Wisdom for the Teen Years: Day One
caught, not taught
By Niki Hardy
Read Psalm 139: 13-16
“Mum, don’t make that face.”
“What face?” I asked, turning to see the back of my reflection and check out whether the jeans I was trying on made my bum look big.
“That face, where you screw your nose in disgust. You do it whenever you try anything on.”
Wow. Had I really done that?
My problem was twofold.
First, I had no idea I was making such a horrified face, and second and in my defense, my thinking face - the one that says “Hmmmm, I’m not sure about these” – is a duplicate of my horrified “Oh my goodness I look like the back end of a bus,” face.
Either way, I’d been busted by my teenage daughter.
How was she to grow a healthy self-image, love her body, and be proud of how she’s made if her mother always looked at herself in disgust?
Like her faith, I’m convinced my daughter’s self-image will be more caught than taught. Bombarded with images of seemingly perfect young women, with airbrushed bodies and whitened teeth, any maternal encouragement that she’s beautiful just as she is and that we are made in God’s image will fall on deaf ears if she sees me not embracing it myself. How is she to believe she is remarkably and wondrously made if her own mother doesn’t show her how?
If I don’t want her to look at her reflection in the way I did that day at the mall, I must model self-acceptance and a belief that I am God’s marvelous workmanship. But it’s not easy. I’ve never found it easy.
And yet since that moment, squeezed into a fitting room and a tight pair of skinny jeans (by the way, who decided to call them skinny fit when skinny is the last thing they make you look or feel?) I’ve worked hard to change the way I look at myself and the self-belief behind it. If God knitted me together and I am wondrously made, who am I to look at myself with a face I reserve for sour milk? God made me and He doesn’t make mistakes. He made you too friend, and you are beautiful. We are all the Master Craftsman’s workmanship, let’s believe it.
Scripture Meditation: I pray that you being rooted and firmly established in love, maybe able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-18)
When you look in the mirror what goes through your mind unfiltered?
Whenever you see yourself looking at yourself with disgust or saying something derogatory about your image, try and switch your negative mind talk for God’s truth about you, saying “I am remarkably and wondrously made.”
God’s love for you doesn’t rest on your looks or what you have or haven’t done, but on who He is. Take time to soak in that truth today.
Going forward how might you ensure your daughter’s self-image is more caught than taught? Do you need to use fewer words and more frequently act in a way that shows her you believe it’s true?
Lord God, you made me as I am and I thank you. Help me love myself and my body as much as you do and show me how to model this belief to my daughter. Help us both grow in the knowledge that we are loved, and remarkably and wondrously made. Amen