"Be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes 5:18

Monday, March 21, 2011

Biblical Womanhood In a Fit/Sexy Mom Culture

God is really working on me with some core issues in my life. One of those issues is vanity. I've really been asking myself some tough questions. I was kinda wondering how some of you deal with these things. There is a real push to be the sexy fit mom in this culture, or just the hot stuff at any age really. Popular songs around us push so much of this:
"Who's the sexy chick, the sexy chick???"
"Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"
"When I grow up, people know me, be on tv, be on magazines;
When I grow up, fresh and clean, number one chick when I'm steppin on the scene"
There are so many more as well.
All these songs I like but want to think more about what I may be letting them feed me. Maturity is being able to take something in and know how it compares to truth and by truth I mean God's truth. Unless I ponder on that truth and let God clean out my heart, these cultural messages will have power to motivate my actions instead of just being a fun tune I enjoy now and then.
I think our culture is rampid with women who struggle with this. The girlish desire to put on our dress up clothes, long strings of pearls and high heals in front of full body-length mirrors has become a cultural idol. So many good things do become idols you know. This is just another. So many of us women see women around us striving to be the sexy chick. To have the "fit at forty" body and desire a perky sexual presentation at any cost. We hear it justified by terms like "I deserve this" or "I needed to feel good about myself". Will these empty wells satisfy our thirsty feminine soul though? Have we taken a simple innocent longing to feel girlish and pretty and given it a sequin throne in our lives???
I have gained 8lbs since Christmas. I've been working hard on the house but not getting exercise. My response to this was such frustration. Once you feel that defeated it's easy to just eat more and say "screw it!". So, I battle between crazy, kill myself focused and medicate myself pity. There is one thing I realized about that.....
It's all focused on me!

When I loose weight I feel prettier and I start to wonder if others are noticing. I think more about me.
When I gain, I feel grumpy and mad at myself and take it out on those I love. I think more about me.

This has got to stop. It's time to grow up. It's time to Christ up.

I see many women around me much better than I am at this health and sexy thing and though I don't think of any one in particular when I say this, I wonder in general.....
How focused are we on ourselves????

We strive so hard to have the perfect body here on earth which will only feed our vanity for a time and wither away in the end anyway. That goal will never be achieved, so why have it???!!
Well, when you think of it as a motivation, it's not a good one.

Besides, let's be real, no one really notices you anyway. Sometimes I look around and think about the fact that I don't really notice how fit or gorgeous someone is or what they have on. For the most part anyway. Yes, there is the cute mom with the cute outfit but if her butt is toned and her tummy flat, I'm not admiring, I'm ticked off and go home grumpy!!! So, who notices her? Men. Do I want men to notice me that way? In my sin, yes, but in a goal of Christ-likeness, no.

The facts are that no one really notices you because they are too busy thinking and worrying about how THEY look. The other fact is that women who get fit and show it off are causing men to lust.

I'm tired of this whole marry-go-round. I'm praying that my heart will become pure about it through Christ.

So, I have to ask myself what my motives are. I want to be healthy and have stamina to love and serve my family better. I want to spend more of my moments wondering how each love under my roof is getting on. How was their day? Did they get enough to eat today? Did I keep them healthy? Are their needs met? Do THEY feel loved by me? What can I do special for them today?

The things I struggle to manage are tools for blessing. Food both healthy and treat-ish, are a blessing for them. My stamina is important to do all I need to do. It's important for intimacy with my husband.

Yikes, on that note. I'm tired of trying to get back to 20. I realized this last week that I shy away from him too much for my own selfish reasons. I won't feel free till I reach my sexy goal. Yet, when I get close, I start to struggle with getting other men's attention and feel his compliments are not good enough. I discussed this with a sister/friend a few months ago and she related to me in it. It's like the good things they say are not enough because we think "yeah, well you love me when I'm fat too so step aside and let me see if I can get some REAL attention."

*PUKE*....it's all SOOOOO sinful.

That got me thinking about how deep this really goes.

I love glory for myself. I love it. I want to be admired and "glorified" so to speak. God started to show me who that sounded like. It sounded like the most beautiful beloved angel of heaven who wanted to be glorified. He wanted to steal admiration and praise from the only one who deserved it. I was reflecting HIS character!!! It sickened me.

Christ's character is to reflect His father at all times. Not to try to steal any of that glory from him for himself. How convicting.

Then, it hits me. That is a motive and a goal I CAN achieve. I will never get all the admiration I sinfully desire, but I can reflect my God through this and his beauty is far more glorious than my own. Not to mention the fact that he deserves it and that is what I was created to do for my joy to be full.

So, though I've known a lot of these things they have been surface ideals. I know I should not be vain. I know I should not be wrapped up in myself. Yet, I've never stopped to get down deeper to the ugly core of my heart where these battles take place and find myself on my knees in need of my Savior.

How do some of you battle these issues as women today? How do you fight wanting to be attractive with deep problematic vanity? I realize that keeping ourselves looking attractive is in many ways important but how do you balance that with slipping into focusing too much on yourself? What are your motivations for being healthy?

I'm hoping God revolutionizes my heart into one that so rarely thinks of myself. I want to be fit enough to do what he needs me to, sexy enough to please my husband, and attractive enough to do the best with what God has given me.

