My blog's been quiet for awhile. Meanwhile, my life has been full. Full of summer, sand, swimming, parks, ministry opportunities, and an amazing conference through which God rocked my world and set my heart ablaze. Amidst all of this there have been a hundred blogs rolling around in my head, many of which I hope will make it onto this screen eventually. But now as I finally sit down to blog for the first time in weeks, it's the foremost thing on my mind tonight that I want to share.
My eldest daughter turned eight in July. The onset of puberty and the vulnerable questions that come alongside puberty loom in the very near future. As she grows, I am acutely aware of her watching my every move. I am her primary role model in all things. A tremendous honor that I don't deserve, to be sure, and one that simultaneously makes my heart soar with joy and tremble with trepidation.
Also this summer, as we picnic, barbeque, and celebrate the birthdays of all our children, the doritos and ice cream and birthday cake have taken up residence around my midsection. I am acutely aware of this phenomenon as well each morning when my khaki shorts feel tight so I resort back to the yoga pants. Imagine that...who would have thought that taking a "summer break" from working out and eating doritos and oreos at every picnic would result in tighter jeans. Rocket science, I know.
Now, some of you may have read my previous blog from this winter about breaking up with my scale. Perhaps I'm sounding wishy-washy. But, the point of that blog was not getting wrapped up in the numbers on the scale, and not letting the numbers determine your self-worth. And I certainly still stand by that.
But also, I think it's good and right to honor God with my body by taking care of it, keeping it fit and strong, and when doritos take up residence such that my jeans are tight, to do something about it. It's not a big deal, I'm not worried or stressed about it, I'm simply aware and trying to correct the issue. (That being said, two of my children have birthdays (and therefore cakes) in August, and last night I had ice cream and brownies with my girlfriends, so I'm clearly not trying all that hard. Summer is summer).
But here's the deal. My daughters are watching me. Every day. All the time.
My reactions. My attitude. My treatment of others. My treatment of myself. My discipline. My joy. My body image. They see it all. And by it, they themselves determine how to be a woman.
And I am convinced to the depths of my soul that the female body is one of the things on this planet that Satan hates the most. Think about it. Since Eve in the garden, Satan has been hell-bent on destroying not only the heart of a woman, but also her body. Abortion. Infanticide. Mutilation that is too horrific to write about. Anorexia. Bulimia. Prostitution. STD's. Infertility. Sex trafficking. Pornography.
Do you see it? Satan is absolutely driven to destroy the female body and therefore her heart. And why does Satan hate the female body so much? I'm convinced it's because the female body brings new life into this world, and Satan hates new life. So he incessantly tries to destroy the female body, being so successful at it that he has convinced massive numbers of women to even hate their own bodies.
And I refuse to play this game and give in to his schemes.
Oh I struggle. Absolutely. I'm human. An estrogen-driven human who loves chocolate and doritos and cheesecake. Just ask my husband how I've struggled.
But now I have an eight year old daughter who is watching me as I teach her what it means to be a woman. And a six year old daughter coming next. She will not only watch me, but also her big sister. So I had better teach her big sister well.
And I know that there is an ferocious enemy that will do whatever he can to make my daughters hate their own bodies. Right now they still intrinsically know that they are beautiful. I pray they always will. But I'm not naive. And the Bible refers to our enemy as the father of lies, the great deceiver, and a roaring lion looking to devour my daughter. Not on my watch.
So you might see my crossroads here. It's healthy and good for me to watch what I eat more carefully at this point. I only get one body on this earth, and I have big plans to run and chase my grandchildren in twenty years. I need to be healthy. And yet, I cannot and will not model to my daughters that "the numbers" impact my mood or my self-worth or my joy on a summer day. And although you and I can understand that this is not a contradiction, my daughters' critical thinking portion of their brain that helps them think through complex situations is still developing (and has over a decade to go). And this issue of body image is too important for me to take a risk and just "hope they understand."
Satan hates them too much and I love them too much to take risks here.
So...yes I'll "diet". Sort of. In a summer-time sort of way. But I'll "diet" discreetly...more like cut down on doritos and skip the DQ. I greatly dislike that word because of the cultural connotation...but if a "diet" is more like a careful eating plan, then I guess I'll "diet."
I've been asking God for some direction on this and I just wanted to share a few practical tips for watching what we eat while our daughters are watching us eat. Keep in mind that I'm in no way a dietician or a professional of any sort on this topic. I'm simply a real woman with a real body who is trying to honor God and raise my daughters to be whole women.
Let's do it together.