Wednesday, October 5, 2011
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”
Two months ago I sat with a group of 40 South African teenage girls and we chanted this verse from Psalm 139: 14 over and over again. In this lesson we acknowledged the reality of our sometimes-stinking thinking. Regardless of the context, there seems to be startling expectations as it relates to women and our bodies. Our society teaches that we should be a certain height, shape, hold certain roles, have certain hair, eye color, even shoe size.
I have seen Black women in Kenya purchase lightning cream to make their skin lighter. Women in China literally bind their feet together to become more attractive. Black sisters in America often rush to the salon to get hair relaxers so that their hair won’t become “nappy.” As a young girl I remember telling my mother I needed glasses in order to get the hazel brown eyes (contacts), which I interpreted as beautiful. Every time I watch a daytime doctor show on television there seems to be an emphasis on how we women can change our bodies. But, how do these societal realities on image impact our mind, body, and spirit?
When we feel we haven’t lived up to societies expectations this can have a major impact on the way we feel about our bodies, which has a direct impact on the way we think and function in the world. Our mind, body, and spirit are connected. In the book, Hunting for Hope, Scott Sanders notes, “There is a parallel between mind and body,” and, I believe spirit.
Can there be hope in a society that often labels us by the way our body looks?
I have used Psalm 139:14 to encourage others and myself. For me it speaks about the love that God has for us. God loves us so much that he knit us together while we were still in our mother’s belly. He made each one of us special. God specially crafted each one of us: mind, body, and spirit with wonder, with awe, with love. Every cell, every organ, every hair, every mole, every dimple, every scar, every wrinkle, and every pudge that seems resistant to leave! HE LOVES YOU and created you super special. Because of this we can value our temple, nurture our spirit, and feed our mind with positive thinking. I have a 12-year-old female cousin who is in 7th grade and 6 foot 2 inches tall. One day a young boy, who was shorter than her noted, “WOW, you are so tall. You are like a giant!” My aunt and I watched to see her reaction. She smiled at him and stated, “Thank you!” Just like my young cousin we have to work to get to the point where society does not define who we are and what we think about ourselves. God helps to define who we are and what we should think about ourselves. So I challenge you to push away the stinking thinking and embrace healthier thoughts focused on how God sees us. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made!” “You are fearfully and wonderfully made!” “You are fearfully and wonderfully made!” Believe it!