A thought-provoking post popped up in my Facebook news feed yesterday that was brutally honest, gutsy, and representative of what most people think but never say out loud. . . and that’s why it’s worth pondering.
Erin McClain is one of my young Facebook friends and the college-aged daughter of a pair of our youth group kids from the mid-80s. What prompted Erin’s post is a life lived in a horribly skewed culture that has morphed from valuing character to putting a premium on appearance. Erin’s words remind us of the cultural soup we marinate in and just how life-shaping it is. Reading her words forces us out of the soup to catch a bird’s-eye view of how culture can misshape us in ways that we don’t even realize,. . . until it’s dirty work is done. Where it so subtly and powerfully leads us is away from the worship of God to the worship of self and fear of man. . . which is idolatry. It takes over our lives. What Haddon Robinson has said is so true: “What worries you masters you.”
I asked Erin’s permission to share what she posted. . .
The first day of vacation, my family and I headed to the beach shortly after arriving to begin our vacation! I handed Becca my phone and said “take a cute pic of me” 😉 she took several pictures, making sure to get a good one and handed my phone back. Looking through the pictures I felt a wave of disappointment wash over me as I began to tear myself apart with every flaw in this picture. I didn’t like the way I looked. I would say I’m someone who tries to be confident and fights the insecurities as they come, trying to let them affect me as little as possible and yet, when I see pictures of myself, that small voice in my head comes back telling me I’m not good enough and that I shouldn’t like how I look. When did it become ok for me and every other woman to tear ourselves apart every chance we get? Why are we taught to be nice to other people when we’re young but not taught to be nice to ourselves. I think I speak for every woman when I say I will probably always be insecure about at least one thing about myself but I think it’s time we start teaching ourselves and each other that it is just as important to be nice to ourselves as to other people.
Thanks Erin, for reminding us that “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).
And as far as the culture goes, maybe we’re starting to see what we’re doing to ourselves, including the most vulnerable among us, our kids. Wednesday’s story on the Miss Teen USA pageant dropping the swimsuit competition is a step in the right direction.
Yes, but….in the years of counsel as a pastor, isn’t the ‘self loathing’ often found in young ladies and eating disorders…(self-imaging extremes?) aren’t they showing way too much living selves? An over-reach of being kind to self? I’m not picking an argument, but I’m trying to say ” Yes, Erin, but the whole identity and self image business has to begin with Jesus?”
I eat up your work/ministry, by the way. You have challenged me to think in some areas I’ve never walked! Thank you! Keep it up!
Erin is a follower of Jesus and finds her identity in him. Still, a struggle for all of us at some level. . .
Oops. I meant loving selves, not living!
This IS much more of a struggle for women than men.
I’m on my high school reunion committee and once remarked to my husband how some of the females won’t come to reunions if they’ve gained too much weight, while the guys don’t seem to care at all how huge they’ve gotten. He replied, “The fat guys probably have well-paying jobs.” An AHA moment for me. An attractive woman has confidence like a man with a good job. Not saying it’s right, or Biblical, but it’s pretty much true, even for us Christians.