I heard John Eldridge on one of my favorite radio programs awhile back (Live the Promise with Susie Larson) and I was a bit dumbstruck at how he had pegged the heart of a woman. ‘Every little girl asks her Daddy two questions- “Am I beautiful? Am I worth fighting for?”‘ If the Daddy affirms the little girl through words and actions- she grows up with healthy self-esteem and gets a great start in life. If not, well, she has mountains to overcome.
Every little girl wants to be a beautiful princess. In the heart of every woman is still that longing. Beauty, or the lack of it, can be a lifelong source of immense pain.
I look back to my childhood and the way some off-handed remarks from my Dad affected me deeply. I had been a very skinny child and when I hit puberty and started to fill out (which is normal and healthy) my Dad made some suggestions to me that I should think about losing some weight. He probably didn’t mean any harm but the enemy used the words (among other painful experiences) to start a massive downward spiral. I equated thin with ‘lovable’ and ‘worthy’. It wasn’t long before disordered thinking and eating took over my young life. It wasn’t long before I was looking to boys to give me a sense of worth.
It is something I am still working through, honestly. My best friend rolls her eyes when I tell her about my latest diet or whatever. “You know you are anorexic, right?” she says teasingly.
I have so much compassion for women that dress provocatively or engage in reckless and harmful behaviors. She is being driven by this insatiable desire, this longing, to be validated as beautiful and special. If that need isn’t met in a healthy way so often women will try to fill it by any means necessary.
In so many ways it is a brutal world for women. The culture is degrading like never before. A quick google search revealed that 77% of Americans view pornography once a month. I can’t wrap my mind around it. The statistic seems really high to me, but regardless- it has had a massively negative affect on both genders. And the popularity of books like the 50 Shades of Grey series are reinforcing the Devil’s lies to women that they can find love and worth in unhealthy sexual behavior.
I remember the uproar a few years ago when popular actress Evangeline Lilly was quoted as saying, “I spent many nights crying myself to sleep wishing I was ugly because of the way men leered and disrespected me, because they assumed things about my mental capacity or my physical willingness based on the way I looked.”
I remember it striking a cord with me. I read the comments on articles and it revealed the depth of pain women experience. One women said she had never been called beautiful her entire life, you could hear the pain in her voice. Many women think that by looking a certain way, they will finally be happy and fulfilled. The example of reality start Heidi Montag comes to mind. She underwent a gazillion (slight exaggeration!) surgeries trying to turn herself into an unrealistic ideal. She said, “I was an ugly duckling before.” I think she was very pretty, many girls would love to be as ‘ugly’ as her before picture. Before we judge her too harshly let’s hear what she said recently,
“I definitely regret the surgeries that I have had over the years, I think I was so young and in such an unstable situation in my life with so much going on and so much pressure,’ she said. ‘It is really hard to be a woman in this day and age with all the media and internet and comments, there is so much more negativity coming at people, it is a lot easier to be insecure and let that get to me.”
I understand what it is like on both sides. I’ve been labeled as ugly and felt that pain, which was tremendous. I’ve also had to deal with a lot of unwanted attention. I remember once walking through Wal-mart (minding my own business) when two young men passed me, giving me the once over, then were discussing my looks while still in earshot of me. And just recently a man at the gym kept trying to give me tips on my form and was grabbing my arm. I don’t know if he had any bad intentions but it was intimidating and unwelcome. I’ve had many experiences reflecting the lack of respect and honor for women today.
There is just so much brokenness for women. Dealing with leering if you are attractive. Coping with the pain of being overlooked if you aren’t. Facing a world in which you are constantly judged by your appearance.
What is the solution? Firstly- men please keep yourself pure. Porn is SO destructive in so any ways. It has negatively shaped this generation of young men and the way they view and treat women. Lavish love and attention on your daughters. You have an unbelievable affect on her for good or evil. Tell her she is beautiful and precious to you every day. Don’t ever criticize her weight or appearance. Protect her. Let’s also raise our sons to value, honor, and respect women.
As much as women don’t want to admit it; men- we need you. Men were created by God to protect women and children. Satan loves to pervert that into men using their God-given strength for evil. But we need you to be strong. To be men of valor and courage and righteousness. We need you to be strong and turn back the tide of this satanic attack we see overtaking the entire world. “What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8:4-6
Women- I know it a such a tough battle. We need to daily be in God’s word, in prayer, in our spiritual armor or this destructive world system will tear us up.
I believe God would declare over each and every one of his daughters, “I am enthralled with your beauty. You are special. You are MY princess. You are worth fighting for. I love you so much.”
We need to go to our Heavenly Father and let him speak worth and value over our lives. Goodness knows we won’t find it out in the World.
“Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11