Welcome to week one of our Beautiful Healthy You series! Please check out our BHY homepage for a list of posts, giveaways and features.
I don’t know where you’re at in life right now.
What your emotional needs are. What your physical health needs are. Whether or not you’re happy, depressed, over-joyed, over-whelmed, whether or not you got a good night’s sleep last night.
But if you’re a woman, I have a feeling I know at least one thing about you: you could use a little encouragement in taking better care of yourself. Maybe even appreciating yourself.
So I’m going to start this twelve-week Beautiful Healthy You series with a question:
Are you comfortable being you?
I’m not just talking about your body shape or weight, but the real YOU. The flesh and bones and blood and hormones that make you a woman. Your cycles and seasons, moods and mannerisms, curves and character.
Do you embrace yourself, a cherished child of God, without reservation? And, if you have a daughter, are you prepared to help her embrace womanhood too?
If the answer is no, then we need to talk. Because I relate to you.
I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin for a long, long time. Don’t get me wrong: I loved being a girl, but I didn’t necessarily feel at ease with my own body and the design God created for it.
As a young teen, my changing body scared me. Talks about sexuality horrified me. I always felt too fat, too freckled, too serious, too pale, too reserved, and not “enough” of anything good.
At the age of twenty-one, I carried my womanhood baggage into marriage. Twelve months later, I was pregnant with our first child- a girl- and I found myself wondering how I was ever going to guide my daughter into womanhood with grace when I couldn’t even give myself grace.
Our culture sells us countless lies about womanhood, and I had believed many of them.
These lies gave me (and countless other women) a false concept of sexuality, deep insecurities about my body, and kept me ignorant of the diverse and amazing gifts of womanhood.
Consider the following:
- 40% of girls starting their periods have never heard about it from their own parents (source)
- only 13% of women can correctly answer which days of their menstrual cycle they are fertile (source)
- only 64% of women in their 60’s claim they like their appearance (source)
- the percentage of teen girls who like their appearance is only slightly higher- 69% (source)
- only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media (source)
- 46% of women say they are unhappy with their breast size (source)
- around 91 % of all cosmetic procedures are performed on women (source)
- according to the National Eating Disorders Association, 42% of first- to third-grade girls want to lose weight, and 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat (source)
- 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25 (source)
These stats scream the fact that women today are painfully insecure about their bodies. What’s worse, they are raising a generation of girls who struggle to find their place in the world of womanhood.
I was one of those girls who struggled.
I know what it feels like to not measure up.
I know what it feels like to desperately want to feel confident and free, but to hover behind a mask of insecurity.
I know what it feels like to be afraid to embrace the gifts of fertility and sexuality.
I also know there is freedom in truth, which is why it is so imperative that you, Mama, embrace your womanhood so you can hand off a legacy of Biblical truth to your daughter.
As we begin to explore the many fascinating aspects of beautiful, healthy womanhood, let me challenge you-
- If you aren’t familiar with your body cycles and fertility, educate yourself! (And start today.) Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler, is my favorite resource on this topic. You can also freely read and learn over at www.tcoyf.com.
- Stop complaining about your body. Your period isn’t awful. Your bust isn’t too big or too small. Don’t believe the lies; you’re beautiful!
- Respect yourself. I’m not talking about vanity here, just a healthy dose of self respect. God created your body, spirit, mind and emotions with amazing detail and complexity. Don’t disregard his creation with your speech, mannerisms, or dress.
If you and I are going to embrace vibrant, healthy lives as women, then we’ve got to stop believing the cultural lies.
We’re going to do it for our own sakes, for the sake of our marriages, and for the sake of our daughters.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Have you ever believed lies about womanhood?
- Gentle Passages, by Robin Jones Gunn
- The Christian Woman’s Guide to Sexuality, by Debra Evans
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.