Confidence — some of us wrestle with that well into our adult years. I’ve always admired a woman who can enter a room and hold her head up and make that statement about who she is. In fact, her posture alone resembles that grammatical punctuation — the exclamation point — upright and stately.
Whether your struggle is to accept your physical, mental, emotional or intellectual level of confidence, it is still very much a big deal. Yet we can glide below the radar and go undetected by the outside world and no one would ever know about the internal personal anguish we deal with on a daily basis. It’s exhausting when you compare yourself to what you see of others. Our perception, however, is oh, so limited!
As women, we are obsessed with living up to a ‘standard’ which we believe to be the norm — the acceptable level of whatever we consider to be our deficit. We spend hours upon hours, languishing over what to wear to work, an event, to dinner with our families. Am I the only one here who changes outfits at least three times before coming to a settled decision? It’s part of the reason it takes us women so long to get ready to go anywhere. We are fixated on what we think others are thinking about us when they see us, and perish the thought of not being ‘acceptable.’
Looking into the mirror, we find that if we wear a particular garment, it emphasizes the size of our hips and waistline — nope, no horizontal lines today. Leggings, I’m certain that whoever invented those never knew Island girls have hips, thighs and calves to try to squeeeeeze into those second skin things (that also seem to accentuate the cellulite). Long flowy midi and maxi length dresses may be comfy, but they tend to make some of us 5’0″ gals appear as though we’re wearing someone else’s clothing. And now that I’m thinking about it, why are all of these items in my closet? Yes, I’m sure that if I were to link up all those extra hours and minutes of laboring over the ‘perfect outfit,’ it would add up to another human being’s lifetime!
Let me be so bold as to say that when we try to ‘conceal’ who we are — our unique design — our petite (notice I didn’t say s-h-o-r-t) stature, our full-bodied physique, our well-earned facials lines of joy (from miles of smiles), our tenderheartedness, empathy and compassion for those that are hurting, our multi-tasking capabilities, our hostessing and culinary talents — and seek to be a version of what we perceive to be ‘the better version’ of us — it’s always a fail.
We are so afraid to reveal who we really are …
Any place where you find jealousy and selfish ambition, you will discover chaos and evil thriving under its rule. James 3:16 VOICE
The trail always leads back to sin …
Whether it was sin on our part or on the part of those who lived long before us or possibly those with whom we presently live — daggers of words hurled at us in a fit of anger, emotional abuse that was imposed upon us during our formative years, suffering at the tyrannical mercy of a bully, being victimized in a sour relationship — all of these events can take a toll on the human spirit and suffocate the life out of us, causing us to believe the lies of the enemy. Lies that scream that we are not ‘good enough’ to be loved as we are.
Somewhere along the way we allowed thoughts, labels, suggestions to take root within our minds and we adopted them as identity markers. These remarks and comments dug deep into our souls and have occupied the place that should be reserved for the Holy Spirit to speak truth to us about who we are in Christ. That truth is we are treasured by the One Who crafted and fashioned us in His Image.
This verse from the Book of James warns us that when jealousy creeps into the camp of our lives, there exists chaos and evil. And isn’t this what this is really all about, Girlfriend? Jealousy is the by-product of insecurity. Insecurity is the result of not knowing that you are the intentional design of the Master Creator.
Somehow we have allowed the world and its counterfeit values to sum up the true values and virtues of a woman.
Here’s the real deal, Sister — fear of the Lord. Holding Him and His Word in such reverence in our hearts that we wouldn’t think of trying to change who we are. After all, GOD doesn’t make junk.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. Proverbs 31:30 HCSB
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4 ESV
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 NRSV
For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. Ephesians 2:10 VOICE
I believe I just heard the mic drop — and when I read this verse in the Voice translation, I also dropped my jaw. “Heaven’s poetry etched on lives …” That’s a far cry from a sad imitation of some magazine cover portraying an emaciated, airbrushed, fan-blown haired woman (who like doesn’t even exist in real life).
I have considered my own experiences and fully understand the anguish a woman feels when feeling inadequate. Because quite honestly, that’s what this boils down to, Girlfriend. Sadly, we compare ourselves to the woman sitting next to us — her hair is fuller and less gray than ours; her legs are more shapely and longer than ours without a hint of cellulite; her only lines and wrinkles are on her designer leather handbag; her overall physical appearance is healthier and more fit than I. Maybe her public speaking skills are so eloquent you think that she must be asked to appear everywhere. Possibly her ministry involvement is more widely known and seemingly ‘always’ praised by others. Her husband demonstrates his affection for her through chivalrous behavior in public. Her children are accomplished professionals. She just appears to have it all together. Not.
So how do we start to turn around this warped perception of what we think we should look and act like? When do we finally arrive at that place where we accept the beauty of GOD’S artwork?
Quite honestly, Girlfriend, I believe that if we go back to the beginning …
When GOD created Adam and Eve, He said it was ‘good.’ In fact, if you read Genesis 3, the details of how Eve came on the scene is so endearing. After GOD created eve, He ‘presented’ her to Adam. Imagine yourself being presented to the world by GOD Himself. That is a debut that beats out all others. And that is how GOD feels about you.
I’ll tell you straight from me — you have to close those doors to the worldly ambitions and aspirations to measure up to anything that GOD did not put in or on you. Social media and individuals with worldly influence may have a huge agenda and investment in all of the ruckus, but it only leaves you unsatisfied and disappointed. Let’s face it: what was ‘in’ and considered beautiful five or even two years ago, is now passé and outdated. It is humanly impossible to keep in step with all the nuances.
Read what the Bible says about the value of a godly woman. Learn about what amazing strength Biblical women had — intellectual, emotional, physical and mental. Discover what these courageous women learned about the GOD-given talents and abilities (an in many cases, striking beauty) they had and how it left a legacy for those of us who followed behind them. Everything these women possessed to be spiritual leaders and history makers came from the GOD Who fashioned them in His Image.
Grab your journal, Sister, and start to ‘take note’ of the wondrous things GOD has blessed into your life. I’ll take a guess that not all of those things are tangible and seen from the outside. In other words, most of those blessings are unseen and can only be experienced or grasped with the heart and soul.
After you’ve started that list, I want to you review each blessing and ask yourself: “Did it require me to look a certain way or fulfill a prerequisite in order to receive or experience?” Chances are that you didn’t even care at the time you realized you had received from The Lord. And I am sure that you would not want to trade in your blessings because you were having a bad hair day.
Then here is the continuous homework assignment: Whenever (and you know it will happen as soon as you close this reading) someone makes a comment that triggers thoughts about some supposed flaw of yours (maybe that someone turns out to be you), recite one of our Scripture verses out loud so that you can hear yourself dispel (the lie) and declare (the truth). And then like ‘poetry in motion, (recall Ephesians 2:10), walk away from bad influences of darkness and into the light of freedom to be the best version of you!
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the LORD sees into the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 CEB
The Lord sees into the heart — that was enough for me, and I hope the same for you.
The revelation you can experience is one of freedom from the tyranny of worldly oppression to be a poor imitation of someone who doesn’t even exist. The big reveal is found in coming to terms with who you are in Christ — fearfully and wonderfully made!
I encourage you to take the step towards experiencing your unique beauty. Yes, take good care of yourself — eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest — we are temple caretakers — so your physical body is important to GOD, because through it you can reach others for Him. But do remember to embrace beautiful you. The more you do, you will begin to encounter the love of your Creator and learn to see yourself as He sees you. Remember: you were worth dying for.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend —
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary