How do I raise my daughter to know the true definition of beauty in a culture such as ours? How do I cultivate an image in her that is rooted in the beauty of Jesus and not the allure of a distorted sexuality?
Here are three points that I have found helpful in my journey:
Our Culture’s Definition of Beauty
In most societies, feminine worth is determined by how you live up to the cultural definition of “real womanhood.” In Dallas real womanhood is largely defined by physical beauty, and beauty is determined by which men find you attractive, which means feminine worth is defined by the ability to attract men. This is a heartbreaking perversion of why God created two sexes that leaves insecurity and broken marriages in its wake.
The Biblical Foundation of Beauty
God is the definition of beauty because He is absolute holiness, which is why scriptures like 1 Samuel 16:7 and Proverbs 31:30 define beauty internally and teach that God is after our hearts. Our definition of beauty should then begin with godly character flowing from the purity of heart.
We also know from Song of Solomon that God created men to find women attractive, serving as a physical representation of how the Church finds Christ desirable above all things. Thus, any exploitation of women’s bodies for the attraction or the lust of man is a distortion of God’s created intent and a product of the Fall.
Practical Steps for Shepherding
Abandoning our city to avoid the realities of a fallen world won’t reverse the effects of sin in our families. The only solution is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But how do we pursue this? Here are a few practical ways:
- Teach your daughter early and often that God loves her. The Lord designed her exactly as He wanted her. Speak truth to her before she hears the lie.
- Affirm this truth. Tell your daughter she is beautiful and that you love being her father or mother. I cannot say this enough to my daughter, Eisley, and I’m determined by the grace of God to not have her grow up searching for the affirmation she was designed to get from her father.
- Teach her early that sexuality is designed by God and meant to flourish inside of marriage.
- Guard her environment. You cannot avoid all images, but don’t be foolish in what you let your daughter see.
- Take her on dates. Model the unconditional love of the Father through uninterrupted time with her father.
- Develop a family mantra about beauty: “Where does beauty come from? The heart. Why? Because God looks there.”
- Be aware of the schemes of Satan in your daughter’s life. Ex: The mall is not evil in and of itself, but there is a strong pull there to worldly passions. When we leave the mall, I want to tell Eisley repeatedly that I love her, she is beautiful, I love being her daddy and that Jesus loves her.
- Be aware of the schemes of Satan in your life. Satan hates your daughter and wants her worship and destruction. The best way to get to her is through her headship. For the sake of God’s glory in the joy of your children, pursue holiness.
- Pray, beg, plead. Our best laid plans are feeble compared to the craftiness of Satan, and we are desperately dependent on the Spirit to do what only the Spirit can do: open her eyes to Jesus.
As a father with many parenting mistakes in my future, I am still learning. And I know that, more than anything, I need the grace of God as I seek to raise up my daughter in the ways of the Lord.