I would like to share something with you that has been very helpful for me in understanding how poisonous it is to focus on your appearance. I am assuming most of you are women reading, but those who are men, this example may be helpful for you too.
One time while talking to my wise brothers about all this, they said. "Well Sherry, a girl with a nice body is not necessary in order for us to want her." I was all "YA RIGHT!" In my experience, most boys have wanted me when I was thin. When I have been heavier it is VERY obvious that there is less interest in me. First of all, my belief is that some boys will go for just the girls that look like models. YOU DONT WANT A MAN LIKE THAT. Second, there are men who are just as confused as we are about what is desirable in a woman. They may focus too much on looks, but ultimately they want a women with a TRUE feminine nature which is more about love and kindess. I have found that boys like this often are very frustrated in dating or marriage because a women is either focussed on herself or focussed on other. He may like her tan skin, her perfect nails, her firm butt, her perfectly white teeth, her fake eyelashes, and fashionable clothes....but eventually he realizes that she is not what he wants. She is too into herself, too into the world. Perhaps she does not want to be a mom, or stay at home to take care of her kids. Perhaps she is too into her career, or she spends all their money on herself. Ultimately, although she is a nice accessory for him, her selfishness gets in the way every time. Finally there are men like my brothers, who have their eye on the real prize, a virtuous women who is willing to sacrifice and give of herself for him and the children. This does NOT mean she is frumpy and ugly and has no sense of style or desire to take care of herself. She takes care of herself because she understands that her body is a gift from God. It is holy and she keeps it clean out of SELF ACCEPTANCE not out of a belief that "I am not good enough". She is not obsessed with herself, nor does she feel anxiety that if she has to cut her hair, or is not wearing makeup, that her husband will lose interest.
In trying to understand all of this my brothers used an example that hit home to me. They asked me if a man being rich was a prerequisite for me to be interested in him. For some girls this is a requirement. HOW SAD. For other girls, they are in a similar situation to the boys in the second category above. I was one of these girls for a long time. Although I did not care too much about money per say, I was looking for a guy who had worldly prestige. Status. I also wanted a selfless man who held me as his first priority. I wanted a God fearing man who was humble and was not obsessed with himself, his carreer, sports or his money. NOT possible! Why not? Well, because as the Bible says,
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other." Matthew 6: 4
In other words, if your heart is set on obtaining riches or a better body, you have yourself a false God. If you are ready to finally have true and lasting peace and joy in your life, it is time to change your master.
After I realized that I was attracted to the wrong type of guy, I spent many hours of heartfelt prayers asking God to help me TRULY desire Christopher. (who is now my husband). That may not sound very romantic, but I knew in my MIND that he was what I wanted and needed and I was determined to not fall into the same trap wanting a man who did not treat me right. SO MANY women fall into this trap. Now, I am in the process of aligning my heart and mind in my desires for myself. I consistently pray that what I am typing here will travel south from my mind to my heart and stay there!
How would you feel if your husband was obsessed with money, and spent more time thinking about being rich then about you!?? He might justify that he wants the money for you, though. It is so that you can be proud of him and desire him more! I am pretty sure that most women would prefer a husband who spent his time and energies thinking of her and how to help her feel loved and special and wanted. I know at least for myself, I would rather be poor financially, and rich in my relationships than poor in my relationships and rich financially. I would suggest to you that most men feel the same way about you and your body. They would rather have a fat happy wife, then a skinny miserable one, even when you think you are trying to be skinny for him. I believe that these are two of life's greatest illusions, and they are exposed through a paradox. The first is that if I can just get this paid off or have this much money saved then I won't have to worry about money any more. The second is, if I can just lose this many pounds or wear these pants again then I won't have to worry about my weight anymore. If I can just be "here" then I will be at peace and can focus on other areas of my life. Stop believing it! It is a lie, an illusion, a mirage of water in the desert. I have been one of the biggest suckers for this lie for many years. Even if you get to the weight you want, it is either never enough or when it is, it takes all of your energy to maintain it in fear of losing what you worked so hard for. Trust me! There is a reason there are women out there everyday dying from anorexia, it is never enough! Here is the truth, life's ultimate paradox....In the words of Jesus...
"For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." Mark 8 : 35
Finally, unfortunately oft times there is the issue of pornography and to all the women out there who have loved ones battling this horrible, horrible addiction, my heart weeps for you. This topic makes me VERY angry and VERY sad. In fact, the other day I wrote a poem about my feelings..... I must say, this poem was directed at men who are NOT willing to change. Not the humble men who in many cases were innocently trapped and now are trying to break free from a pornography addiction.
I am angry...
Angry at all of you
who see it like a game
a pretty face to prey on
who really has a name
There is all kind of junk
floating on the internet sea.
It's disgusting and you know it,
yet you savor it like Candy
Have you ever thought your hurting
more people than just yourself.
The men, the women, the children
You keep hidden on your shelf.
I know I should not hate you
but I hate what you do.
In fact, hate is not a strong enough word for
the sleazy things you view.
When you touch filthy things
You become an enemy to God
you join Satan’s most vulgar team;
pleasure’s greatest fraud.
I can’t control the waves
that roll across your screen
I can’t erase the images
your darkened eyes have seen
I can’t control your thoughts
and what they stimulate you to do
yet there is one thing I can control:
I will teach my son to never be like you.
I can only imagine the pressure a women feels if she is being compared to digital women who look perfect on a screen, the women who walk around the mall in their mini skirts, or the women that clearly spend most of their life at the gym in front of a mirror glorifying themselves. Actually that is not true. I don't need to imagine. I think every man has to put up a fight in this area. Whenever an immodest girl shows up on a movie screen or walks by us in the store, my husband always turns to me and gives me a kiss. I think he is so amazing for turning so quick from temptation, but I would be lying if I did not admit that it breaks my heart that there is temptation at all. I wish that all women would see their bodies as more sacred and dress accordingly, but unfortunately we live in a society that exploits women as sex objects and consequently both men and women are being affected by it's seductive appeal. We are not enemies of each other, we need to unite as men and women in fighting Satan's plan to destroy souls and families. I know it can sometimes feel like men are the enemy, pressuring us to look a certain way, but I believe they are just as lost as us in knowing what makes a desirable woman.
In conclusion, I would like to share another scripture that I think about a lot.
"Therefore, oh ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all of your HEART, MIGHT, MIND and STRENGTH. That ye may stand blameless before God at the last day."
Doctrine and Convenant 4:2
At the last day...or in other words, when we stand before him to be judged, do you think he will ask to see your husband's bank statement? Similarly, will He ask you to flex your triceps muscle, or wil He give your rear a cellulite check?? Will He give your kankles a disapproving look, or pinch in disgust your muffin top?? I believe that He will do none of the such. Rather he will look into your eyes, and it will be evident to both you and Him if you really know him. My wish and greatest desire is that when I am at this critical moment, He will look at me with teary eyes of approval. He will give me a hug and thank me for sacrificing a body that would have given me earthly praise for a body that is old, and wrinkly and full of stretch marks. All because I devoted my life to love and service in creating and sustaining life for his other children.
Thats the goal.....and through faith and endurance I believe we can all get there.
I love you all! and of course...
I love you Daddy!
Here are the topics for the next 7 days...
2. Accept yourself as you are.
3. Men and Women of Hawaii.
7. Replacing thoughts.