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Stop Calling Me Beautiful: An Interview With Author Phylicia Masonheimer

In a recent interview with CBN.com, Phylicia Masonheimer discussed her book Stop Calling Me Beautiful. In it, she talks about the “pink fluff” women’s theology that has gained in popularity. She shows how legalism, shallow theology, and false teaching keep you from living boldly as a woman of the Word, and how you can dig deeper in your study time with God, pursue truth, and experience God’s presence in new and powerful ways.

What inspired you to write Stop Calling Me Beautiful?

This actually started with a blog post of a similar title called “Dear Women's Ministry, Stop Telling Me I'm Beautiful.” It was talking about how many women's ministries and Bible studies concentrate on this message, on beauty and identity and this teaching that’s very superficial, and that women were quite frankly tired of hearing about themselves. They wanted to hear about Jesus, because hearing about themselves wasn't actually changing anything. They weren't seeing any fruit in their Christian life. I vented my frustration with this ideology and said, “We just need to hear more about Jesus.” The post went viral, which told me that obviously it wasn't just me who was struggling with what was going on.

How can we cultivate holy curiosity?

“Holy curiosity” is a term I use for a spiritual, and even slightly emotional, desire to go deeper with God. So how do we want to go deeper with God? Well part of it starts with not waiting for your emotion, but actually stepping out and saying, “I know the facts that God reveals Himself through the Bible. So I'm going to show up to the Bible and ask hard questions of this text.” And as we do that, the Holy curiosity kind of develops. So it's both an emotional thing, but more so an intellectual choice to be curious about who God is and to come to the Bible wanting to know Him instead of just wanting to know more about ourselves.

For a woman who's looking to start or re-establish her Bible study and to cultivate a deeper devotion to God, where would you recommend that she start?

I usually say to start is you're not impressing anybody. There is no trophy for this. It's you and the Lord going deeper together. God's not judging you because you've never read the whole Bible straight through. You can start [with something simple like] the book of John and read a little passage each day. I like to suggest asking two questions: Who is God in this passage, or what do I learn about Him? And then how does this change how I live? When you start out asking who God is, it changes how you come to the Bible and you'll start looking for things, looking for themes and looking for attributes. And then once you know who He is, you can establish how you should respond.

What does a heart of worship look like?

A heart of worship is reflected really well in the book of Psalms. David gives us a really great example of what a heart of worship can look like. And it's not just singing songs. I think some of us think worship is only singing, but actually it's offering worth, and attributing worth to God. Worship [is] adoration. A worshipful heart concentrates on who God is, focuses on His attributes, looks for Him in scripture. And it isn't coming to scripture with that consumer mindset: What can I get out of this? Even though we do benefit, it's coming to it with that desire to know more about Him and to walk with Him, to offer worth and attribute worth to Him.

A thread throughout your book was diving into God's silence during Dinah's grief. How can we still find hope in the midst of God's silence in our struggles?

This is a very relatable section for myself because of my own struggle with an unhealed autoimmune disease. I think when we aren't getting the answer to the prayer and it's been four years, five years, 10 years, 20 years, it can be easy to think God is not hearing me. I read this quote [that] said God's silence is not His absence. He is still present. And again, it goes back to that, what do I know about who God is and how do I trust that when it seems like He's not answering me? How do I choose to trust Him when I'm not getting what I prayed for? And that's why knowing about God's character really sustains us in God's silence because we can know who He is, even if [we are] not hearing from Him right now. And that's [our] basis for faith.

How does God redeem broken sexuality?

A lot of this comes back to what we believe about ourselves and the lies that we're accepting from the enemy and from our own shame. When it comes to sexuality, we tend to believe that our identity is in our failures. God preaches a whole different message of hope and restoration to women who are struggling this way. So for God to redeem our broken sexuality, the key isn't more rules or better accountability, [and] though those things are fine, they aren't going to protect you from, from going “too far”. They aren't going to remove the shame from being abused or sleeping with your boyfriend or whatever it may be.

The key is to know and believe the love God has for you. In 1 John 1 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And that's the verse I held onto during my own struggle with sexual sin because it's a promise that He will cleanse me of all unrighteousness, not some, all of it. But for that to happen and for me or anyone to walk free, they have to believe that God loves them enough to do that. Until we believe that, we will continue to doubt that we can truly be redeemed, that our sexuality can be restored. So it all centers on God's love.

To purchase Stop Calling Me Beautiful: Finding Soul-Deep Strength in a Skin-Deep World:

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Phylicia Masonheimer
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