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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

After reading chapters 2 and 3, on Purity and Community, respectively, in A Girl’s Guide to Marrying Well, I found that I honestly agree with most of it, so this post won’t be quite as fired-up as Part One.

There are a few things that rankled, but others may consider it nit-picky or irrelevant for me to address them.

As one who believes in Health At Every Size and is a minor player in the ongoing Fat Acceptance movement—which should be self-explanatory—I resented the Guide’s use of the phrase “overweight and unattractive” when it suggested that women cultivate inward and outward beauty. (Side note: For a fascinating illustration of the fallacies of the BMI measurement, click here.) I think you should take care of your body and eat balanced, varied meals and participate in exercise, of course, but there’s something to be said for natural weight ranges and different attraction preferences. I don’t diet, and have maintained a stable weight for about a year now. And as for physical attractiveness, I can tell you that I know several women who find “chubby” guys more attractive, and I’ll agree with them in some cases—though I tend to have a broad range in what I find attractive. Doubtless that goes for guys too. But I don’t think “overweight” (over what weight, anyway?) should be lumped with “unattractive.”  I think that’s unfair, ungracious, and lazy.

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Back to the Guide.

The problem with reading a guide—or at least a chapter within a guide—on purity is that I’ve become kind of jaded, almost numb, to such instructions. I think it started with reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye at the age of 12. And it’s not because I am so enmeshed in sexual sin that I don’t care about it anymore. It’s that, having never had a boyfriend (hence the phrase “perpetually single”), I’ve had so little need to maintain boundaries that sexual sin is almost a foreign concept to me.

And I’m not trying to say, “Look at me, I am super-holy,” or “Wah wah, nobody wants me.” I’m just saying, it’s hard to relate. Not that I’ve never faced such temptation before—that’s another story in itself—but God saw fit to remove me from those circumstances before I had the chance to do anything stupid.

Make no mistake: I’m all for purity and abstaining from sexual intercourse until marriage. But I’m also wary of the black and white approach that many of the Guide‘s contributing authors seem to take on physical intimacy in a dating relationship.

First, there’s the argument that, because humans were designed for sex (Really? Just that? Nothing else? Interesting.), a godly man and woman should avoid physical contact when dating because it will start them “down the road” or “along the slippery slope” and other metaphors for simply going too far. As though one kiss will make people lose all control and, before you know it, you’ve lost your clothes and have no idea what happened. So couples should be careful when walking hand-in-hand down the street—because even that bit of physical contact may prove too much, and in the next few minutes they’ll be so overcome with passion that they may progress to hugging, and then one peck on the cheek turns into making out, and then suddenly they’re committing public indecency and getting arrested.

This is yet another situation where balance is so important. I do understand their reasoning for saying that men and women should maintain purity by having as little physical contact as possible. I just don’t think it’s always the best approach.

For some people, even a little bit of alcohol is enough to jump-start a drinking binge. For others, a few drinks now and then is perfectly satisfactory. Still others don’t see a need to drink all. In all cases, drunkenness is still a sin, but for each person, the pathway to sin, and the temptation to sin, is different.

I think that physical intimacy works similarly in people. Because of their past, their mindset, or simply because of their individual physical and emotional makeup, some people are unable to kiss without it igniting a rapid chain of events leading to intercourse. Others can. Some people see hugging as a more sexual form of physical contact than others. In all these cases, fornication is still a sin. But the temptation presents itself differently to different people. For some people, having almost no physical contact only heightens the mental, emotional stimulation, leading to lust in the heart—which is still a sin. (Matthew 5:28, anyone?) For others, and I imagine myself part of this category, the occasional touching, hugs and kisses, are useful, nay essential, to “tide one over” until the relationship can be consummated within the bond of wedlock.

But as I said, I’m not promoting moral relativism: In all these cases, the sin itself does not change. It’s just that the path of temptation can be different for different people.

The chapter on community was pretty great, though of course it was a little over-the-top for me in some areas. But after surviving a period when I faced serious temptation (as referenced earlier), I got a better inkling of the importance of having Christian community, for encouragement and accountability and prayer and all those things. On the mission trip a few weeks ago, I REALLY realized the importance. It’s one of those things that you don’t quite realize how much you need until you get a little taste, and kind of hard to describe. So yes, please, find a trustworthy Christian mentor, and build up a Christian community of all ages. Have a “panel” ready for when you start wondering if this guy is the one, where they can observe and rank him and give you their opinion (“He’s bow-legged.” “He just kicked that dog.” “He is the answer to all your dreams.” I hope your panel’s input will not be so wildly disparate.)

