What Goes In {daily decisions on what we see}

I made a decision a while ago to stop buying magazines.  I do love magazines, and I am sure there may be a plane trip in my future one day where a magazine is the most appealing option.  Even now, when I step into the supermarket, I linger momentarily by the magazines.  Always by the door.  I go in for milk, but maybe I also need a free mascara and another pair of sunglasses that will snap within three minutes of wearing them.  And if I’m honest, it’s a real pull.  There are 3 shades of nail polish.  Which one do I want?  I think I have all three shades already….but which.one.do.I.want?

Then common sense prevails and I remember I don’t need any of them and I wander off to get…what was it? Oh yes…just milk.

But even if I’m able to resist thicker eyelashes and pristine nails, the main reason I gave up magazines was because of the pictures and representations in them. Because I think they can be destructive.

We live in a world where the mass media sets women against each other.  The messages are vast, and mixed, and flawed.


When they are not painting pictures of superbly honed women, tanned and slender, setting them on pedestals that are high and wobbly, they are painting pictures of the same women first thing in the morning, no make up, baggy clothes.  They are off the pedestal and there they are for our general amusement.

What message is this for a generation of women?

Look perfect, and we’ll Photoshop you so you look a little bit more perfect and then we’ll parade you around until every other woman feels utterly inferior.

Look less than perfect, and we’ll super zoom into every spot and blemish on your face, draw a red circle around it and make you a laughing stock.

I have a daughter and I want her to know she is more than the sum of her outward appearance.

I have a son and I want him to know that a woman is more than an object to be desired.

So that’s why I gave up magazines.  I don’t want to subscribe to an image of womanhood that encourages us to worship each other while simultaneously tearing each other apart.

This is not God’s design for women.

Rather, we are called to a different standard.

Romans 12 2


Do not conform to the pattern of this world.

How encouraging is this verse?  So rich with understanding of what we would face. Written so many years ago but with modern resonance as we face a world’s pattern that is completely at odds with our faith.  As we navigate our way through a pattern so intricately tied up in things that are so temporary and fleeting – things that are designed to destroy our self-confidence and our relationships with others – we can know this: we can be transformed.

But it is a decision.  We daily decide what to fill our minds with.  What we click and view online, what we pick up and purchase, what we select when we are browsing through a TV guide…

I remember seeing a particularly unflattering picture of a female celebrity once with the caption “oh no, I need eye bleach!”  And maybe that would be a great product if we could expose our eyes to anything and everything and then clean it off so that we were left untarnished with no imprint of it left.

Although it’s not just our eyes is it?  What we see affects what we feel.  What we feel affects how we behave.  It’s not as simple as erasing the memory of something we saw or watched or read.  That’s why charity  advertisements are graphic in their portrayal of need.  We react when we see something that moves us, or challenges our emotions.  And I’m not criticising them for that because sometimes if we don’t see something, even if it’s harrowing, we don’t understand it.

But in today’s society we need big filters.  We are bombarded with images; we are heavily assaulted daily when we turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, pass by a billboard, browse the Internet…

What better filter, then, than the word of God?  To make daily decisions to fill our minds with whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable… (Phil 4:8).

When we set our minds and hearts on the things of God, we can be sure of his transforming power.

When we saturate our souls with prayer and scripture, we will be transformed.

We need a generation of women to know they are more than the sum of their outward appearances and we need a generation of men to know that a woman is more than an object to be desired.

Grace and Love

Helen x











  1. Maggie Ramsay says:

    Thank you. Needed to hear that tonight x


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