I am looking for a balance, a respect and brilliance that we are living in these bodies, these temples able to create life within our very selves – without shame and without hiding for my girls. I really like this article – she goes deep and complete through the way many of us women and girls grow in our body shame and how the evangelical purity culture has impacted us.
In response to her article and to keep diving further into this conversation which truly began for me years ago and even was published this year in Holistic Fasionista Memiors – (get your copy here).
For me growing up in the church while being abused then being safe while at bathing pools enjoying being in my natural state outside of guilt, has given me a different perspective on the body and modesty than most. That said, self respect is so beautiful and my friends who married as virgins do tend to have fabulous sex lives, over the ones that for whatever reason choose differently.
This article get’s you thinking and also really is in line with the chapter I wrote in “Holistic Fasionista Memoirs” about self worth. This stereotype and female worthiness issue goes far wider than the church and it is not only females, it is males too. Matthew 12 keeps coming to mind when I think of this male/female blame issue when it comes to the standards around sexual virtue. We are ONE Christian- BODY full of brothers and sisters not two. And after marriage we are ONE body – in marriage. And so if we are divided against each other – setting a standard for women to be a certain way because the men can’t control themselves otherwise, blaming and grumbling holding one responsible for the other – we both are responsible for ourselves and satan uses guilt and shame to divide us, amongst ourselves and sexual relations is one way he has dug in deep.
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29“Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.
30“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
For the record I do think that life would be much easier if we all held our sexuality up as a gift. Mine was never treasured, I lost that before I ever even knew I had it. And for me as for many of the women I speak to when they “gifted” their sexuality to another it was healing because it had been stolen. And for many it is not because we wore any kind of clothing or not. This culture does not have a clothing problem (Adam and Eve were naked) this culture has a respect problem, self-control issues and all the shame and guilt only adds fuel to the fire.
I wish I had learned to LOVE my body, respect and cherish my sexual desire and understand the beauty that I have learned from hours and years reading and praying within God’s word in Song of Songs. That is what we should be teaching. When you love yourself that much, you will know when someone else is loving you that much and marriage will be and so will be a celebration between two of God’s people joined as ONE. No more guilt, no more shame, no more blame – just LOVE. When we know this, even if we are hurt we will know that even if our bodies are hurt or used, even by our very selves – the body is not to blame, in all things we can forgive and be forgiven and through Christ Jesus all is restored to good – for on the 7th day God was blessed with ALL His creation. PERIOD
This is the balance the respect and reverence I hope to share with my girls as they grow to women.