Monday, November 2

Attack of the Pretty People.

Image by Mainstream via Flickr
The age-old advice for public speaking is to imagine your audience naked, in their jammies or in some other way that sucks the intimidation out of the room.

Scanning the room and my audience that bright October morning, I saw a sight that never fails to make my knees knock: tables filled with women dressed "jeans cute" with perfectly straightened hair, cute knee-high boots, and outfits so put together that they could grace the pages of a J. Crew catalog.

Instead of sucking the intimidation out of the room, all I could think was "how do these ladies have multiple toddlers and babies and still manage to look polished and beautiful"?!? 

Memories of my days with two kids under three sucker punched me as I recounted days with no time for showers, hair pulled into messy ponytails and me arriving at work, only to have a fellow mom quietly pull me aside and let me know I had spit up spilling down the back shoulder of my suit.

Uggh. 

Without a word spoken by any of these lovely women (and I assure you that once I sat down at a table and struck up a conversation, I quickly realized that they were all welcoming, gracious, lovely women), I was suddenly fighting thoughts of how I was not only unfashionable, but I wasn't as good a mother because I didn't look pretty while mothering a decent percentage of the time. 

And least you think that I'm only intimidated by women who could grace the pages of a J.Crew catalog, I found myself recently in a conversation about women leaders in my community. As names were bandied about and their leadership abilities admired, I found myself growing uncomfortable and intimidated - feelings that were completely unintended by my conversation partner. 

So there you have it.  My secret is out:  I'm scared of women, especially the ones who dress "cute" and the ones who excel at leadership.

But this is the thing: I can dress "jeans cute" when the situation demands it, and I'm a relatively intelligent woman who leads others, so my insecurities stem from me taking the very best attributes of another woman and comparing them to my own secret worst parts - which means that I will never, ever stack up in this silly contest.  

Silent intimidation is an insidious beast.  Often, it lives only in our own hearts and minds, and the person doing the intimidating has no idea, no intent, no desire to be encouraging our thoughts of self-loathing. We walk through life, silently intimidated by some and silently intimating others - all of it unspoken and therefore left to dwell secretly in hearts, doing untold damage to those areas we hide from the world. 
 
Oh, how our enemy loves to use our insecurities to twist and tangle us up inside until we are so focused on our own failings, our own inadequacies that we become ineffectual and useless. We become so consumed with our weaknesses that we believe we can do nothing and so believing, do nothing. We are our own worst enemies and stop ourselves from using our gifts and talents before we've even begun. 

It is time to stop that voice in our heads that sizes up every woman we pass by - determining our own worth by our measure of her.  Let us not fall prey to this particularly effective trap any longer.

What one small thing can you do today that will make a difference in another's life?  What one small thing can you do today that will have an eternal impact?

Pray about it.

Find it.

Do it.

And then, repeat.

And repeat again.

Please, do not consider the woman next to you who appears to be saving the world and compare it to your one small thing. 

Do not discount your one small thing.

Our God is the God of the small things. It is he who so often uses the weak to accomplish the great:  

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.” 1 Corinthians 26-31 (MSG)  

Join us as #girlswhotry, being women who are unafraid to do our small things and who celebrate the "tries" as much as the "wins."   

Sweet Jesus, help us to step our of our comfort zones as we follow you, help us to be doers of your Word and not just people who soak it in, help us to reveal you to those around us by our actions and not just by our words.  Give us grace for ourselves and for the women around us, that we would be cheerleaders for our sisters rather than competitors.  Draw near to us as we step out in our small things and show us how even the small things have an eternal impact.  



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