Be this, be that.

Before I can even remember, I’ve been told what kind of girl I should be.

Now, years down the road, I’m left being told what kind of woman I should be.

Not much has changed between the two, and the biggest similarity is they both are labeled with “must” be this or that, not try to be, not hope to be, but you “must” be. If I’m not, I’m looked down upon by others – family, friends, the world.

Am I scorned? No. Am I banished? Absolutely not. We live in a country where we do have the freedom to be ourselves. However, that freedom is more of a blank statement than an actual privilege girls and woman take advantage of.

Freedom is something we should be able to do, without being questioned. I don’t wake up day after day, with people at my door, questioning my voice or my opinion. I have the freedom of speech, and to be quite honest, I could yell for the world to hear, and not many would notice.

I may not be admired or liked for the things I say, but I do have the freedom to say what I want. No one ever questions that.

Why is it then, that we allow others to question what kind of women we are allowed to be? Why is it that we let others dictate with their opinions and actions, what kind of beautiful we decide to be?

This is me saying, I’m done with it.

The world will try day in and day out to force you to believe there are only certain kinds of beautiful. Is the media to blame? Partially. However, in my opinion, we let media become the monster it is. Girls in this world value pop stars and actresses more than they value the opinion of their God; more than they value the incredible, and world-changing women of the Bible. You may think that’s old-fashioned, and that’s fine. Again, I have the freedom to say and think what I want. But isn’t it a little silly and yet ridiculous that girls grow up with the fear of NOT being accepted by their peers, simply because they don’t look or possess what the “famous” girls and women of this world do? Isn’t it a little ridiculous that they fear not being accepted by the fickle minds of others around them, instead of focusing on their God accepting them?

It’s nothing new, girls have insecurities. But they have insecurities, because they’re told and shown what they should become. No matter how hard you try, you will never look like the magazines. Not because you’re not good enough, pretty enough, or skinny enough, but because the media is a lie.

I hear the lies daily. I hear them nice and loud in my own thoughts.

In order to be considered pretty or even gorgeous, I need to be thin. Yet at the same time, I need to have the curves of a middle aged woman. The second you begin to feel partially adequate to what the world deems worthy, you realize you don’t have the other thing they’re looking for. No matter what, the world isn’t pleased. And we’re left wondering how we could possibly become what they want.

In order to be considered intelligent in this life, I need to get as much schooling as possible. I need to have paper after paper to justify that, yes, indeed, I am smart enough. I need to have the perfect grades, the perfect answers, and the perfect responses, without hesitation, otherwise I will be mocked or considered unworthy.

If I have a passion for something, it needs to be radically changing the world as we know it, otherwise it isn’t worth anything. If my passion is children, then I need to be in an orphanage in the depths of the jungle. If it’s education, I need to be building school after school for those less fortunate. If it’s writing, then I need to be publishing book after book and sell out within the first week. It’s incredible how distorted this world makes everything. It’s incredible that they can take a God-given passion and make you feel unworthy in what you do for Him, simply because you’re not doing what others are.

Again, this is me saying I’m done with it.

God didn’t create you to be a clone. He didn’t create you to be what someone else is. He didn’t create YOUR beauty to look exactly like someone else’s, let alone what the media portrays. He didn’t create you to go to the best college, get the best degree, and do the best there, simply because someone else did. You can change the world, without having a college degree. You can write a book, without selling out in the first week. You can have a passion, and start from your basement, without ever changing more than your own household. You can be the most beautiful version of you, without anyone ever telling you that.

I think it’s time that women stop trying to be like women in this world.
I think it’s time that women stop comparing themselves to other women in this world.
We ache and desire to be loved and unique in His calling for our lives, yet we hunger and thirst for what the media and world tells us is good enough, as if we do, indeed, believe that what the world labels as beautiful and good enough is the end-all.

If you don’t look like the beautiful picture of what the world displays, be YOUR kind of beautiful. Your Heavenly Father made you — MADE you — your own kind of beautiful is waiting to be shown.

If you’re not as smart as every other person around you, stop trying to be so smart. The only thing you should be concerned about is giving God YOUR best, not your replication of what someone else can do.

If your passion isn’t in the newspapers or on the top magazines, realize that your passion is motivated for the wrong reason. Your passion is YOUR passion for a reason, and if it never sees more than your own room, house, or community, then so what? Your passion is capable of radically changing someone’s life. And because YOUR passion didn’t fall apart, simply because it didn’t resemble everyone else’s, someone’s life will be changed. That’s ALL that matters.

Give up on trying to be this or that to the world, through the world, or because of the world.
You have one thing to be, and one thing to realize. You are God’s, all of you, every good thing, and every embarrassing little detail you hide. You were made by the God of the universe.

Stop comparing yourself to what the world deems worthy. Stop comparing yourself to what others tell you that you should be or become. Stop trying so hard to win the favor of those around you. When you gain their favor, where do you go from there?

