My name is Elisa. I’ve struggled with having a healthy understanding of my worth and value for my whole life.
It’s been defined by what I accomplish in a given day, month, or year.
It’s been defined by what others say about me, to me, and of me.
It’s been defined by what the world says is good enough, pretty enough, thin enough.
It’s been defined by what I feel I ought to be and not by what God says is true.
My struggle with worth has been mostly a private issue masked by performance addiction and people pleasing. No one knows what’s going on inside my mind and heart because I know how to get a job done, show up at a place with the right clothes on, and say the right thing — but my motivation isn’t out of a desire to please God. It’s because I fear being rejected and criticized.
I’ve learned how to disguise my weaknesses and short-comings to avoid criticism.
I’ve also mastered the art of avoidance to protect my heart from enduring the pain of failure.
I confess, I’ve said no to opportunities that might risk my soul and heart and sense of self. And by doing so, I’ve forsaken the joy that God promises when we live this life to the full — the fullness of life that comes from living in His grace and sufficiency (John 10:10).
When Fear Rules the Search
It wasn’t until I noticed my own girls following in my footsteps that I began to see how this way of living is caught more than taught. It’s not like I’ve ever told my girls about my “issues” nor have I intentionally passed them on.
And yet, they too, unknowingly are struggling in their own search for significance.
They measure their worth against their perceived weaknesses and shortcomings, refusing to take risks when they might fail and hiding out when they don’t really want to be seen or heard. In sports and music. In academic challenges and social outings. Oh, they wear the mask well, too, so you might not know it’s their struggle. But in our safe-haven, they confess how they fall into the pit of comparing themselves to their friends — even the size of their thighs — when they know they shouldn’t.
Just like me.
As a mom, I’ve done all the “right” things — like not focusing on body size or beauty, while emphasizing healthy living and character development. I’ve nurtured their hearts and cheered on their talents. And yet, they are plagued by the lies the enemy feeds to our soul . . .
You’re not enough . . .
You’ll never make it . . .
You won’t be accepted . . .
You might get hurt . . .
You may be rejected . . .
Enough is Enough, Mr. Enemy
So what are we to do about this ongoing battle? How should we respond when our perception is warped by the enemy whose steering us off course?
It’s time we stop measuring our worth according to the size of our thighs . . . the limits of our own abilities . . . the expectations of this world! It’s time to teach and model for our daughters a way to live differently!
Pray for God to change our thinking first, and pray for the Lord to change our girls thinking, too. Pray for the opportunity to hear to their hearts and respond with both grace and truth. Pray for truth-livers to speak life into their souls along with ours.
We can’t give up on the search for significance for ourselves or for our girls. We have to believe that God intends for us to see ourselves through the lens of His grace, made possible by Christ’s blood shed on the cross for each one us. It’s a daily, active, choosing to believe the truth over the lies fed to us by the enemy, and that can only happen if we are immersed in the Word and willing to taking inventory on what we are thinking, feeling, and believing.
Yes, protect your girls, and yourself, from the influences that have the power to sway your beliefs and cause you to stumble in comparison. It means turning away from magazines, movies, TV shows, and Pinterest boards that leave you feeling less than significant in God’s eyes. Maybe it even means limiting who you spend time with, if the words and attitudes that dominate those conversations increase a focus on comparison rather than individual worth found in Christ!
In this fallen world, we will experience the effects of sin and Satan’s handiwork. But we don’t need to be defined by it. In Christ, we are redeemed from the brokenness that seeks to define us. In Christ, we are chosen — chosen by God in spite of our imperfections, weaknesses, failures, and the very things that humankind will reject us for, even if it is as petty as the size of our thighs.