I am exhausted. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, I am extremely fatigued, yet spiritually, I feel renewed. Days like today make me so grateful that I have a job that encourages me to bring transformation to the university campus, and the world. As a part of my work with InterVarsity, I began a project for women at the University of Florida called Rahab. Rahab focuses on the unique struggles of women, while using the art of dance to bring freedom, confidence, and joy in identity. The vision behind Rahab is to use the universal struggles of womanhood and the universal appreciation of dance to draw women near to the true Redeemer and Reconciler. Today, in a discussion on body image, 13 women took a stand against conformity and instead, chose to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. This is a glimpse of what it looked like:
“I will eat right to feel and be healthy, not to look right.”
Other commitments included : “I will stop judging others.”
“I will not look for my beauty in males.”
As I talked with my students about this very painful issue in our society and culture, I shared with them some of the stances that I have had to take in my own life:
- I will not buy padded bras.
- I will not buy magazines that exploit my fears and insecurities
- I will not buy music or support artists that degrade women
- I will not hide my femininity
- I will speak kindly to myself
- I will not critique the bodies of other women, including celebrities
- I will stop dieting
- I will go natural
- I will not compare myself to other women
- I will affirm other women in their beauty
- I will eat in freedom
- I will aim to be happy, not sexy
- I will laugh more than I exercise
- I will not be ashamed.
Women, as you go through your journey of embracing your bodies, stretch marks and all, what stances have you taken, if any?
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”-Romans 12:2