If you’re going to be anything, be His.
If you’re going to do anything, do it for Him.
If you’re going to change anything, do it through Him, because of Him.
If you’re going to be any kind of beautiful, be the kind that He made you to be, not some washed up version, not some replicated attempt at beautiful.

Be you. If God wanted you to be exactly like someone else, He wouldn’t have spent the time making you.

Your life’s value isn’t found in pleasing this world, it’s found in bringing your Creator glory.

Be the woman who shows little girls what it’s like to be the most beautiful and wonderful version of YOU that God created you to be. Be the reason why little girls believe in what their Savior says about them, and not the world.

Be the woman who goes against what this world says. This world isn’t your home. Don’t make it that way.

Perfection.

Image

I am offended when people expect it from me. I preach to girls and others that it isn’t possible.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it’s unattainable.

But I still hold myself to that standard.

Perfection.

I’m nothing special. I’m not changing the world, feeding countries, or creating schools and homes for those less fortunate. I’m a junior high teacher. I’m a high-school coach. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister. I’m a fiance. I’m a friend. I’m a dreamer. I’m a believer.

I’m average.

I’m the woman trying to live up to a standard created in her own head. I’m the woman who dreams big, notices needs, and strives to make things happen. I’m the woman exhausted not just physically, but mentally and spiritually with the never-ending opportunities and ideas to spread the love of Christ. But I’m just one woman.

I’m the woman who realizes she’s not enough, but still tries to be.

I’m the woman willing to admit that I expect perfection from myself, even though I know the only thing perfect about me is Jesus in my heart.

I’m the woman willing to admit that it’s overwhelming giving your life away. It’s overwhelming serving. It’s overwhelming seeing EVERYTHING that can be done around you, and knowing that’s what you’re here for. It’s overwhelming knowing that your heart still wants to care when others don’t. It’s overwhelming when your heart wants to give, when the people you want to love you the most, don’t.

It’s overwhelming… because I want to be perfect. I want to be able to juggle all of my schedule with a smile. I want to be able to love everyone and make them feel worthy and necessary and loved without ever wanting it in return.

But every time I convince myself I am capable of perfection, my heart aches, my blood pumps heavy through my veins reminding me that I want, because I’m selfish. I want, because I think I deserve.

I’m not perfect. No matter how hard I try to be, and no matter how hard I try to make myself be, I’m not. The standard that I hold myself to, isn’t the one that Christ does.

He knows who is the perfect One. He knows what I need, when I need it. He knows that those aches and desires to love others and give to others are genuine. But the falling short, the needing help, the realizing I can’t do this alone, are His gentle reminders that He is what I need. Him alone.

It’s ok to admit what you expect of yourself. It’s ok to be vulnerable and admit what goes on in the depths of your heart and mind. You’ll never grow with Christ, unless you’re willing to admit the real, specific, and heart-aching reasons you need Him in your life.

I need Him, because too often I try too hard to be perfect.

I need Him, because He alone is perfect. He alone is good.

I need His perfection. I need His perfect love, not the standard I convince myself I can perform at.

I don’t need to be perfect for His love. He gives it, without my consent.

But this is me consenting…

My heart wants nothing more than my Savior.
What does your heart want?
What does your heart need?

Without.

The bills came.

The friend left.

The family abandoned.

The church is struggling.

The busyness is unending.

The ache lingers.

The body tires.

The voices yell louder.

“You can’t do this.”

“Give up.”

“Walk away.”

_____________

We can all add to that list. We can all make it longer. We can all make it uglier. We can all call it our own.

But at the end of the day, does your life really reflect what your list says? Is your worth really determined by what your list says?

No.

You know that’s not the truth. You know that’s a lie. Why then, do you consume yourself with everything in it? The same reason I do.

You’re without one thing.

“Without faith, it’s impossible to please Him.”

We know that the lists don’t please Him. We know that the frustration, anger, and bitterness building up doesn’t please Him.

But do we ever stop to think that because we aren’t LIVING out that faith, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to please Him?

I can maintain a good attitude when I’m around others, all the while being consumed by my list.

When we are consumed by the lists, the problems, and the worries in our lives, we are choosing to be without. We are choosing to be without faith in Him.

Faith that He will provide.

Faith that He will mend, restore, build up what is broken.

Faith that He will comfort and guide you.

Faith that REGARDLESS of what your list says, you are still His.

Faith that in the before, now, and in the end GOD IS STILL GOD.

Do me a favor, think of your list. I’m sure you won’t have to think very hard.

Now think of your faith, where it brought you from, and where it will continue to bring you.

Dwell in that in this moment. Dwell in that as you close your eyes tonight. Dwell in that instead of those lists.

We have little control over predicaments in this life that leave us without.

When it comes to our faith in God, our surrender to God, our trust in God — that choice is ours.

Choose faith.

Choose His heart.