The Red Couch: Embracing the Body Introduction

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A few days ago, my almost three-year-old son pulled a small mirror off the bookshelf, stared at his four-by-four inch reflection, and said to himself, “Like you.”

Then, with mirror in hand, he walked over to where I was sitting on the couch, planted the mirror in front of my face, and said to me, “Like you.” He proceeded to bring the mirror around to Baby Brother and back to himself, repeating over and over again that simple, two-word phrase.

Like you, Like you, Like you.

Tears stung at the corners of my eyes. Because for my little boy, nothing stands in the way of seeing himself as he really is, for beauty that resides in wispy curls and caramel-colored skin and one dazzling, beaming smile.

Life hasn’t led him to believe that he’s too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, with hips too wide and knees too knobby and eyes too close together, and too many wrinkles and too much cellulite and too much wiggly, jiggly baby weight left to lose.

If you’re anything like me, we begin to believe that the “too’s” are who we are and all we are, letting lie after lie, mistruth after mistruth, not only shape but define both our outsides and our insides too.

We forget, as C.S. Lewis said, the dazzling, radiant, immortal creatures we are, that we might pulsate “…with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine …”

We forget that we ourselves are reflections of the Creator, and we forget to see ourselves as he sees us. We forget to see Beauty–who is Christ–in us, for we forget that we are most wonderfully and fearfully made, most delectable in God’s sight.

And we forget to look in the mirror and see ourselves as we truly are. We forget that these beautifully, story-filled, lived-life-fully bodies are likeable.

We forget to hear that simple, perfect truth: Like you. Like you. Like you.

So, is it just me?

Or has our culture adopted a severely warped viewpoint when it comes to issues of body image and identity, neglecting to remember that like our God-stamped hearts, our bodies are good? What would it look like for us to embrace our sinewy selves, the very flesh and bone whose image we were created in and by and for?

Tara Owens’s Embracing the Body: Finding God in Our Flesh and Bone invites us to answer and tackle and wrestle with these questions. Her sensitivity weaves fluidly through effervescent prose, as she helps to deconstruct the web we’ve sometimes unknowingly entangled ourselves in, guiding the reader in rewriting the negative truths we’ve adopted in all things body.

When it comes to body image and sex. When it comes to impulse and temptation, desire and destruction. When it comes to issues of sexuality and fear and union and desire.

Because instead, writes Owens, there’s this: “Our bodies–whole, animate and encompassing so much more that just the material that makes up our skin, bones and blood. Our flesh–the stuff of our bodies, stuff that is neither good nor evil but is capable of bearing habits that move us away from or toward God.” (96) And isn’t this what we, as image bearers of God-made-flesh, really want?

You and me, we desire to move toward God, in a most holy, most effortless, most beauty-filled sort of way.

So, will you join us?

Will you rewrite the story you’ve come to believe about your own body, those lies and mistruths you’ve let define and guide and lead you for too many years now?

And will you consider letting yourself hear, Like you, Like you, Like you–and really, actually believing it this time?

___________

Come back Wednesday, June 24 for our discussion post with Sarah Caldwell.  Join the Facebook group to share quotes and discuss the book throughout the month.

Join us at

On Friday, June 12 we’ll be hosting a live chat with Tara Owens in our Facebook group. Head here for details and to RSVP.

 

The Nightstand at SheLoves Magazine

Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity– Lauren Winner

“The Weight of Glory”- CS Lewis – an essay
“You’re Included”- Cherith Fee Nordling – a conversation
*Recommended by Cara Meredith and Leigh Kramer

Are you reading Embracing the Body with us?  Share your thoughts so far in the comments.  

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.

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Cara Meredith
Cara Meredith is a writer and speaker from Seattle, Washington. Her first book, The Color of Life: A White Woman’s Journey of Legacy, Love and Racial Justice releases with Zondervan in January 2019. She loves a mean bowl of chips and guac, long walks outside, and makes it her goal to dance in the living room every night.
Cara Meredith
Cara Meredith

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Comments

  1. Jennice says:

    From her earliest days, I have taught my daughter, who is seven, to love everything God gave her physically. She is an African American child and she sees women that look like her permig their hair, getting weaves and extensions and she wonders why I won’t allow it for her. Aside from her age, I told her “If God wanted you to have those things, He would have made it so”. She asked if He loved her big fluffy brunette curls and her slightly protruding belly and I assured her that He loved her more than I could. She has a healthy sense of confidence, but I do not. It is easy for me to condition my baby to love herself but no to easy to believe the same of myself. Isn’t that something?

  2. What a challenge!

  3. Abby Norman says:

    yes. yesyesyes. like me.

Trackbacks

  1. […] learn more about “Embracing the Body,” please read the introductory post. Be sure to peruse The Nightstand in that post, which has resources for those wanting to learn more […]

  2. […] Embracing The Body is on my reading list. She Loves Magazine is featuring Embracing the Body on The Red Couch for the month of June. There will be a discussion post on June 24, and there is a Facebook group […]

  3. […] Click here to read the rest and to join us at She Loves for this month’s Red Couch book club discussion! Also, I love this book SO much I’m giving away a copy over at the be, mama. be Facebook page …and I’d love for you to be the winner!  Check the page later today – one name will be drawn on Friday, June 6th so you can get to reading!  Otherwise, what part of your body do you need to embrace?  What needs to be rewritten?   […]

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