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. Tune in next time for the thrilling conclusion, Chapter 4: Christian Compatibility. It’s going to be delicious.

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It has been exactly a week since I last shampooed my hair.

WAIT!

Where are you going?

Don’t run away!!!

At least let me explain. And then I’ll tell you how it fits the title of this post (sort of).

It all began with my reading an innocent article about how some people don’t use shampoo. I must confess that I had never considered this possibility before. Some experts say that shampoo does more harm than good by stripping the hair and scalp of their oils, which are supposedly self-cleaning and naturally anti-viral. To counteract the damage of shampoo, we use conditioner, mousse, gel, hairspray, etc. etc. etc., and then need shampoo to get the gunk out again, and the cycle continues… But shampooing the oil out of it only causes the scalp to produce more and overcompensate. This is why our hair look “gross” after only a few days of not shampooing.

The idea behind going w/o shampoo (the “no ‘poo” route, as it is known in some Internet circles) is that eventually, after an adjustment period that can take days or weeks, depending on the individual, the hair can achieve its natural equilibrium again, looking healthier and happier than ever before.

SO…I’ve been going without shampoo, and it is, indeed, an adjustment period. Of course, you don’t need to take only my word for it. There are plenty of other resources out there , and I’m only too willing to show them to you. After some Internet research, it seems that a paste or solution of baking soda and water can be used as a sort-of cleanser (not every day—a couple times a week at most, I think), and once that is rinsed out, use apple cider vinegar on the ends of the hair as a natural conditioner. There’s also info about using raw eggs, olive oil, and even salt as occasional natural cleansers, but I haven’t tried any of these yet, though I can attest to the effectiveness of the soda. By Saturday evening, the oil in my hair was nearly beyond endurance. I made a paste of baking soda and water and let it sit in my roots for a few minutes before rinsing it out. It successfully brought the oil down to a bearable level, and my hair looked pretty great the next day—as in, I got compliments from people who didn’t know what I was doing. I think I’m still in the adjustment phase, however. So far I’ve styled it normally, I’ve hidden it under a headband-scarf, and I’ve also done the scrunching-up-the-hair-to-get-waves thing, but that ends up being slightly inappropriate for work. And by ‘inappropriate’ I of course mean ‘terrifying.’

There’s also the “Use less plastic!” and “Use only natural products!” motives for “No ‘Poo” but those aren’t priorities for me. Although I am a fan of recycling whenever possible. I think that conservation, recycling, and reducing waste is all part of our responsibility as Christians to be good stewards of the earth that God created. But as a die-hard free-market capitalist, I don’t think that any such behavior should come from government regulation. (Whoops, where did that soapbox come from???)

But even my mother, who is vehemently opposed to anything hippie-ish and believes that blue jeans and the Beatles directly contributed to the decline of Western civilization, was fascinated and rather supportive when I told her about this scheme. She said it made sense to her—and she’s in the medical field.

But WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Most of the “No ‘Poo” blogs and web sites will not tell you about another aspect of the experience, and this is where the post title comes in! Going without shampoo and observing the subsequent changes in my hair has also taught me something about vanity, prejudice, pride, and vulnerability.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m really vain about my hair, and it’s been a challenge to my pride to do something like this. I hate the fact that I’ve gone to work, or to church, or whatever, knowing that something is slightly off, that I don’t look the absolute best that I possibly could. And there’s a certain vulnerability to that, as well.

Guess what, girls! It’s okay not to look your best! Of course, looking good can often lead to feeling good, but you can’t always be at the top of your game, right? Knowing you don’t look 100% fabulous (only, say, 98%) can help you focus on other, more important things: like Jesus, and relationships that matter, and your job here on earth. At least, that’s how it worked for me. We are imperfect human beings. And I realized, wow, most other people don’t care! Now, I didn’t blast into my office this morning and shout that my hair hasn’t been shampooed in a week, but no one has said anything (though it’s a quiet office) or treated me like a leper. Lesson learned: No one is as concerned about how you look as you are.

I would definitely encourage any ladies reading this to give up something, even for a day, that brings out vain and prideful tendencies. Let yourself be a little vulnerable, and see what happens with your priorities. Observe where your focus goes, instead.

I’m also learning patience in getting through this very oily time, as my hair achieves equilibrium. Though when I make up my mind to do something, I’m usually pretty tenacious anyway.

So that’s what I’ve learned so far. I’m sure there are other, deeper life lessons to be learned from this, but I’m too tired to figure them out right now. I’ll post updates if I think they’re significant enough.

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