When you’re not the prettiest one in the room
This is not an easy post for me to write. There are a number of reasons for this. Suffice it to say, it’s enough for me to tell you that cultural elements, childhood teaching and influences, and my own personal woundings are the threads that formed a cord that coiled, one strand at a time, around my heart and mind. And, of course, an enemy with a lie and a plan…
We are walking along the road, Mister and I, enjoying our nightly debriefing. We’re talking, of all things, about the Miss Universe pageant just recently held, which we’d not watched. And in the darkness, I say it.
“You know, right, that it’s extremely hard for us women?”
He’s walking ‘longside me, so close that I can touch him. “I’m sure it is.” That’s what he says, and I know that he’s heard what I did not say.
A parade of women in tiny suits with shapely, perfect breasts. Tight bottoms that don’t sag. Long, muscular legs with no cottage cheese, and stomachs as flat as planed boards. At the thought of all that perfection, my stomach squeezes tight, heart racing, and the old familiar distress, it comes flooding.
Bodily perfection. Cultural standards, and a lifelong curse of shame.
Toxic stew. It sure was that, and a horrid, debilitating deception.
Beside me in evening’s dark, he speaks. “But they don’t have what you have.”
He’s speaking to me from his heart.
“What’s that?” I say, I with my short legs, my not-tight bottom and the tummy that isn’t quite flat.
“You got four boys out of this deal.” I think I can hear him grinning. “And you have a loving husband.”
I know that he’s right. He’s wonderfully, gloriously right, and with tender words and a love that is wise, he calms my fluttering heart.
This morning, here in my country home, it’s quiet, and still. A holy hush lies over the room, and the lights on the tree, they are shining.
I’m sipping caramel coffee in the bright, cheerful mug, and I’m thinking about bodies, and perfection. About shame and despair and all that it means, how it’s based on a terrible deception.
The message I received about my body was this: that it was shameful. Dangerous. An object.
But what Father told me one day on the road is this, that He’s handcrafted my vessel, a place for Him to live. That He’s made it with care, and it’s good. It’s so good.
What culture says everywhere that I look is that I should be a sexual object. That bodies themselves and beauty and youth are the altars at which I should worship. That my value is measured in inches, and pounds.
Inches and pounds and the smoothness of one’s skin. Now, that is a hellish formula.
When you aren’t the prettiest one in the room, this lie only leads to despair. Bitter fruit, and God is not its author. And this, too, is what I’ve come to know, that the prettiest are insecure, too. That’s so sad.
It is sad, and it’s false. What we need here is truth, and the truth that brings healing is this…
We are loved. Extravagantly. Lavishly. Forever and ever, and always without condition.
You are loved. So am I, and God is our Father if our hearts have told Him the ‘yes.’ Oh, His love.
We are mothers and daughters. Sisters and cousins. Neighbors and teachers and friends. And more…
We are love-ers. For this we were made. Love-ers of Him, and love-ers of others.
Birthing love. And this is what satan is fighting. Uses shame.
In this high, holy season, a Light has dawned in our darkness. The Light that puts sword’s tip through shame. Through despair. That Light, He is truth, and that Light, He is Love.
You are precious. You are valued. You are gorgeous (oh, your heart). For He’s come.
Our saving Redeemer has come.
Merry Christmas from my heart to yours,