Who is your shepherd?
Who is your shepherd? The Faking It Project researched women’s magazines and found in the images a message that says ‘to be happy and normal, young women should be thin, sexy and beautiful’ (p. 102). (God tells us two of these things don’t matter and the other is a negative.) Another message in the magazines is ‘it’s up to you to take action to solve your own problems.’ (p. 104). Again, in contrast the scriptures tell us that we are formed to be part of families and communities, we need each other. A Christian is a child of God with brothers and sisters.
What is the impact of viewing these glamourised images? The following have been documented ‘Poor body image, lower self-esteem, anger, anxiety, shame [and] self-surveillance’ (p. 105). This message is not helping us. Jesus is such a different shepherd, he said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
While many bosses, ideologies and leaders are interested in you for what they can get out of you, or what they can sell you Jesus is a giver. Jesus said “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) Jesus is the shepherd who has literally already died for you on the cross. He not only gave himself for us, he knows us, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). There is a shepherd who tells us the truth and doesn’t lie to us. There is a shepherd who doesn’t lead us to anxiety but to peace, not to anger but to joy, not to shame but contentment, not to isolation but to community and his name is Jesus.
(References taken from Selena Ewing, ‘The Faking It Project: What Research Tells Us about Magazines in Young Women’s Lives. Pages 99–108 in Getting Real ed. Melinda Tankard Reist. Spinifex, 2009.)