I sat at the red plastic coated metal picnic table enjoying lunch with a wonderful group of young ladies. There were five young ladies under the age of 13. We were famished from our adventurous day of play in the amusement park. I looked around the table at the diversified bodies in all shades and sizes. Each lovely face was a beautiful sight to behold; an amazing work of art to behold and created by God. I was asked to say a blessing over our food and was glad to do so. I bowed my head to pray and caught a glance at the plates of food, equally diversified. Some of us had full sandwiches and fries, some just fries or a sandwich, and lastly, glasses of water and a pickle. My mind was puzzled at the food choices before me but the food had to be blessed first; questions would soon follow.
I said Amen but I didn’t eat just yet. I asked why my companion did not have more than water and a pickle. She replied that her Grandma and Mom thought she was getting fat. She was eating light so as not to gain more weight. I told her that was ridiculous. She was thick and muscular and she needed to embrace this body God blessed her with. She smiled and looked away. I knew she would believe the lie from her family over the truth of the Bible; body and soul, she is marvelously made (Proverbs 139:14)
My eyes moved around the table to another young lady. I asked her why she had her t-shirt sleeves pulled up and the legs of her shorts rolled back. She replied with this, “I am very white. I need to tan because I have a nice body and should show it.” My mouth dropped open but only for a second. I told her to be comfortable in the skin she was in and to avoid skin cancer while she was at it.
Another young lady wore wedges to the park because she needed to look taller. She believed it made her appear skinny, but her feet were hurting. She was also practicing wearing heals so she can be presentable before a king. I asked her “what king?” I heard back, “I don’t know, my Mom tells me this all the time.”
Another young lady barely talked. I knew her story. She felt dumb so she rarely said a word. Lastly, a seven year old feels that everything is her fault and carries the weight of the world on her shoulder. She angry even now, as we eat lunch.
Are you in tears yet? I was just sitting there. I, after all, am the mother of the seven year old. Ladies and Gentlemen, Youth leaders, Pastors, Moms and Dads, Aunty, Uncle, and Grandparents too, we should be ashamed of ourselves for teaching these young ladies the very lies they believe to be truth. Yes, this is our fault.
Before I get the hate comments, I shall explain. The children of today look to the adults that matter most in their lives for direction. Society doesn’t help by plastering the fake bodies all over the magazines, TV shows, and social media. However, it is our job to tell these girls the truth for their lives. They are made perfect in the sight of God. They are unique, beautiful, and smart. But instead, as adults, we put on our fake hair, fake nails, fake eyelashes, and fake makeup daily. We tan our skin if it is too white and lighten our skin if too dark. We buy a new wardrobe every few months because we have to stay with the fashions to look good. We obsess over the mirror on a bad hair day and condemn our bodies in front of these girls. The men look at younger scantily dressed women, and secretly wished for their bodies. We are always on a fad diet instead of just eating healthy and moving, just as our bodies were created to do. We are so uncomfortable in our own skin that there is no way we can expect our children to be comfortable in theirs.
I am sicken by all this. I made a decision long ago to change the way I feel about myself, simply because I saw my daughter call herself ugly. She didn’t look like her friend: tall, dark skinned, and perfect hair. My daughter had light skin and freckles. She told me she never wanted to get as big as I was. I told her that I loved my body the way it was. It was a lie. I lied to my child. My heart broke, not at the comments she made but at the lie I told her. I didn’t love my body. I am not sure many of us do. Why would someone put up a fake self when the real self is good enough?
If we are good enough for our Jesus to offer his life up, then that should be enough to love ourselves. Let’s start loving our bodies. Let’s vow to never say a negative thing about ourselves. While we are at it, let’s be natural and perfect in the skin we are in. You and I were created to be unique and wonderful works of art. So no more bashing God’s creation. Our future generation will be beautiful because of it, just the way they are.