For Shame or Freedom?

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” … we weave a banner of love as nouns and verbs to guard and protect …”

Have you seen these images floating around the Internet, on your Facebook newsfeed or maybe on Pinterest?

I understand what people are trying to say. Really, I do. I’m a woman with curves myself and I’ve made a promise to my daughters that I will not call myself fat. Trust me, I get it.

But this type of thing?

Not helping women at all.

Because shame never helps.

Has shame ever helped a woman? This is just the other side of that same “You’re not enough” coin. One side telling us that we are not enough because we are not thin and the other telling us that we are not enough because we are not curvy. The coin is flipped–over and over–and all we “win” is the Divide-and-Conquer strategy of the enemy for the daughters of God, a planting and tending of that old Compare-and-Contrast seed of jealousy, undermining relationships, courage, guts, friendship, vulnerability, sisterhood.

We won’t shame each other into wholeness. Or love. Or acceptance. Or freedom. For the anorexic or the obese or the alcoholic or the drug addict or any one else engaged in a battle. We only shame each other–ourselves?–into negative, terrible patterns, behaviours, ways of thinking, bondage, division. Shame is insidious because it can sound reasonable to our own ears, but it always ends in the same place: a prison.

And sadly, so much of what passes as “empowering women” is really only another form of shame, an updated version of “worthless” unless you measure up.

Beloved, the voice of God–in your life, in the pages of your Bible, whispering in your heart, spoken in your own mouth–will not shame you.

No, God’s voice tells you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that he lavishes love on you, that he is the giver of every good gift in your life, that you are treasured, created and chosen.  (You can read more about that here through the Father’s Love Letter.)

And when we are women of God, we speak the same language of love for and about each other,

we weave a banner of love as nouns and verbs to guard and protect,

to trail-blaze, for our mothers, our daughters:

you are beautiful, you have worth, you are valuable – NOW.

I love you, I see you, I hear you, my sister.

So put that on Pinterest.

Source: weheartit.com via Sarah on Pinterest

 

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Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey is a writer and award-winning blogger at SarahBessey.com. She is the author of "Jesus Feminist" (Howard Books). She lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, Brian, and their three children, Anne, Joseph, and Evelynn.
Sarah Bessey

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  • Bek W

    Sarah – what an excellent article! I never really thought about this… I’m very very encouraged and challenged :)

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      Thanks, Bek!

  • Marcus

    Not to mention that there’s not a parallel one in the photos. It has to have cultural relevance as well, which it does not. The same photo seems to ask “Since when did candid shots by paparazzi become hotter than girls posing deliberately as pin-ups?”, or “When did these tiny boobs become hotter than the ones on the chesty beauties below?” When did no makeup become hotter than an overabundance?

    If it were little more than a divergent meme best left ignored, it supposes far too many unintended questions. In many ways, it seems to ask the opposite of the intended.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      Seriously! I never thought of that, Marcus. Good point.

  • Anne Judd

    I agree! I happen to have a few friends who have body image issues because they are too thin rather than too curvy…posts like that photo don’t help them any either. I love your message here.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      Thanks, Anne!

  • http://www.divandmama.blogspot.com Jenn

    You know I love it when you get on your soapbox Sarah! As a woman and a mother of daughters.

    “And when we are women of God, we speak the same language of love for and about each other,”

    This is so important….we really are our own worst enemy a lot of the time.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      We are and so it starts with us, doesn’t it? Ye olde soapbox… ;-)

  • http://janaecharlotte.wordpress.com Janae

    I was born into this closed loop. i need the reminder to step outside of the circle, to start my own soul-circle, that invites, that accepts, that fights the concept of divide&conquer.
    For, we have stayed apart , have stood as arms-crossed-competitors, have continued to perpetuate and guard imaginary lines {and these lines are so damn hurtful}.
    Thank you for speaking, Sarah.
    xo. Janae

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      I always love your comments, Janae -your’e so honest and insightful. Right on.

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  • Joan

    So true, I want this posted EVERYWHERE! we are getting better, with the help of women like you Sarah, get up on that soapbox! I for one know we all need to hear this message of LOVE.
    “No, God’s voice tells you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that he lavishes love on you, that he is the giver of every good gift in your life, that you are treasured, created and chosen” SB

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      You taught me that, mama. Thank you!!!!

  • http://diligentleaves.wordpress.com/ Bristol @ DiligentLeaves

    Wahoo, Sarah! Yes, yes!
    “We won’t shame each other into wholeness!” That line sticks with me. Anytime we are trying to direct women’s (or anyone’s!) self image toward an idealized “standard,” we are missing the truth of wholeness. No matter where we place that standard on the spectrum of female bodies, we are moving away from healthy self/other image. Thanks for your excellent words on this, Sarah!!

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      Amen and amen. Thank you!

  • Adelweiss

    Oh so so so grateful to be with a man who loves me both ways. When I was at my lowest, I was under 100 pounds and desperately depressed. Now I am much higher than that, but my Stephen loves *me*. All of me, all the time. With makeup or without. With long hair or short. I have *never* been loved this way before. I tell him that it’s because of how he loves me that I am beginning to understand how Jesus loves me. (And I was married 18 years before loving this man.) I tell my daughter everyday that she is beautiful no matter what and never to settle for a man who wants her to change her body.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

      Thankful for you, Delly. xo

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