photo - put the girls away

Earlier this week I received the newest issue of Weight Watcher’s Magazine. I receive the subscription because a lady showed up at my door last summer. She had eight kids and selling magazines was her first legit job after a lifetime trapped in drugs and prostitution. While I’m normally a skeptic when I hear such stories, there was something about this woman that made me want to cheer for her. So, I bought a subscription.

As I looked at the cover of this month’s issue, I saw a picture of Oprah, who was sharing her newest favorite workout. My eye wandered and saw “101 Ways to Appreciate Food and Fun.” Then, I saw this headline:

“11 Incredible Women BARE ALL: A Weight Watchers First!”

Normally naked women appeared in magazines that arrive in doorsteps in brown paper bags. But, Weight Watchers must have felt adding the word “incredible” somehow justified the word “naked” hanging out next to it.

This got me to wondering: If these women are incredible, then why do they need to be naked? Why are they more incredible without clothes?

Has Weight Watchers has joined “The Naked Bandwagon”?

Yes, there is a naked bandwagon and it’s been around for a long time. You just haven’t seen it in your neighborhood. It mainly circled Hollywood, music, and advertising. Unlike the X-rated adult industry, The Naked Bandwagon insists on portraying coyly-positioned bodies with innocent smiles all covered under the cry of empowerment.

These days, there’s one celebrity most often associated with The Naked Bandwagon. Her recent clothing-free photo garnered over 200,000 shares on social media. While she’s made millions as a reality television star and businesswoman, she’s been deeply impacted by the harsh comments of others:

“I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.”

It appears that her naked photos are her way of flipping off haters who’ve viciously body-shamed her over the years.

I am enough

Yes, there are a lot of horrible people on social media. We should seriously consider making people prove they are responsible enough to use Facebook or Twitter, like making them get a social media learner’s permit. Women are bullied, shamed, critiqued and condemned for their size, shape or style on a regular basis.

It’s no wonder that women are banding together and pushing back.

Now, The Naked Bandwagon is rolling into middle America. The Naked Bandwagon champions want you to believe that posing nude will give you power over your sense of inadequacy. So, if you post a naked photo, then you’ll have the last say over everyone who might have called you “fat,” “ugly” or commented “At least you’ve got a pretty face.”

Sticks and stones may break our bones and shaming names can cut us deep.

Naked or not, we’ve got three big problems:

1. We don’t like ourselves as we are.
2. We don’t feel comfortable in the skin that we’re in.
3. We worry way too much about what other people think.

I’m not immune to those three problems. I spent far too man years comparing myself to other women and I never felt like I measured up. There was always someone who was “more” than me. Every time I didn’t feel that I measured up, I would put myself down.

“If you think like a throwaway person, you’ll act like a throwaway person.”
–Lysa TerKeurst

You can be sure that for whatever area of your life that you feel less than, you treat yourself horribly in that area.

If you don’t like your body, then you’ll treat your body like you don’t like it.

Hate your smile? You probably won’t smile much.

Don’t think that you make good decisions? Then, you probably letting other people tell you what to think or influence how you act?

While I like the idea of women’s empowerment as it pertains to how we cheer each other on in life, empowerment isn’t enough to create a all-important foundation for our identity.

Everyone wants to have power. When we feel empowered, then we don’t feel at-risk.

But, the quality of our power depends on its source. That’s why I like the following verse:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:6

There was a pastor in the New Testament named Paul. He sent a letter to his protégé Timothy to encourage the young man to boldly live out the call on his life. Paul references Timothy’s mother and grandmother as women of great faith and calls Timothy to that same conviction. I love that Paul highlights these women, who lived in a time when women were not often respected.

Imagine what would have happened if Timothy’s mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois) spent their days in fear of what others’ thought? Instead, these women knew that their empowerment to live their convictions came from God himself. That’s real empowerment!

These women were energized by God’s lavish love, the power of the Holy Spirit and the ability to patiently endure whatever came their way. While these women lived in a world that was not “for them,” they thrived because of their divine connection to an endless source of power.

For my fellow sisters in Christ, hear me on this: You’ve already got the power.

In Jesus’ name, you’ve been freed from the fear that you aren’t enough as you are.

In Jesus’ name, you’ve been freed from the shame of whatever happened in your past, whether it was forced on you or you did it to yourself.

By the power of the Holy Spirit living within you, there is no more need for shrink back or live small. God’s calling you to live BIG for Him. Honey, you can’t wait around for others to give you approval.

Stop waiting for people to give you self-worth. You are worthy because you are God’s precious daughter.

Now, live like it…with your clothes on.

1-Weight Watchers May/June 2016

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