Thursday, October 19, 2006
Looking for Worth In All The Wrong Places
I've had the priviledge of providing input for a conference being planned by the men at my church for women. Kind of a "we care about you" event focusing on a variety of health-related issues affecting women. One of the topics we've discussed is "eating disorders" and the umbrella issue of "body image" as it relates to girls and women of all ages. Eating disorders are epidemic on college campuses today. And the ugly seed of thought that sparks this viscious disorder begins long before a young woman hits campus. I know of 10-year-olds who are starving to be thin.
Todd heard someone on Christian radio a while back talking about the differences between boys and girls as it relates to what motivates them. The man being interviewed said this:
"Girls want to be pretty. Boys want to feel they have what it takes."
Beginning at a very early age, girls in our society covet beauty above all other attributes. And boys are competitively comparing themselves to others.
It doesn't take much imagination to look down the road and see the problem. A society of women who are riveted on their appearance (and never satisfied). A society of men who are driven to compete (and never satisfied).
The Bible warns us about vanity and tells us beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31:30). And we are not to compare ourselves to one another (Galatians 6:4). So as we and our children go about life, we are surrounded by cultural influences that fly in the face of how Scripture tells us to live (without vanity and competitiveness).
What does a beautiful woman do when she is no longer beautiful? How does a woman who is not beautiful feel about her worth? And how does this affect the choices she makes in terms of dating, marriage, career, friendships, etc.? How does a man who is overly competitive handle failure? How does a man who is not competitive find his worth? What are the earthly crutches and defaults people sink into when they can't be what the world screams they need to be?
There's a cold and sad reality around the world's response to these types of questions. Addictions. Crime. Suicide. Divorce. Prejudice. Hatred. I could fill up a page.
As Christians, we should know better. We have a Bible that tells us what we should be focusing on (Christ) and how to live our lives (morally pure). In this equation, there's not room for vanity and competitiveness.
Yet, we all go there.
What's the solution? Can we turn things around before we lose another generation of children to hollow lives of discontent and pain?
Coming Monday: Sarah Bragg, author of Body. Beauty. Boys., responds to this post.
(Sports photo by maddog. Woman and cosmetics by demetri just thinking out loud. See flickr.com for restrictions on use.)