Do you remember being asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Do you recall being asked about your dreams and goals?
Ridiculous as it is, I remember my father saying from the time I was knee high to a grasshopper that I could be Miss America if I wanted to be. Maybe there were occasions when he mentioned I could be the President of the United States or a CEO or a Wall Street tycoon but I don’t recollect those times. Instead, I could be Miss America. Fact is, I probably had a better shot of being a brain surgeon.
I don’t hold it against my dad that he set my sights on being pretty ~ I’m sure he meant it as a compliment. The truth is, however, that he sold me short. As I reflect back, the sting is less grievous than it once was; I can accept the intent of his words and largely ignore the result of how the words affected me.
There is a Christian book currently making the rounds titled “Captivating” and the premise is that little girls do dream of being a princess or a Miss America; it’s simply part of who we are. Oftentimes, we grow up and then fall into a pattern of selling ourselves short, too. It’s an interesting pressure we apply to ourselves. The authors of this book, John and Stasi Eldredge, really nailed how I’ve come to think of myself during those detached moments when I forget that I am a child of God. I hadn’t articulated the feeling until I read the following:
“Every woman I’ve ever met feels it — something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough and I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy. The result is Shame, the universal companion of women. It haunts us, nipping at our heels, feeding on our deepest fear that we will end up abandoned and alone.”
We are our own worst enemy at times. The saddest thing about this passage, for me, is that I recognize this same thought pattern in my own very independent daughter and it’s not because I encouraged her to just be the pretty girl. It’s because, like so many of us, she is this fascinating creation of a complex woman. There’s so much to be said for being in fellowship with other women who can remind us of who we are and how special we are.
If you’re a woman, make a point to find some of those women today who remind you and lift you up. If you’re a man, give those women in your life (mom, wife, girlfriend, daughters or sisters) a little word about how truly awesome they are…because they are.