Joy and Sarah, my beloved cherished friends and daughters.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
You will never ever be good enough no matter how hard you try, and you will never be physically perfect enough to measure up to a world of false standards of beauty, because we were not designed to conformity to arbitrary standards.
I have been blessed with two lovely daughters. Yesterday, I had conversations with both of them--Sarah by skype and Joy sitting next to me in our living room last night--sharing hearts, insecurities, failures, flaws and love and redemption. I do not deserve these two women. Both of them expand the borders of my life in so many ways and I am challenged in my walk with the Lord, my integrity of life and in loving people because of who they are in real every day life.
Yet, my girls are living in a culture in which bodies and looks and clothing and personality and behavior are marketed in such a way as to promote the message that there is a certain kind of body, way of dressing, a size or weight or body type and when any one of us measures up to this false worldly standard of perfection, we will all fall short.
Now, as to looks, some are too skinny, too tall, too short, some too overweight, some have big chests, some small.
As to personality, some are charming, some are not, all personalities are flawed in some way because all are subject to this disease called sin.
But all of these arbitrary standards plague women every day. Even I, as an almost 60 year old fight insecurity every year as I have to stand in front of hundreds of women at conferences, with more weight than I would wish, or more wrinkles or the kinds of clothes I should wear--I am a normal women caught in the grips of cultures temptations by seeking measure myself by some arbitrary standard that God never established. Why in the world would a woman like me, aging as I am supposed to, ever struggle with the standards of a young, svelt 20 something woman as what I am supposed to look like? Because of the messages of the world being screamed in every movie, every show, every billboard, every advertisement. If it plagues me and I am a relatively reasonable woman, I know it plagues my beloved daughters, and you and your daughters.
There is also a standard of Christian conduct or Christian way of behaving that is portrayed as a more perfect way--and all else that is measured by these false standards falls short.
These kinds of standards create a sense of failure, insecurity and inadequacy in women--and I do not want my girls to have to believe those lies. There is no right Christian personality and no one will ever be able to keep the law perfectly.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God--all--all--all--that means you and me. So that means that no matter how hard any of us try, we will fail. Perhaps we talk too much and make blunders with our lips. Perhaps we are too shy and don't know how to be socially acceptable. Or as moms we get angry or frustrated with our children. Some have pasts that have left scars. Or fall short in loving and affirming in marriage, friendship, in ministry. Most of us are not spiritual enough and not quite sure what it means to really walk with God. The pressure goes on and on.
I do not want my daughters to bear such a legacy.
Yet, the whole point of Christianity and redemption is that we are saved from all of this death.As women, are beautiful because God designed us very intentionally with our personality, our skill set, our dreams and drives. He also designed us with a specific face and body and height and weight--all are beautiful when they live in the love and confidence of God's affirmation. As to personality, they are extremely different and make different choices in life.
It is the grace and glory of God that we find freedom and joy and the life to live apart from the condemnation and criticism of this world. His desire for us as women is to greatly experience the "Life" of His reality of acceptance every day, because of how much He sacrificed so that we might live.
Yet,when it comes to my daughters, both are beautiful because both are beloved by their Jesus and by me. They are both righteous because Jesus knew they would never ever be able to be perfect or good enough on their own, and so he lived and died for them so that they would never have to feel so deeply disappointed in themselves.They will always have hope and deep acceptance when they walk with His hand in theirs leading and loving and blessing them moment by moment.
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fineapparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. I Peter 4:3-3
As their mother, I hope I will make choices that lead them in this freedom and grace to love who He has made me, gentle and quiet coming from my heart, because I have made peace with who I am--so that they may love who He has made them.
I would never have been able to write or speak if I could only do it if I were perfect and flawless. But, my confidence and hope is in His perfection and His righteousness, so I can point others to Him, and don't have to worry about my own adequacy--which will never be enough.
And so, I give them Jesus--His grace, His unmerited favor, His power to live life, His faithfulness to direct, correct and mature them little by little and His favor and unconditional love, which will never fail them. They will always be found acceptable and beautiful in His arena of blessing.
I want my precious daughters to live in the secure ring of our own family love, grace and acceptance and to have the freedom and grace in their hearts to know that who they are, as they are is quite enough and even lovely because of the grace of God so very reflective in and through each moment of their lives.
May He bless my precious girls, and me, and each of us to so live in this true feminine beauty of His love and acceptance that we never need dwell in the insecurity of not ever being able to be perfect or measure up to the arbitrary standards of this world. May His grace truly invigorate and fuel the moments of our lives each day and may others see what is really beautiful as we reflect His reality every day.