Target is my favorite place in the world, other than the fact that I leave there every single time, questioning how I went in for one thing and came out with 7,831 things (slight exaggeration).
But in all seriousness, I was there the other day grabbing a few groceries when I overheard a really tough conversation that went something along these lines:
Daughter: “Mom, can I please just get this kind?”
Mom: “Honey, this kind is less calories. We are sticking with this.”
Daughter: “I don’t like the fat free though. It doesn’t even taste good.”
Mom: “It’s not up for discussion.”
My heart sank.
Trying not to stare, I quickly glanced over at the high school girl hoping to catch her and give her a quick smile. As I met her eyes, I kinda nodded and smiled, almost silently trying to say, “You’re beautiful. Don’t be discouraged”, although I am sure it didn’t translate to those exact words. Her cheery demeanor had been quickly reduced to a state of defeat and that feeling of “Not this again.”
I am certainly not a mother and don’t pretend to understand the difficulty of raising daughters, ESPECIALLY in this day and age, where we have Instagram and every program on television to tell us how we should look, what we should weigh and how much our clothes should cost. However, I so badly wanted to just tell the mother, from a daughter’s perspective, that there is a large difference between healthy decisions and discouraging conversations. Encouragement and constructive dialogue goes much further than deterrence through discouragement.
Body image is just so tough, isn’t it?
You would think by the age of 24, I wouldn’t worry about my skin or my hair, as my skin has always been oily and my hair has always been this color. But for some reason, I still wake up praying it’s changed.
Why? Why do we put so much value in our appearance and doubt the craftsmanship of our Heavenly Father?
Sure, our society and the constant pull it has on the cultural expectations is a driving force but I am convinced that we are capable of rising above that pressure. I know that as women, we are told that we must compete and compare. We have stopped viewing pictures for the beauty they encompass, but rather we see them as the lens to focus on what we lack.
This constant need to prove ones beauty or worth is draining, fleeting and simply too much. It robs us of our ability to have real community because we are terrified to be completely vulnerable, as if removing our mask will reveal flaws we can not show to others. Our closest friends are still held at arms length, not allowing them to ever really “know” us.
And then? We are discouraged or insecure about our lack of community. We forget that it is not that others are disinterested or we are undeserving of their time, but rather that we have pushed them away out of fear of them seeing who we really are.
We miss out on experiences, letting our confidence in our appearance take the wheel. We turn away from challenging opportunities, afraid that we will not measure up so instead, we refuse to try. We go way too deep inside our own heads and start listening to the insecurities, as we feed them and they get bigger and bigger. The tower of fear has heightened, as we have placed brick by brick of anxious thought, one on top of the other, and now we can’t see out.
The comments your mother said to you in Target about requiring “fat-free” everything have now been stamped onto your forehead and you’ve let them receive the mouthpiece for who you think you are. You define yourself based on the wrongful perception of others, the shaky emotional confidence level you feel when looking in the mirror and how you measure up compared to a Victoria’s Secret Angel.
It is never ending. Exhausting. Consuming. All simply too much.
Can you relate to this? If so, can I challenge you something right now?
Go read what your Father says about you. Drop what you are doing and go read His love letter to His daughter!
And just let all that mess go.
Let go the hurtful comments, anxious thoughts, insecurities and comparisons. Let go of the whip you’ve been beating yourself up with and grab a pom-pom.
Friend, it is time to cheer yourself on and BELIEVE what your Father says about you!
You are worth more than rubies.
You are free.
You are worthy.
You are pure.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
You are made new.
You are loved, deeply.
I desperately do not want another year or two or five or ten to pass by and you still being held up by your insecurities. Trust me, I have done that and I am preaching to the choir: YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE!
Praying you are reminded that you are more precious than rubies and crafted by the Hands of the finest Sculptor. You are a treasure
“So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come!” -2 Corinthians 5:17
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.” -Galations 5:1