This is a week where children are clamoring to try on their latest costume. Excitement permeates the air as they become someone by which they typically only dream.
Hiding behind a mask, they have Superman powers or Cinderella’s beauty and grace. They are unstoppable in who they pretend to be and they are affirmed in that role as they embrace a new reality. (Scroll below to see practical parenting tips for this.)
But what about you, sweet girlfriends?
When you look in the mirror, do you don a mask of perfection and performance? Or maybe hide behind another mask for fear of reaction? Lies whisper shame and accusation, “You’ll never measure up – if only they knew!”
And then we listen; we listen and embrace a lie! It’s bondage and often the weight we carry is too heavy.
Women are really good at that, but why?
Do you need someone today to tell you how special you are, to affirm your appointed role whether it be in your family, marriage, workforce, or ministry?
I may not know your circumstances, nor understand your background personally, but I do know ONE thing…you were uniquely created by God for an amazing purpose. You have been appointed to do amazing things right where you are, in whatever role you serve.
95% of teen girls believe the lie that they “must perform to be loved and accepted.” Did you read that correctly? 95%!! I have daughters and my heart’s desire is for them to know their truth worth. Why don’t we believe our own? The statistic for adult women is not much less.
Precious Ladies, our worth is not based on what others think of us, or what we do. And that is so hard to process, especially when it feels so personal.
Our value is determined by how God views us and He loves us more than we can ever fathom…warts and all. 🙂
I guess that’s why I’m passionate that this be a place where we can share both our beauty AND our bedlam, a little corner where everyone can be free to take off those masks.
We aren’t meant to go it alone, but it can still be such a lonely place.
So use the comments section as a place to dialogue. I speak with so many women every year who struggle with this issue, myself included. It’s difficult to be real and authentic when we live in a society that stresses perfection, and doesn’t have the time to care about your struggles.
I do care, and I wish I could give you each a hug. I’ve been there, I know. It seems like no matter how old we are, we still struggle with those “I’ll never be on Prom Court” tendencies.
So, pour yourself some coffee, and enjoy browsing all these amazing blogs, but please don’t compare yourself to a “virtual life” or let “appearances” make you feel inadequate. For instance, I may be able to dress well on a Frugal Fashionista budget, but right now, I have stacks of laundry piled on my bedroom sofa, and it’s been there forever (just sayin’ :).
This week, as you watch the “dress up” anticipation grow, remember that this may be just the time to let that mask down, and revel in your wonderful uniqueness.
I first shared this in 2009, but it still rings truth deep in my heart since I shared about this on periscope this past week.
Practical parenting tips regarding this topic:
Since masks and disguises are all part of the fun of Fall Festivals/Halloween, use this as a time to dialogue with your children about honesty and authenticity.
Affirm your little Princess with the truth that she will always be your princess no matter what she does, how she does it and you will love her the same, even if she makes poor choices.
Talk about honesty, sharing feelings in a appropriate way ,and encourage her self worth and character…not her performance.
As parents, we need to let statistics work for us. If 95% of teen girls feel they don’t measure up, your responsibility is to break that cycle now and enable your daughter to fall in that 5%. We have one daughter who almost daily is told of her beauty. I cringe when I hear that because her value can not be based on what she look like. External beauty fades. As parents, we desire her inner beauty and character to be cultivated. We want to groom her heart – her love, generosity, kindness, not her looks.
For our Supermen, affirm their worth, strength and the strong character virtues such as courage, bravery, chivalry, honesty, and yes, even sensitivity. (Just to name a few.) Developing Godly men based on how God sees them, and not based on how well they play sports, is a challenge. (This coming from a sports mama.)
Change your verbiage to encourage perseverance and persistence, instead of “Great job…nice play. You’re a great athlete.” The subtle differences in how we speak to our children will enable them to not put those masks on in the first place.
I wrote about the one little perspective change that profoundly impacted how I mother. It has so much to do with this.
Thanks for this. I really needed this reminder today. Far too often I let the rest of the world think I’ve got it together because I’m afraid they’ll reject the real me. Too often I forget that “God made me special and He loves me very much” (even when I fail Him.)
Have I mentioned that I LOVE your blog? Well, I do! Thanks for making it a place of inspiration, encouragement and real life. I’ve been blessed by you.
Thanks too for this wonderful reminder. I don’t think we can ever hear it too often. I recently just became aware again of how amazing it is that God loves me and wants to have relationship with me. (I really liked the book Crazy Love and the videos at the website: http://www.crazylovebook.com/
For me it is easy to think I am “worthless” because I can’t be as organized as I’d like and I am not the natural decorator so many of my friends are. Sigh. I forget all the other things I am good at and focus on those things that I don’t shine in and then go on the downward spiral of thinking I’m no good. I want to claim again the fact that God loves me and created me the way I am for a purpose.
