This morning I got out of the shower, wrapped my thin, postpartum, falling out hair up in a towel and one around my body, my lumpy, saggy, wrinkled imperfect body. I took the towel off of my hair, but didn’t comb it out and called for my 4 year old daughter to come brush her teeth. As I was helping her, she mumbled something to me beneath her foamy mouth of toothpaste. “What did you say?” I asked. She mumbled again. “Okay, wait until you spit that out, I can’t hear you.” She spit, “I SAID, you look pretty, mom.” I chuckled catching a glimpse of my damp frizzy crinkled hair in the mirror brushing across my blotchy face with acne scars and bags under my eyes.
I don’t know when insecurities stole my confidence. I can guess that most of it happened in middle school. Those were some brutal years. Everyone was searching for acceptance, popularity, approval….and I’m sure nobody felt like they had it. I remember in 5th grade, when a boy I liked told me I had a mustache at recess or when I first saw a profile picture of my nose. And, of course, I had braces. I wanted to hide, but it’s kinda hard to hide when your biggest insecurities are on the middle of your face. So I learned coping mechanisms of covering up my insecurities, emotional and physical. If I couldn’t be the pretty one, I’d be the smart one or funny one or athletic one. I was a social chameleon, wearing a mask of insecurities because I never felt good enough.
And so here I am. A mother to 3 impressionable children. And it terrifies me. How will I keep from passing on these insecurities to my children? I feel like I do a decent job at telling my children how much I love them, how smart they are, how wonderful and handsome and beautiful they are. But someday, the TV or a magazine or some jerky 5th grader will plant a seed of doubt in their mind that they aren’t good enough and by that time it will be too late. My screams of how great they are will be overshadowed by a seed of doubt and that seed will grown into a vine of insecurities for the rest of their life. You can cut it down, but it will creep back up, wind itself around you and hold on. To truly get rid of it, you have to kill the root. And to kill the root, you have to dig.
I know I can’t protect them forever, but one of my biggest failures is not killing the root of my own insecurities. When my kids see me noticing my insecurities, they learn from it and they will mimic it, looking for their own. I’ve noticed that it is hard for me to accept compliments, from my husband or who ever. I will brush it off and say, “Hahaha, yeah right,” or “it wasn’t that good” or “so and so does it better”. And even if I DO accept it, I don’t really believe it. But when my kids see me respond this way, whether I realize it or not, it is teaching them that I don’t think I’m good enough the way that I am.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
So why do we let the thief in at all? When I look back to the seed, when my insecurities began, I see lies that don’t have validity. Someone was speaking out of their own hurt or insecurities, trying to steal something from me or I was lying to myself, comparing myself to the social ideal. But what if we kicked the thief out and learned to speak truth to ourselves? To each other? You are good enough. You are more than good enough! Because you were created by THE creator. That’s it. We are good enough because He created us, not because we’re smart or funny or have less hair on our upper lip, but just because we are His.
I went through the drive thru to get a soda today and an average looking woman handed me my order. When we pulled away, Josephine said, “She was beautiful!” I responded with, “Yes, she was. Everyone is beautiful because God made everyone unique and special.”, thinking I was teaching a good life lesson. “Not everyone is beautiful.” she replied. Oh great, here we go, I thought, I was nervous anticipating who she might be thinking about, “Not everyone is beautiful because some people are handsome.”
I hope she always has those eyes of truth. You are beautiful and you are enough. Even on the hardest days, when you feel like you’ve failed at everything and your insecurities are holding tight….remember that. When you start believing it about yourself, it will reflect in how your children view themselves. And when you start treating other people like they are enough too, they will start to believe it and the roots of insecurities will begin to die and we will be able to live a life that is fully rooted in the beautiful truth of Christ.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14
Encourage one another today and be encouraged!