Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Real Woman

This is inspired by an article I read in the Guardian, and its view point on what defines a "real" woman.

In a society where body image is constantly scrutinised, whether it be the "what's hot and what's not" nature of celebrity magazines, or the constant images and articles written about weight loss, surgery, cosmetics etc being the answer to all life's problems, it is becoming increasingly difficult to have a realistic view on what constitutes "real" or "fake", "healthy" or "unhealthy". Therefore, I resort (once again) to dictionary definitions for an objective definition of "real".

Firstly, the definition of real in the Concise Oxford Dictionary is: "something actually existing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed". Therefore, I believe that the media's idea of a "real woman" does not exist. This is because, as the article says, we see this phrase "the real woman" used and flashed around constantly, but nobody seems to have a firm idea of what it defines, except the fact that often it is used in a derivative way about thin women ie models. The term has become prominent in recent years, as a back lash to the ideals of the extremely thin woman.  At first I understood this point of view, and even empathised with it. This is because I am not thin and probably will never have that kind of body shape, so naturally I am almost totally excluded from the industry of high fashion, and feel unrepresented in the media. I had my view clouded and dictated by what the media told me, and felt almost victimised by images of "perfection" because I wasn't a size 0. When the "craze for curves" began and it was more acceptable for women not to be androgynous I was elated; finally something was being done about the  wrong idea that every woman was inadequate if they weren't thin. But think about it, if the "real women" idea becomes as prominent as the size 0 = perfection idea that most girls & women struggle with, will the media be making the same mistake again? 

For many years I felt victimised and inadequate as a result of the media's idea of a uniform image of beauty, but by allowing the image of the "real woman" to dominate, the tables are then turned on those who are size 0. They will then feel like the victims, the ones who are somehow lacking in something, simply because of their dress size. This is not right. The fact is, that there is no one image of beauty, and no "standard" amongst humans. Everyone was created differently, with different builds and different bone structures. 

Instead of victimising and bullying those who are different, and viewing these differences as flaws, we should be CELEBRATING this diversity and rejoicing in it. I am not advocating any kind of extreme unhealthy shape or way of life, but I am saying that as long as you are healthy then you should be comfortable with who you are and use it to your advantage. It sounds cheesy, but honestly, I believe nothing is more beautiful than a girl who is happy, healthy and confident with who she is. That for me is the image of the "real woman", regardless as to whether she is a size 0 or a size 16. It has taken me a long time to realise this, and it has done me the world of good to understand it.

Friday, 20 January 2012


This word, this emotion has been a big part of my life for so long, and keeps raising its ugly head. As I wrote in my last post, I was scared of Jesus. Scared of going to him, all my doubts, all my fears, instead of being voiced were simply being bottled up. It wasn't until after I reread my last post that I realised, almost everything within it was related to fear. It was fear of something or someone in almost every paragraph, there behind the words. I knew then that God was there. It wasn't a huge, time halts and everything is a blur moment, but it shocked me. I hadn't realised that I had been hiding from God. I hadn't realised that I had become so afraid of showing Him (and anyone else) my true feelings. This is the revelation that has reached me in the last week, and I know that the spirit is still, and I pray will continue to transform my heart.I listened to a podcast by Andrew Wilson: The Right Kind of Fear. Something clicked inside me and I'm finally beginning to understand.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes fear as: "an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm." Is it right to really fear this from God? Is it right to feel the same kind of fear of Him as I would with someone who I thought would harm me, someone who was unpredictable and vindictive?

Its says throughout the bible that God is loving, and kind and faithful. He is constant and unchanging. In Psalm 86:15 it says:"But, you oh Lord are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness." Therefore, how could He be a vindictive, harsh God? He who shows such compassion and mercy is not to be feared in this way.

However, it also speaks of "fearing God" throughout the bible, and even in the same Psalm (verse 11:"give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name"). But this is often also partnered with praise and adoration. So how do I fear God, without feeling a sense of terror?

This is where the second definition of fear comes in: the verb "to fear" can also mean "to have a sense of reverence and awe of something." This means that I am not without ignorance of God's power. I know he is huge and more awesome and powerful than I could ever imagine: JESUS CALMED A STORM! But alongside this knowledge of power is the knowledge of his character: Merciful, compassionate, loving and faithful. For me, the best illustration of these two things is in this verse:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16
This verse shows his love for us, in that he GAVE his ONLY SON to save us, us humans who make so many mistakes, and mess up so much, so that we could go to GOD as we are,and he would see in us, the perfection of his son. The next part of the verse saying we would get eternal life shows his immense power: JESUS  DEFEATED DEATH.
It means God is so much bigger than my problems, and he has the power to overcome every situation and fill it with good. This both scares me, because the fact that he can blow my fears out of the water is HUGE, but the fact that he is on my side fills me with joy and hope and life.

THAT is the awesomeness of God. And that is the reason why  I can do all things in Christ, because he gives me strength, and through my weakness his strength is made perfect and glorious. I need not fear, I can bring my worries and weakness to the cross, because JESUS LOVES ME, because GOD IS POWERFUL AND ABLE.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Long Time No See.

I haven't written for awhile now...but I thought since it is the start of a new year I should write something.
You may want to know, or you may not even care, why I haven't written for awhile. Honestly, it has been hard. I haven't known what to say. I think that's because I haven't been honest with myself, so I didn't know how to write anything honest on here, because I never want to write anything which is untrue; part of the point of this blog is honesty.

I have been struggling for awhile now with my faith. It has been a real low point. Although I have settled into university (finally) and made friends, I still feel like I haven't become close enough to anyone, to talk about these struggles with them. I literally do not know where to turn. I have tried praying so much, but I can't hear God. I am beginning to think He's deaf. I also haven't been near my bible for ages. That is mainly because it frightens me. That when I read it there are passages that raise more questions than they answer, and because I don't feel I know anyone well enough to talk these questions through I feel alone. Again I pray, but I hear nothing and see no response.

Recently, the information for a youth event which I have been waiting for since last August was put online. I looked again but the reality of it is scaring me. How can I tell people about my faith when I am barely certain of it myself?! How can I tell others about how good and loving God is when I am almost blind to this?! That is the other reason I didn't phone the person in my church about being involved in a church plant. Because, is that still God's plan for me? Is that still what I should do? Last year, international mission was laid on my heart more strongly than anything else. I have a passion for it. But with things not being great in the last few months, I feel like I am not and will not have the ability to do it. How can I explain to anyone that worship is nigh on impossible, and I am almost scared to go near my bible?!

I mean, maybe that is why I am on here. Finally able to be honest after the last few months have been so hard. I need God, now more than ever, and while I am doubting a lot, I still want it to be possible for Him to reveal himself in all his glory to me.

Don't worry,I am nearly finished! I am just going to leave you with some of my new years resolutions:
1) Do not fear new things
2) Make time for God
3) Be myself