I really would love to hear from many of you on your thoughts.

We all aregirls born wanting to be this way. The song is fun, but like all untamed desires, it can destroy us and all our relationships as well as leave us empty and unsatisfied. There is nothing wrong with having that girlie desire to dress up and be clean and pretty, for even God enjoyed the beauty he created. Yet, listen to the words of this song and realize how important this idol of ourselves can become to us. IF you know me, I love lots of music but I also believe in discussing the true danger of these messages. I just want to push for some discernment as we enjoy.


Miriam said...

Thank you for being so honest. It's true... it's very easy for these things (fitness, weight loss, etc.) to become all about ME and to distract us from serving God and our families. I do have those same feelings at times. I can honestly say that my attitude about my appearance has changed a lot since having children. I know my husband thinks I'm attractive even though I weigh more than perhaps a trainer or fitness expert would think I should. I am happy in my life now and wouldn't trade everything I have gained to have the body that I had before. I feel that if I wear clothing that suits my body type in the correct size, I can look great even at a size 10. In fact, I'm 5'8" and have a larger bone structure, so I don't believe anything smaller than an 8 is even realistic for me.

After having children, my goal was to get back to pre-pregnancy weight - in great part because I had nice clothes I wanted to wear again and couldn't afford a new wardrobe, but also because I think it's nice for my husband to see me making an effort to look good for him and it's a good example for my children to see me at least trying to eat healthy and exercise regularly. I'm truly not interested in what other men think about the way I look, although I do understand how it can become a motivating factor. I like to dress nicely, but I'm careful to dress in an appropriate way.

I do think it is important to take care of our bodies, but we must be careful about our attitudes about it and our motivations. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

Erin said...

Amen! Such a tough balance to maintain. I've been thinking about this a lot recently, too. Thanks for all your ideas, and keeping your focus centered on Christ.

The Lance said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Yikes! Please make sure that last comment is not linked to my college newspaper, I don't know why it did that, not an opinion from them!!!! Thank you, Aimee

Alicia said...

Aimee posted this comment and I am having to repost because of links. She said:
"Wow! Thanks for sharing! I have long felt self-conscious, and wavered between modesty and "something that makes me feel good". However, I am becoming more fully aware that I am too concerned with wanting to look fit/sexy, and that modesty IS attractive. As a single mom, I desire to be all that God intends for me, and that includes modeling for my daughters, an attitude which brings Christ glory. Being what the world says I should be only brings unwanted attention, and does nothing to increase my self-esteem. It may work for the short-term, but with God-esteem, it will last for the long-term. We strive for godliness against a culture that values all the wrong things, and are constantly bombarded through mainstream media with images opposite of reality. Remembering that God knows how difficult this is, and values me as I am, is where I find my God-esteem. Looking to him for clarity and balance in how I view myself must be my goal. Thanks again for being so honest, and sharing so that others can see what God is doing in your life!"

Alicia said...

Aimee, at least I hope I did that right and that was you:)
Thank you for reading and sharing.

Aimee said...

That was perfect, and thanks ever so much! :)Aimee

Kayla said...

This was great! I'm a friend of Erin's and followed the link she posted. I loved your honesty in this because I do agree that its something every godly christian woman struggles to find the balance in. I'm only 20 and not yet a mom but for me it was going through cosmetology school and being immersed in a culture of thinking only about our outward appearance day in and day out. You give great insights here though and lots of good ideas for change with Christ as the center. Love that.

Amy B said...

Love the Desperate Housewives photo! Had to stop myself from looking it - they're HOT! (-: I am following what you are saying about being "me" focused. Losing weight causes me to think a lot about food and my body. But I think I was doing that before I was losing the weight too?! If I hate looking at myself in the mirror because of those extra 20 or 40 pounds, my clothes are tight, my double chin is in every picture, am I not just as "me" focused? And am I not passing my insecurities down to my children when I detest my body? Let's take it to the Spiritual level - is my thinking all the time about the sin in or not in my life also "me" focused? Does the bible say "be thou conscience of sin" after Jesus' death? Someone was punished and died for that sin already, am I to be punished twice for it? I think I would do better to keep my eyes on Jesus, discovering who He is so I know who I am and if He leads me to lose 20 or 40 pounds, then He will also give me the ability to say no to myself and no to the "slut wear" to induce men to lust. PS. Men will lust whether we are in turtle necks and burlap bags or bikinis... but that's just my take on it...

Alicia said...

that is exactly what I meant by this frustration. my focus was/is myself either way. exactly true, i want to keep my eyes on Christ and what he wants me to do to bless others. to see my body as a vessel of blessing rather than a beckon of self-glorification.
i am very motivated by those extra lbs to get feeling better, absolutely. For two reasons: (1) when I feel bad I'm not at my best to serve them/it drags me down and (2)because I want to be an example of health to my kids, and especially my girls.
It's just my motivations that I'm struggling with keeping straight.

You are right, men will lust as they choose but I don't want to carry any of the weight of responsibility for it if they do.
What you said is where I want to be, letting Christ truly navigate this area of my life from my heart outward.
Thank you for sharing.

Alicia said...

Thank you for coming by and for sharing!:)