Thanks for being “REAL” Jen. So many of us feel this way but try so hard to not let others know.
I know I always fix the house up spanking clean and model looking when folks come over. This kind of gives the illusion that we live this way all the time…um, no. As I type this I have a dining room table full of fabric and sewing paraphernalia, sink full of dishes and laundry to do.
Thanks for this today. I know you will have been a bright spot for all the ladies that stop by your blog today. I know it was for me.
Thanks for writing this post! It’s really easy to fall into the trap of “not being good enough.” But really, good enough according to who? I think we set really high standards for ourselves sometimes (which is okay, but we need to be realistic!) and crash when we can’t meet them. No one is super-woman!
Sometimes the church can be a place where I struggle with this … people aren’t as comfortable with the “bedlam” there; they are happier with the “beauty.” What a great reminder to find our worth in the right One and to keep my focus where it needs to be. Thanks, Jen … and my laundry is on the table. 🙂
Why do we do that in the church? The church needs to be the one place where we can really be ourselves. If we are “perfect,” we don’t need a Savior, right? So why do we try to act that way…I don’t know.
Thanks for a timely reminder. I’m a momma by adoption and sometimes the pressure of being the “perfect momma” is a terrible strain. I constantly feel like I have to work extra hard to measure up, almost to prove that I deserve to be a momma even though my body prevented it by birth. I think so many times moms engage in a competetive spirit that is unhealthy for everyone. I agree with the poster who mentioned church. Sometimes it would be good if everyone took off their masks of perfection in the church as well, perhaps an unbelieving world would find out hope more viable.
So true! Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us to never give up spurring one another on. This is a strong and good word for today.
I struggle with this a lot. Trying to be the perfect wife, mother etc. It seems like so many others are just so together. Only recently I realized the perfect mom does not exist. Thanks for the reminder we could all is it I am sure.
Thanks for this. I have a tough time at work because I don’t “fit in” with the fashion sense and personalities of all of those “trendy” people and I always feel like I’ve put my foot in my mouth when I speak (even if I haven’t, though admittedly, sometimes I have). It gets to be depressing thinking I might get fired because I don’t look or act like them (I have had a lot of people in the office “report” me for stupid stuff they would NEVER “report” one of their trendy colleagues for). I try to remember that my family and friends value me as a person.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thanks so much for sharing this! It is such a great reminder, especially since I have two girls! I want them to know the TRUTH of who they are, because they are created and loved by God!!!
Thanks for that… It is SO true! I hate the masks, but we all have them. We want to “put on our Sunday best”
Let’s change with the next generation.
This is a beautiful post. Thank you for posting it. My daughter and I have been reading 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter, and it has been very convicting to me.
I just love this post. I never would have thought to relate these issues to Halloween, but I love that you did. You’re right: a lot of what we do is the equivalent to wearing a mask.
I’ve been trying to give a little glimpse of my heart this week, and reading this post of yours encourages me to think I’m on the right track.
YOU are on the right track, for sure. I appreciate you.
Oh, how much I have struggled with this very thing from being a young child to even an adult now. I have learned a lot in the past years though and some days it is still a challenge. I try to be looking to God as it is really Him who I need to get the approval of = not men. 😀
This is a great post and a great message. It’s unfortunate that our culture places so much value on female beauty and male aggression. I’m so happy to hear that you teach your daughters they’re more than their looks and your sons that they’re more than their athletic abilities. Because people are more than just one trait: we’re all different and multifaceted, and we should appreciate ourselves and each other for who we truly are.
I’m glad I’m not the only one with piles of laundry. 🙂
I never thought about using Halloween as I character teaching moment. Great post! Goes well with my current giveaway, the book “The Princess and the Three Knights.”
Thank you for this post! I struggle mightily with what God wants me to do–stay home with my precious 10 month old–and what I want to do–continue teaching. I know God wants me here with my son, and I want to be with him, but all too often it feels like we stay at home moms get no recognition. And when I focus on the no recognition part, I get discouraged. Thanks for reminding me that God has so much more in store for me than worldly recognition because I am being faithful to His calling on my life right now.
I am going to Hawaii in a week. Trying not to care that I would look so much better in a swimming suit if I lost 20 pounds. Telling myself I deserve a vacation after a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation that took up almost the whole summer. I am doing great and thankfully no chemo!
oh Karen – you SO SO deserve this!! So sorry for what you’re are going through but so glad you are done and can now enjoy time away.