About a month ago, I walked into a Target store and nearly tripped over my feet as rack after rack of brightly colored, minuscule swimsuits greeted me. I shivered, even though it was an 80-degree day in March.
Swimsuit season never fails to catch me off guard. Even though I’m ready for the sun to thaw my frozen bones, I’m never quite prepared to bare my pale skin and winter “flubber.” (Not to mention how hard it is to find modest swimsuits these days, even for a 7-year-old!) Can I get a witness, ladies?
But this year, I have a new perspective. A few friends and I just finished going through Jocelyn Hamsher’s new book Do These Jeans Make Me Look Fat?: Breaking the Cultural Mirror.
I know I’m not alone in my hesitation to shed the bulky sweaters and reveal what’s happened over the winter. Jocelyn says,
“The average fourth grader in the U.S. is on a diet. Four out of five women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with the way they look. The average woman is 5’4”, 140 pounds. Twenty-five years ago, models weighed eight percent less than the average woman. Today, models weigh twenty-three percent less. God has made various body types – only one of those is the tiny frame we have dubbed the prototype supermodel. She makes up five percent of the population, yet young women are literally dying to look like her. They are dying to be someone they can’t – somebody they weren’t made to be.”
Friends, that makes me sad. And I refuse to participate any longer in the lies I’ve believed!
“Do These Jeans Make Me Look Fat? Seizes the opportunity to proclaim truth to women and girls everywhere about genuine beauty. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been given a bigger picture – a picture that far supersedes the lies of this world and the attack on our identity in Christ! In a world where body image and the world’s standards for acceptance and beauty have been thrown in our faces continually, we can begin to believe and uphold something false. But our bodies were made for more than what the world says about them, than what we have given them credit for, than the lies we’ve embraced.”
Read more about the book and what others are saying here.
The part of the book that spoke the most to me was chapter 4 titled, “You mean I get a servant with this house?” Jocelyn says her own focus has “turned from being approved of by others to the bigger picture of being responsible for taking care of God’s dwelling place. The focus has changed from seeing my body as master to the bigger picture of seeing my body as a servant. Have you ever thought of your body that way? For so long, we have allowed our body to control us and be our master, giving it whatever it wants, even to our detriment. But your body was given to you as a servant, for you to use to bless the Lord and others, for you to love and appreciate, for you to accomplish the great purposes the Lord has called you to. Isn’t that cool?”
Why yes, I think it is!
I had never thought about my body quite that way before, and it was freeing. I later told Kedron that I want to take care of my body because I love it, not because I hate it. I want to keep the reality in front of me that no matter what happens, this body is here to serve me, to carry me through this life, and I want to take the best care of it possible. That slight shift in thinking radically changes the trajectory of how I treat my body. It also helps me set a better example for my children. If they see me trashing my body by how I eat and my inactivity or hear me trash it with my words, how can I ever expect them to treat their body with the respect it deserves?
My friends, I can’t think of a better way to start the summer than to study up on what God says about our bodies! The book has six easy-to-read chapters filled with stories you will not soon forget. Duct tape. That’s all I have to say. You just have to read it for yourself! Each chapter concludes with 5-10 discussion questions making it ideal for personal or small-group study.
Invite a few friends to go on this journey with you. I hope you will be as blessed by the book and surrounding conversations as I was!
Jocelyn has graciously offered to give away two books this week on the blog. Enter the drawing below! I will pick the winners on Friday.
*If for some reason the Rafflecopter isn’t showing below, leave a comment and you will still be entered for the drawing! I think their site is having technical difficulty 🙁