Defining Beauty

I couldn’t begin to tell you where the time has gone. It feels like ages since I last wrote a blog. I can feel within me a slight emptiness as I have not been able to exercise my love of writing for some time . Seasons change, and I do believe there is a season for everything as the book of Ecclesiastes tells us. I am the first to admit that I have not made writing my priority recently, what with work in the ministry, a stream of CrossFit competitions and running my women’s bible study. I did indeed lose a little balance and things didn’t quite fit into a neat and tidy routined box, but you know, that’s ok. I am pleased with the things I have achieved and the lessons I have learnt about myself and God through every one of these activities.

One thing I do yearn for when I head back to the UK for my home assignment, is stolen moments in coffee shops writing the hours away.  Complete with a cosy fire beside me of course. How else will I emotionally prepare myself for wind and greyness of my little British Island 😊

When God gives us a gift and a passion for something I fully believe he expects us to steward it well in order to bless others. I am excited to continue to walk in this.

As mentioned above Over the past 6 weeks I have been running a Women’s bible study for the ladies in my church, this has been a mix of Thai and foreigners.  I cannot begin to tell you how special it is has been. Listening to woman share their hearts and dreams with one another is truly special. The aim of the study was to create a vulnerable, open space for woman to share honestly. Nothing they shared would be looked upon with judgement. It was an opportunity for me to share my story with them and to encourage them in their journeys. This Bible Study has reinforced to me how much of a passion I have for women to walk boldly in their true identities and to discover their callings.

Within the study, a subject that we spent a session lingering over was body image, this is a sensitive topic that is greatly discussed at all lengths here in Thailand. It is an area that has long been deliberated over. How you look is important here, how you dress and especially your weight is a topic of conversation. When shopping for clothes I am told that they have sizes for, “big woman”. If some extra pounds find their way to my waist line. Its noted. The most difficult thing that I have spent 2 years trying to process and shun is the way that my body is looked at in the midst of the red-light district. No matter if I am setting up shop in the café, if I am outreaching into the bars. I will be looked at sexually. There comes a point where you get used to it. You learn to switch off from it. It does not however stop a little piece of your soul feeling sad. At times anger flares up, others, it passes me by. When I think of the women that work the streets at night, I think of the looks they endure for a living. Looks of lust, looks of disgust, looks of rejection. What must that do to a person’ s heart? When did we get to place where the heart and mind is so blatantly disregarded in favour of flesh? Talking to the girls in my bible study I have come to understand that this issue stands true for all of us. In a world that demands perfection, how do we grow strong in understanding that we are enough. Muscles or slim, big thighs or little. It’s not ok to be defined for tBLOG SEPTEMBERhe way we look.

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.” – Audrey Hepburn

In Bangkok, I am surrounded by bodies for sale. I am in a culture where beauty is of great importance. My hope and desire is to create a space where we can love one another in the absolute best way we can with no pre- requisites.  Every day I speak words of love and kindness over the girls I work in close proximity with. I want them to know that God created them on purpose for a purpose, where we see imperfection, God sees perfection, he is not concerned with the things we consider to be beautiful.

Upon entering a bar on a Friday night for the purpose of outreach, I can see the result of lust. I see people that are intoxicated by the human body. Eyes cannot be torn away.

My purpose of writing this is not to shy away from attraction of the human form. We are beautiful, and I believe God wants us to appreciate the beauty in one another. Attraction is a good thing. What I am trying to establish is where things got twisted. Where did the line get crossed? When we indulge in the flesh we see affairs happen, we see all sorts of sexual activity take place without consent, we also see obsessions, lack of self-esteem, extreme diets, a culture that tells us to be perfect, to fix the “imperfections”. I don’t think this was ever intended for us.

It is incredibly difficult to change a culture, but I believe it starts with us and the ability to both empower ourselves and those around us. This has to start with love, we have to love the person that God created, we then must love the ones around us, even the ones that can be difficult to love. We are all at fault of objectification. We love beautiful things and we all love to seek pleasure. Sure, we can certainly find the healthy boundaries to this, but we need to recognise that if we just strive to get to know the heart of the person in front of this, we learn to see beyond the looks. Beyond what someone is wearing. This is my heart. I want women to understand that God created us beautiful. I am not merely called into brothels and bars to share this truth, but I need to share this with girls in my gym, women in the church and also with myself.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16 vs 7