As I read Chapter 3, Lies Women Believe About Themselves from Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss, I decided I was going to take my blogging liberty and rearrange the lies as she has them listed. I find that for me, Lie #7 and Lie #11 in the book are so closely related and intertwined that it's almost hard to separate them. Had I written this book, I would have put them together or made Lie # 11, Lie #8......but I didn't, and for some reason no one asked me! ; )
I'm going to start right off the bat and admit, these two lies (together, as one ~ in my case) were probably the Number One stronghold in my life for a very, very long time. To some degree, Satan still discourages me and gets to me with these ~ but thankfully, not as much he used to be able to.
Lie #7: I'm Not Worth Anything
Lie #11: Physical Beauty Matters More Than Inner Beauty
In the book, the author states that "more than 42% of the women we surveyed indicated that this is a lie they have believed". Considering this book was written ten years ago and the fact that as time has passed, the world has become more and more obsessed with physical beauty and physical perfection, I wouldn't be surprised if the number were higher.
In many cases, the feelings of worthlessness that many women struggle with can be the result of believing things we have heard from others, especially in childhood......because our view of ourselves and our sense of worth is so often determined by the opinion, treatment and input from others.
Growing up with highly critical parents can be devastating for some, or growing up with a parent who wasn't there can leave you feeling as if you weren't worth enough for them to make the effort. The latter would be a lie that I believed from an elementary-aged girl throughout my teen years and into adulthood.
I felt hurt, confused, worthless......and to fill the void and numb the hurt, food was often my weapon. Therefore......I also developed a weight problem, which only aggravated my low sense of self worth. As early as elementary school, Lie #11 began to take root.......because kids can be mean & although most of us were all taught that "it's what inside that counts", for a lot of them, inner beauty doesn't count for a thing and physical beauty is everything.
The summer after I completed my last year of elementary school, we moved to a new state and I had pretty much had enough of the name calling, teasing, etc. I lost 25 lbs. the summer before 7th grade, started my new school and thanks to cosmetics to control my adolescent skin and learning what to do with my crazy hair, I was no longer The Ugly Duckling. I wasn't a Swan either, but my appearance finally fit in with what was Accepted. The thing is, I was a young girl and I had completely and totally fallen for Lies # 7 & 11 and embraced them as truth. Inside, I was still the insecure Fat Girl with low self esteem because no matter what I did, I'd never achieve the physical beauty that the world holds out as the image of perfection......and worth.
Although I was saved as a teen, these lies continued to strongly deceive me. That Fat Girl stayed with me through Junior High and High School. I knew that physical beauty didn't matter more than inner beauty, but I honestly didn't think there was much inside that was worthwhile....so, often as women do, when we feel there's little we can control in our lives ~ we focus on what we can. This lead to a love/hate relationship with food that would control me until after I married.
A huge turning point for me was having my children. Suddenly, in my desire to give them the best I could, my heart became ready for the Lord to shed His light into the dark places that I still hadn't let Him into. The secret places where my inner struggles that I shared with no one lurked, where those lies lay deeply rooted, were exposed and His light shined Truth that left them withered. God has revealed more of Himself to me through my children than through anything else in my life. In this particular area, as I looked into my daughters eyes, I knew that I didn't want her to suffer the consequences of buying into the same lies I had. All the love and wonder I feel when I look at her, as well as my sons, is minute to the amount of love God has for me, His daughter, His Creation.
I will never be the prettiest or the most beautiful in the eyes of the world and it's been a long time since I've struggled with these lies, but that doesn't mean I don't still hear them. Satan knows our weakest areas and remembers the power of the insecurity of that Fat Girl from my childhood, whose insecurities went so much deeper than just her weight. Even now, she's still there, although most of the time she lies dormant. Satan uses her against me when I'm standing in the checkout line and the magazines there shout at me that I'll never look like that, or I log on to the computer and yet another somebody is showing off her bikini bod. Just when I think I'm completely over it and have this area of my life whipped and under submission, I find myself face to face with a reminder that it's always there, waiting for an opportunity for Satan to use it if I let him.
Several years ago, I was grocery shopping when a man stopped me in an aisle. He said, "I just have to tell you, you are such a wholesome-looking young woman." I think I laughed and told him thank you, to which he responded, "Really, you just look very wholesome. It's very refreshing". I continued to get my groceries and stood in the check-out line, confronted with images of beautiful women the likes of whom I could never compete with, thinking "How lovely.......I'm wholesome." On the way home, I kept thinking about that word. Wholesome.
I arrived home and while putting the groceries away, told my husband of my encounter. He laughed at first, then said, "Well, that was nice", to which I responded, "He said I looked wholesome! Wholesome?! Wholesome is boring! Blah! Oatmeal is wholesome! I'm a bowl of mush?!". Laughing at me, my husband was finding this quite comical, but I wasn't. I said, "Stop laughing....this isn't funny! I'm an oatmeal cookie in a world full of double chocolate chunk deliciousness!". Without missing a beat, he replied, "But oatmeal cookies are really good. They're my favorite kind". There are few times in life when the men in our lives happen to say the perfect thing at the perfect time. This was one of them for my dearly beloved, and it will remain in my heart forever. : )
After mulling this over for a while, I finally realized that I was getting upset because of that old lie. Sigh. It's actually a very good description of me. In a world of decadence and self-indulgence, I really am an oatmeal cookie. Wholesome. Homey. Nurturing. Rated G. Oatmeal cookies are wholesome, but that doesn't mean they are bland or boring. Sometimes we're traditional and comforting, other times we may have a little extra spice. We may be even sweeter some days...or perhaps a little sassy, depending on the type of additions we toss in......and those double chocolate chunks don't have a monopoly on deliciousness.
I'll probably continue to hear this lie because although I know my worth and that it's not based on outward appearances, I live in a world that does place value on those outward appearance. More and more, I feel I don't fit in and don't belong here.....and I don't. I'm a child of the King and was made for another time and another place.....I'm just passing through on my journey to my eternal Home. I might occasionally envy those double chocolate chunk cookies, but I don't really want to be them. I'm not supposed to be; I wasn't created to be anything more than who I am.....and it is so good to be comfortable with that. My worth doesn't lie in what others think of me or what I look like. It lies in the identity of what's inside.
I am His.
The world had nothing that can compete with that.
My weekly verse for Mom's Mustard Seeds, because there is nothing more powerful than the word of God when combating Satan's lies:
Philippians 4:8-9 ~ "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."