void until Eve was created? We simply don’t know what amazing things our girls might do.
Let’s get them unstuck from this place. THEY ARE CREATED AS A REFLECTION OF THE LIVING GOD. Let’s celebrate, and teach them to celebrate as well.
These are just starting points what are you doing to affect the girls in your life?