Women of Reverence welcomes Simone Allen as a guest blogger.
Simone Allen is on the other side of her twenties and has recently celebrated her third wedding anniversary with her husband, Mike.
They are deacons at Venture Church and enjoy serving in the Connect Group and Set-up ministries. Simone has taught high-school history for nearly 5 years and has a passion for discussing the intersection of the past and present. She is very chatty and particularly enjoys small get-togethers and quality time with friends. Woman’s month is always a wonderful time to celebrate women and our diversity.
In recent years the ad-campaigns and shop specials have taken a particular interest in celebrating women for the whole month of August and not only on the 9th of August.
For an entire month we are reminded through media and hashtags just how exceptional women are and how much potential we have. Its also a time when we receive a few extra 2-for-1 specials, discounts and freebies with a little slogan stamped upon an item reminding us how fantastic we are. In recent years there has also been a major shift in embracing the differences between women – differences in body shape, athletic ability, height and style among the more surface-level topics. But this isn’t really a surface level issue, is it? I am sure that every woman reading this post can identify feelings related to these “cosmetic” topics in some way.
Hopefully you can identify some positive feelings but I have seen an unfortunate pattern in my own thought life as well as among friends, family, learners, colleagues and strangers which suggests that a lot of us struggle with more negative feelings. We have become very good at celebrating other women but also in bringing ourselves down. I do not see Jesus’s heart in this.
In Ephesians 2:10 Paul writes “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT) .You are Gods masterpiece.
The striking thing about this verse is how Gods craftsmanship allows us to be a tool in His workshop. When we are spending all of our energy bringing ourselves down, comparing ourselves to others, or trying to make ourselves better because we don’t think we’re “it”, we are missing out on the opportunities to do the good things He has planned out for us. Think for a moment how much of that mental energy takes your eyes off Jesus and onto yourself. This scripture is not a promise of an outcome if you follow a 28 day diet and it certainly isn’t only accessible if you go to the gym more or keep those eyebrows in shape. You have the immediate opportunity to embrace that you are His handiwork and to allow Him to use you in His Kingdom.
How then, do we make this shift in our thinking?
1. Be thankful:
In Psalms 139:14, the Psalmist writes “I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!” (TPT) Wow. When last did you thank the Lord for making you mysteriously complex? What a beautiful praise to give to the Lord. We are also reminded in the previous verse in this Psalm, how God knit us together with perfect and intricate intention – we should be thanking God for all He has blessed us with since He made us exactly as He intended. When you start to criticize yourself, turn that criticism into praise to the Lord for how He has made you.
2. Be your best for Him:
“You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God!” 1 Corinthians 6:20 (TPT). Adopting a healthy lifestyle should not be in a response to feelings of guilt and poor esteem. When we don’t eat well, we don’t feel good (y’all know that feeling I’m talking about) – and while I love fried chicken as much as the next person, I know I’m not going to feel energetic and healthy if I’m consuming those crispy chicken pieces on the regular. If you have a habit in your lifestyle which is making you feel like you are not able to give your best then it is time to submit that habit to the Lord. In the same breath, if your lifestyle has consumed your life in some way, prevents you from connecting with others or has become an idol in your life, it would be wise to submit that to the Lord too. Healthy eating, exercising and self-care should be used for Gods glory. There is an incredible gift in increased energy and Christ-centered confidence as our mysteriously complex bodies respond to the nutritional and healthy goodies we are putting into them, for His glory.
3. Build each other up:
As women, we get to build one another up and encourage each other through this shared struggle when it comes to body-image. I have seen in my friendship circles that this is an area I am blessed with as my friends encourage me and I hope you are also surrounded by women who build you up and remind you that you are Gods masterpiece. “He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 (NIV)
This woman’s month I hope you will find joy in how God has knit you together. The media may celebrate us for a month, but Jesus celebrates us all of the time. May you find your worth and beauty in Him always.