Don’t like what you see? Try a new pair of glasses.
DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TX, January 5, 2016 | Christian News Service | — From the outside, she has it all together. She’s committed to her family, her friends, and her church. Her Instagram account is an inspiration. But behind every carefully worded post and perfectly posed picture is a woman tormented by the voice in her head: Am I pretty enough? Smart enough? Thin enough? Good enough? Successful enough? Am I ever enough?
Author and speaker Elizabeth Oates knows that voice all too well. In her new book, If You Could See As Jesus Sees, (January 2016, Shiloh Run Press) Oates guides women to abandon their negative self-image and begin viewing themselves through a different lens—the sustaining love and character of Christ. “Since I was a child, I constantly wrestled with feelings of self-loathing and self-doubt. I have a hunch that I’m not alone in this struggle,” Oates says. “I think most women—from ages ten to one hundred—wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, doubt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and even self-loathing at some point in their lives. We scorn our bodies, our faces, or our hair. Maybe we even dislike ourselves at our core: our personalities, our gifts, our talents, and our souls. So we spend days, if not years, comparing ourselves to our friends or media celebrities and daydreaming about a different life.”
Oates traces womankind’s ongoing self-worth dilemma back to Eve’s encounter with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Just as Eve believed his lies about God and herself, so do women today view themselves through warped lenses of self-loathing, ugliness, shame, inadequacy, isolation, discontentment, instead of Jesus’ lenses of love, beauty, redemption, belonging, and generosity. This distorted view of self-worth is often fed by both mainstream media and social media, and Christian women are not immune to its pressures.
“Have you ever mindlessly surfed Facebook, only to shut your laptop, feeling lonely, useless, and discouraged? I know I have. It seems everyone around me has her life figured out. Everyone has a great career. Everyone is popular. Everyone takes vacations. Everyone’s kids are all-stars,” Oates says. “Meanwhile, the mainstream media floods our culture with impossible and ever-changing standards of beauty. Now, more than ever, women need to see themselves through the unchanging truth of Jesus’ lens.”
With humor and grace, Oates explores the common factors that negatively influence a woman’s self-image. Topics include competition with others, shame over past decisions or memories of past abuse, body image, unforgiveness, rejection, disappointment with life circumstances, and feelings of inadequacy. Oates combines a conversational style and transparency regarding her own self-worth struggles with the “corrective lens” of solid biblical teaching.
If You Could See As Jesus Sees is an ideal resource for a small group bible study. Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for both individual and group study. Oates also includes several meaningful exercises that will guide readers in confronting some harsh, sometimes painful truths about their thought patterns, unhealthy behaviors, and relationships. As they bring those hidden things to light, women can experience real transformation through Christ.
“The time to step out of the darkness and into the light is now,” Oates says. “Together, as we lean into Jesus and embrace His truth, we can begin to see as Jesus sees.”
If You Could See As Jesus Sees
January 2016 / 978-1-63409-512-9 / $14.99
Shiloh Run Press