A little while ago I spent a hen weekend with a group of women who know that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” They know that they are “daughters of a star breather” and that “nothing can separate them from the love of Christ.” They know that they can do “all things through Christ who strengthens them” and that they are “created in God’s image.” They have heard all these book mark Bible phrases many times and scrolled through endless Facebook memes reminding them of their worth and yet… Hold that thought!
It’s quite a while since the itinerary for the Centre Parcs hen weekend arrived. After getting my head around the concept of “organised fun” I realised that the bridesmaids were simply trying to give their bride the best possible weekend they could. While reading through the various activities I clocked it!
I’ve had a pretty longstanding hatred of wearing a swimming costume and showing my body in public and this seems to have got worse since having two kids. Straight away I was dreading the two hours allocated to swimming and was trying to work out how to get out of it. I am ashamed to say that on a previous trip to Center Parcs I even used my daughter’s chest infection to avoid the pool. Pretty lame I know! In the run up to the weekend it became apparent that I wasn’t the only one with this particular hang up. After a number of messages back and forth I made a deal with one of the younger members of the group that I would go swimming if she did. By the way I am fully aware how ridiculous this sounds.
So, the weekend arrived and as the swimming day approached it became more and more apparent that there were numerous insecurities flying around the group. Whether it was large thighs, visible scars, small boobs, big boobs, cellulite or “fat” arms, most of the group seemed to have some thing or other that they didn’t want others to see. As we all emerged from the changing rooms you could tell that there were quite a few of us that were uncomfortable. Towels were strategically placed to cover lumps and bumps (and even size 8 figures). I don’t profess to know what they were thinking, but it seemed that this group of beautiful women were not completely comfortable in their own skin…me included. For the rest of the weekend one thought went round and round in my mind.
How had our thoughts, as a group of Christian women, strayed so far away from God’s view of us and the way he wants us to view ourselves?
In my late teens I would always pick the same song if asked to sing a vocal solo. Written by Greg Ferguson, it has the following lyrics:
If I could look through your eyes,
I’d see there’s no way to impress you and I wouldn’t even try
I’d stop trying to prove I’m worthy and I’d take off the disguise
If I could look through your eyes.
And I would see that I am precious, and I would know that I am prized
I know your love never changes
If I could look through your eyes.
It’s beautiful isn’t it? The only problem is that it’s time for it to stop just being a beautiful lyric, a meaningful Bible verse or a heartwarming meme. It’s time for the words of Scripture around this topic to actually speak truth into our hearts. If you are looking for a blog where the author gives you the “answers” or stands in the position of “expert” then this isn’t the blog for you. This blog marks the continuance of a journey. Having thought that I had come so far with knowing my identity in Christ, I have discovered that there are still so many areas where God needs (and wants) to work. How many hours of my life, and yours, have been spent worrying about whether we’re pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, funny enough etc.? It bores me even typing it as it’s such a complete waste of time and energy…and yet I still regularly fall into this trap. While trying to work out how to wrap up this blog entry the image above was posted to the hen weekend Facebook group. It’s me! Ready to have a go at archery. Being the people pleaser that I am I listened carefully to the instructor. I’m stood in the exact position he advised and my arrow is pointing directly at the target. This picture is a good representation of my life at the moment. I feel like I have been stood in this position for a while now. Poised and ready to fire the first arrow, but too afraid of what people in the spectators bench may think. This blog comes from a place of frustration where I feel it’s now time to get some clarity, take the correct stance and aim for the target.
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
Is anyone willing to join me?