I am currently in a Bible study with a group of women from our church going through Beth Moore's study of Esther. Wow...it's really hitting home to where I'm at right now. Beth Moore talks about how it's tough being a woman in another woman's shadow. It's amazing how big of a struggle insecurity is for women. My heart is heavy once again about this issue and I had to get out my thoughts. I thought about writing a song, but.....I already did that:-) (If you haven't heard it, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=600PLRY64ek) Time for another blog instead:)
This study of Esther talks about all the beauty treatment women had to go through before being presented to the King for him to choose who he wanted as queen. It was basically just a beauty contest. Somehow Esther stood out as a woman who not only found favor in the King's eyes, but also in everyone she met. Including all the other women she was surrounded with. In the work book, Beth says this: "You and I both know that a rare woman indeed is beautiful from a male perspective and favored by other women. Females tend to be highly threatened by a woman admired by men. A woman who can win the man and her female peers is in a class almost by herself." That really made me think. Beth later asked what qualities Esther must have had to be this kind of rare woman. I started thinking of women I know who are not only gorgeous, but who I also look up to and respect. What qualities do they have? Humility. Gentleness. A servant's heart. Depth. Character.
Of course I had to ask myself...do I have all those? Every girl wants to feel attractive. Desired. Now that I'm married, I really want my husband to feel that way about me. And because he tells me I'm beautiful several times nearly every day (no joke:-), I know that I'm beautiful to him. But for some reason, deep inside my sinful heart, it's the favor of women that I find myself striving for. Which is why this particular portion of this study struck a deep chord within me. Yes, of course I want to be attractive to my husband. I will always work towards that. But I also way too deeply desire to be that rare woman in a class almost by herself. To be beautiful, AND have those qualities that other women admire.
Once I got married two years ago, I gained some weight that has made me more insecure than I've ever been in my life. After a rough first year of change, the loneliness of living in a brand new town, and a job that literally sucked the life out of a me, food became my comfort. As a result, these last two years have been an intense battle with insecurity, and finding out what I do and should let define me. It's been sobering to find out what I let define me on a daily basis. God has smacked me across the face with harsh truth more than once and tonight has been no exception.
As I was going through this study, I found myself getting caught up in each of those qualities I listed previously about the kind of woman I desire to be. Beautiful. Humble. Gentle. A servant. There is nothing wrong with desiring to be those things. However, tonight I caught myself in the act of desiring those things for the wrong motives. I long to be those things to gain the approval of other women. I no longer need to impress any other man than my husband, but I find that the way I dress and look is based more on what other women might think of me than what my husband thinks of me. I want to lose weight to fit in with the women around me more than I want to lose weight to be attractive to my husband.
I have always struggled with being a people pleaser. But a people pleaser with an insecurity complex? What a dangerous combination. I know that not every woman has had these same experiences or struggles, but I know that more have than would care to admit it. It's a difficult thing to come to terms with. It's embarrassing actually. But as I have realized that insecurity is just another form of pride, I am broken at the thought of everything I have let get in the way of my desire to just be Christ-like. I have been so insecure that I can't get over myself enough to let Christ be my identity.
I am just so thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit in my life to convict the ugliness in me. To show me my true heart's desires so that I can bring them to light and be changed. Yes, I still want to lose some weight. Yes, I am still going to wear make-up and fix my hair. And yes. I still love shopping for cool clothes. But every once in awhile I need a harsh heart-check. Tonight God gave me one:
How I look, or act, or serve, or dress, or talk, or sing doesn't matter if it's not so completely obvious that Jesus Christ is the love of my life and the only one I am living to please. Less of me so that there can be more of Him.
Now that's a rare woman.