Yesterday we touched on the topic of our children, food and dieting. Many of you have shared with me that this is really a scary topic to brooch; many even taboo to some degree.
I truly believe God when He tells us in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” He can give us the wisdom we need to speak truth and life into our children!
Data show that about 80 percent of 10-year-olds have dieted at one point in their lives.
The question is why?
What causes a child, when they are still a child, to be so consumed with their appearance at such a young age?
The factors could be many, but here are just a few I’ve seen:
1) As moms, we teach our kids to be concerned with their looks and their weight in particular.
I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “I need to get rid of these extra pounds” or patted my belly, drawing attention to my own self-consciousness. Our kids need to see us being confident with the way we were created. Not that we should not care about our bodies; of course we should. And yes, we can definitely struggle with being content with our own shapes and sizes, but our bodies should not be a point where we criticize ourselves. As it says in Isaiah 45:9, “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?'”
Let’s be wise and cautious about how we speak about our own bodies. Our kids are listening…and so is our Creator!
2) Society tells them they are not enough.
As we said yesterday, our culture is obsessed with outward beauty and often rejects those who don’t measure up according to it’s standards. I don’t think as a parent we can go overboard when it comes to pouring in God’s truth about where God tells us to invest in becoming beautiful. He calls beautiful love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Again, we can be aware of how much effort and words we use when it comes to our appearance. Go ahead; get the wrinkle creams. But let’s be cognizant of the hidden messages we might be sending. Aging is ugly. Only the skinny are beautiful. I hate my _______. Go ahead and fill in the blank. Bottom line, it all comes back to the belief that who I am is not enough.
Jesus says we are more than enough! Song of Solomon 4:7 is a great one to up right up on your mirror today: “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Go ahead – put it on your child’s mirror too!
3) She wants to be accepted.
Me too! Just like that sweet girl working struggling over her hair and make-up each morning, I also want to be accepted. I am pretty sure that is why I wrote “His Revolutionary Love; Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You”. I know, it appears I wrote it for young women, but I needed to write that book for me. I needed and need to know each and every day, Jesus accepts me and is crazy about me just. like. I. am.
Isaiah 43 reminds me: Jesus does more than accept me. He comes after me.
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine…
I paid a huge price for you…
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.”
I’m probably the weird, insecure one here, but I need to this know every day. I am desperate to know that no matter what the number on the scale, if my hair is as big as Rosanna Rosanna Danna (anybody remember her?) or my eyeliner is crooked, Jesus is absolutely crazy about me.
Your child needs to know this too, Mom! Be the one to remind her and guess what? In the process, you’ll be filling up your own heart to! 🙂
As the mom of two daughter who struggled with a life-threatening eating disorder myself, I really appreciate your point about arguing with God when it comes to how He created our bodies. He’s given me a tremendous amount of freedom in this area, but I find that when I’m feeling insecure in other areas of my life, it still comes out in the way I talk about my body. My girls are great motivation to seek God for His truth about my body and let my speech reflect that.
Lynn Cowell says
Thank you so much for your honesty, Hannah. You know – I think we just don’t realize often what we are saying. Lord, help us to hear ourselves!
I love these reminders . . . during Spring Break my sister and I (with my daughter and her friend) were out shopping the deals at the Outlet Mall. Just to say that I hate shopping but I am out shopping. I hate to shop because I didn’t know what I was doing, doesn’t fit right (long arms and long waist) and I usually get frustrated. But, I had jsut bought a purse that was lovely. Now, in this next store it was for clothes. I had a top on with a jacket and came out to show my sister. She said it looked great. I on the other hand, with my facial expression siad that it didn’t look good. Earlier on our run, we had discussed how my daughter needs to be encouraged more because her slouching has gotten worse. Fast forward almost 3 months later, we both have a better image of our selves, she isn’t slouching, and she and I love to stand tall. God is so faithful and so merciful as He draws us closer to Him. Thank you again, for sharing this.
Lynn Cowell says
Dot – how beautiful. God is so very faithful to help us!