I have a bone or two to pick with you. Yesterday, I went into a high end make up store to purchase some skin care products. My husband likes to say the sales people in these stores hold no scruples. From the moment I walk through the door they analyze my skin and say things like, “Oh my, you are a mess!” Yet, I know the truth that their words are really your voice. I could see it clearly when the young woman told me that men look distinguished as they age while women just get old. Faces flashed of all the young people I know who spend too much time listening to your lies. Revelation hit that you are unwavering. I like to tell those teens, “This season will pass.” but it doesn’t. You follow us through life. Marching out of the store (having purchased nothing btw) I decided it was time to call you out. This ridiculousness has to end.
Do you remember the first time we me? I thought I was athletic, artistic, musical, smart, good looking and just plain amazing. I thought my ability to speak my mind and figure things out quickly was an asset. A whisper blew by holding the words, “Not quite.”
Then as I grew it was if I forgot that I held anything worthwhile at all. You magnified my flaws and told me what needed to be “fixed.” I mean how could I ignore you when you were shouting? Your voice came through loud and clear in the mouths of peers who laughed at my incoordination, the time I didn’t get the solo in the school play and when math stopped making sense. I could have focused on my gifts, but instead I fixated on your twisted words.
My body started to change and pimples came. It was obvious now that I was too short, my thighs were too fat, and my chest was too small. There wasn’t a television show, magazine, movie, advertisement or picture that didn’t tell your story. I accepted I was just clumsy and bad at math. You told me to cover my imperfections and hide my true self in order to fit in. Unfortunately, I believed you.
It took me until college to catch onto your schemes. Sure, sure I had heard the words of Jesus. I knew I was supposed to be “saved from sin through Him.” Yet, I was twenty before I realized the weight of being created in the image of the living God. I didn’t realize that your empty words were just made in an effort to cover up His reflection in me.
You believe you have gotten wiser through time. Now you use tools like the internet to spread your disease. You like to use photo-shop to enable us to create unrealistic expectations of how our bodies should be shaped. Us girls should be skinnier and the boys should have more muscles. You believe you have grabbed hold of the photo filters of Instagram, posts on FaceBook and Twitter to ensure we never present a true picture of ourselves. You have taken cameras on phones meant to capture memories, and caused us to focus on the perfect snapshot of our hair. You use impersonal communication in messaging, texts and the written word to shout how we still can’t get it right.
Yet, my experience with said skin care specialist reminded me again how insidious you believe yourself to be. I see again how often you are speaking into a generation telling them what they are not. It hit me how many times I have rolled my eyes when they embrace your untruths. I have acted like they will get over this and move on. But, you like to start early and lurk in the corner of our lives. No more. I’m onto you. I see now that you would love to have us stuck in the cycle of what we are, “not,” until the end of time.
I see you when my once confident daughter tells me she is “too much for people to handle.” When the young woman in my small group says, “No one likes me.” The times my son thinks being compassionate is something he should “get beyond.” When young women tell me they are too fat, thin, loud, shy, short, tall, quirky, smart, dumb, and the only ones without a boyfriend. The times young men tell me they have too much acne, are weak, too small, too fat, too dumb, too smart and the only ones without a girlfriend.
Oh, you can’t hide any longer. I am fighting you insecurity. I am calling you by name. I am calling others to fight alongside me. I will do this by telling my kids every day about their talents, gifts and the treasure they are. I will embrace them when they have heard you too loudly and remind them of the truth. The one who IS the truth. I will tell them to, “Be Awesome Today.”
Don’t think you can hide. You are correct, we are not ever going to be “good enough.” Truth is if we were it would be a really lonely existence. Then we would miss that we are the Creators Created. We would miss that our identity does not lie in any of our flaws, but in Christ alone.
I can’t say I won’t ever succumb to you again. However, I know better now. I can see that I can help this generation with the knowledge I have gained. Remember all of those years you kept me from running because I was too slow and my asthma would just stop me anyway? Well, I am training for my 4th half-marathon in two years. My asthmatic daughter just took up track. See what I did there? I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “I made you strong, you can do this,” louder than your whimper, and I passed it on. That’s just the tip of the ice berg here.
You may have forgotten that God made us fearfully and wonderfully, but I haven’t. You may have missed the memo that this generation was made to display the glory of the Lord, but they have not. Insecurity, the thing is that we are enough because Christ is enough and that is all that matters. You can keep coming around, but please don’t expect us to just accept you any more.
Your Worst Nightmare