When I was asked to write this post for Collide, I automatically thought I would be writing about adoption. It’s a big part of our lives. When I brought it before God, He let me know there was something else He wanted me to share.
You see, growing up I had this GORGEOUS sister! She was smart, pretty and all the boys liked her. She had the perfect body, nose and she was just the right height. Then there was me: skinny (like crazy skinny), tall, and with a slightly larger nose than fit my face. The comparison game is where I lived. I had created a “comparison backpack” from a very early age. I was always comparing my looks to my sister and I never, ever measured up. It didn’t stop there…
As I grew into a woman I got married. The comparison game continued – I added in comparing my marriage and my husband. Then we bought a house. The comparison game continued – I added in comparing my possessions. Then we had children. The comparison game continued – I added in comparing my mothering abilities. My backpack was getting quite full. I felt heavy. I began to ask myself why I played this game? Why was I so concerned with everyone else and their relationships, beauty, children, stuff?
When we ask, God is faithful. He began to speak. He began to reveal. He began to convict. He called it out – He named it: Pride.
That was tough to swallow. How could comparing myself be prideful? How could putting myself down be prideful? It seemed to play against my idea of pride. But the great news is that the Holy Spirit lives in me and He began to show me how He views pride.
In Proverbs 29:23 God says, “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” My pride was not allowing God to create a lowly (servant-hearted) spirit within me, but instead I was bringing myself down. I was so focused on myself and how I didn’t measure up, that I was consumed with negative thoughts.
I began (and continue) to pick apart the areas of my life in which I was allowing pride to rule. In Galatians 6:4 Paul writes, “You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done.” I began to see that comparing not only took away my thoughts and focus on the gifts God had given me, but also blinded me to the gifts that He had given to others!
This was not an overnight process. This was years of repenting to God and others of my pride and judgment. This was a constant leaning into God as I entered into situations where I knew I’d be tempted back into comparing and pride. God was at work…
Things began to change. I asked God to show me His beauty and through that, how I was beautiful. I asked God to show me His view of marriage and through that, how my marriage was wonderful and a gift. I began to ask God His view of children and through that, how my children are a delight from the Lord. I asked God to show me His view of worldly possessions and through that, how my possessions were more than enough. My whole world view on women began to change. Where before I was seeing every woman as competition (how she looked, what she wore, how she mothered, how kind or loving her husband was or how much she had), my mind began to shift. It was a Holy Spirit shift…
And this is where the miracle happened… God took the blinders off my eyes and I began to see women as a GIFT! I began to see every woman I passed as beautiful in her own right – big/small, tall/short, round/skinny, big nose/little nose, straight teeth/gapped teeth, blonde hair/dark hair, big feet/small feet. I began to see marriages as a gift to both spouses who had the privilege of being in them. I began to see women as parents who KNEW their children, who knew what their children needed and that all women do their very best to raise their children with incredible love. I began to see stuff (cars, houses, clothes) as just that: stuff!
You see, I think as women we have an ideal in our minds of how it should be. But, I’m learning there is no ideal. There is YOU and there is ME. I’m learning that I can choose to compare and walk around with a heavy-laden backpack of pain, or I can choose to see women as God’s incredible to gift to this world. Instead of tearing one another down (even if it’s in my own mind), I want to build others up! 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
God made me just as He wanted me. He made me tall, skinny and with the nose He wanted me to have. He made me kind, He made me fun, He made me with the ability to love big, and He gave me the gift of encouragement. He also gave me this amazing girl, Lowa. She is my daughter and I believe so completely that God couldn’t have gotten it any more “right” with her! My heart’s desire is for her to know to the depths of her being just how perfectly made in His image she is.
God made YOU just as He wanted you to be. I realize I’ve been given incredible gifts. Today, instead of bringing myself low and spinning life into my “have nots,” I choose to use the gifts He’s given me to encourage and share the message that women are beautiful, amazing and the treasured creation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s YOU! – Kristin