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.
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.
Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity– Lauren Winner
Are you reading Embracing the Body with us? Share your thoughts so far in the comments.