Painful truth here…I have never felt I was enough. Pretty enough, thin enough, tall enough, smart enough….enough, enough, enough. Ugh. I am fairly confident that I am not alone in these painful feelings. Where does this inadequate feeling originate? I’ve been pondering this the last few days. I can draw a line back to a certain person in my teen years that actually said these things to me. “Beth, you would really look good if you lost weight.” Now, I was a normal size girl, but I started working out to become thin enough. “Beth, her hair is so pretty. Maybe you should try to wear yours that way.” I had thick hair and was attempting to mimic someone with thin hair. Again, I was not enough. “You should…you should…you could be….”
And, it continued. Relationships into my adult years have been muddled with “you’re not enough.” How does that happen? (If you are a psychologist, you are so wanting me in your office right now.) This feeling of not being enough wears me out. It clouds my thoughts. It sets off depression. It makes me question my purpose in life. I am not proud of these feelings and know there are folks reading that are saying “don’t claim that over your life.” Please understand, whether I voice it or not, it’s there. As a matter of fact, I think that keeping things hidden and buried deep in our hearts keeps us from working through them. I’ve been around enough women to know that this is a burden for many.
In a previous job, it was taught that if you didn’t like something about yourself to go get it fixed and move on. Well, there’s so much that I don’t like about myself that I could never afford to fix it all! So, what do we do? As women, we are expected to look good. So, we color our hair, wear 40 lbs of makeup, invest in skin care, go to the gym, get a tan. But, is it ever enough and at what price? I am a firm believer that fat looks better tan. If you don’t believe me, then let’s look at bacon. It’s pretty gross before you fry it! So, I lived in tanning beds starting in my teen years when the first boy told me I needed a tan. I recently had basal cell carcinoma removed. So, I stay out of the sun and tanning beds. However, I feel sure that I still, more than ever, need a tan. So, it will come from a bottle.
You know what Dolly Parton always says, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” Maybe she should say, “this fake.” Most of us won’t go into town without getting all gussied up first. Don’t get me wrong. I believe we should make ourselves presentable, but mercy. Being fake is a lot of work!
Now, I have been trying to remember a time in my life that I actually felt pretty or enough and I can’t recall one time. Not one. Even as a little girl, my brother was the smart one. My sister was the pretty one. Seriously. Maybe that is why I was comfortable dating someone who didn’t think I was enough. I don’t know.
So, today I re-read Proverbs 31. We have all heard of the Proverbs 31 Woman. There are ministries named after it. No where in that description of a Godly women does it mention her appearance. She doesn’t color her hair, worry about her skin, try to tan her fat. Nope. She is a good wife. She works hard for her family. She makes good business decisions. But, most importantly, she fears the Lord. Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Can we start teaching our little girls Proverbs 31 at an early age? How often do you hear someone tell a little girl, “you are so pretty.”? But, do you ever hear anyone tell a little girl, “Your love for Jesus shows.”? Let’s think about our older women, the great grandparents. Do you love being around older women because of their looks or because of their love? Can we change our focus of beauty from being something created and fake to something of love and reverence for the Lord?
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God created us in His image. Let us all try to remind ourselves of that on the days that we are feeling “old, fat and ugly”. Instead, let’s replace that with “loved, protected and holy.”
Men, if you have made it this far with me, I don’t know what stuff y’all battle. I am open to messages to enlighten me. However, I want to encourage all of you to uplift the women in your lives. From the little girls to the great-great grandmothers, remind them that they are beautiful in the eyes of the Lord and also in your eyes. Please, please hold your tongue before you offer a criticism concerning her appearance to a female, no matter her age.
Our society is running opposite of the Proverbs 31 woman. The magazines and social media remind us daily of what is considered pretty and it’s never “enough.” Most of the pictures of these beautiful women have been altered. Imagine what that does to the minds of the women in the photos. Satan is doing a little dance every time we get messed up about our physical appearance. It’s another way that he thwarts our attention on God to attention to self.
Whether we feel beautiful or not enough, we are focusing on ourselves. I am preaching to the choir in this blog. It’s a daily battle. I am in the throes of it right now. I’ll be spending more time re-reading Proverbs 31 today. I so hope that I am alone in these feelings of inadequacy and you have it all together. But, if you are struggling with these feelings, I want us to pray for each other. I welcome your comments.