So this might be my most vulnerable post yet. I didn't want to do this. I still don't know if I should do this. But with a push from my husband and a desire to live my life raw and real...here I go. Exhale.
It was just like every other Wednesday morning at Toddler Time in the library. Harper has us sit in the same spot every week, the blue seat for me and Sky and the wooden chair with the seahorse on the back for her and Paisley to share. At some point in the class I kind of zone off...the fatigue of the morning and week is catching up to me. I look around the room at all the faces, people, scenarios... and I say to myself, "I am the prettiest one in the room."
And at that moment I immediately became the ugliest.
I shook my head out of my zone that I was in and thought, "Heather what did you just say to yourself?" I was embarrassed...mortified really. I immediately asked the Lord for forgiveness.
I do want to say that I was not the prettiest girl in the room. The real issue and reason that I was so upset was what drove me to this need to feel this way. What was in my heart that led me to this?
And at that moment I felt the Spirit say, "It is time to work on this...Heather, you compete with everyone in every room you have ever walked in." Tears filled my eyes as I was face to face with the deepest and most ugly part of me. I couldn't believe how natural it had become.
I think if we all asked ourselves, we could all see the natural competition within us. Maybe you have walked into a room and you did't think you were the prettiest but you thought the opposite, or that you weren't good enough, or that no one sees you? Maybe you see someone and you compare and try to find a flaw in them to make yourself feel a little bit better? Ever have those thoughts?
The next few days I began to really ponder this. I began to play through moments in my life like a movie, starting in high school I competed to be the prettiest and the most talented. I see moments in college with teammates, classmates..I wince in embarrassment at the memories. I am reminded of moments in my jobs I have had, and even in simple day to day moments walking through the store or the park. My heart began to sink into my chest as I see this all throughout my life and I never even knew.
You see that's the thing about sin...it's sneaky, it's quiet, but powerful and natural. You can be walking in sin and not even know. Unable to recognize it and call it what it is. I never even knew I was living this way. This whole time for years and years I truly didn't even know. Oh what a sad way to live, what an incredibly heavy weight to carry. Never at rest. Never celebrating another woman, another beautiful soul.
So I ask myself, "What do I get if I am the prettiest? Nothing. And what do I get if I am not the prettiest? Nothing." There is no prize with this competition, only pain without peace.
As women we seek and we search for beauty. We are drawn to it. We were created by our Creator to come alive when we see it, feel it, express it. And somewhere along the way in our sin, our flesh, our culture... it has become a ladder we climb. As if beauty is something to attain, that there is a highest level of beauty or talent you can achieve. As we scroll through pictures we judge, compare, and compete. As we walk into rooms we size each other up. But we are not sizes to be measured, we are souls to be treasured. And beautiful ones at that created by God and for God. Souls that are worn and tired, but carried in the hands of the Lord. Souls that are on a journey to figure out this life, to navigate through it. Souls that are striving more and more to be like Jesus. Souls that have been beaten, bruised and mistreated. Souls that are hungry and thirsty. Souls that are seen by the God who sees.
Philippians 1:9-11 in the amplified says, "And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight, so that you may learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent [identifying the best, and distinguishing moral differences], and that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ [actually living lives that lead others away from sin]; filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God [so that His glory may be both revealed and recognized]."
That your love may abound more and more. That every day you grow kinder and more peaceful. You become more loving, more gentle. That every day you are filled with more grace, more goodness. Yes, this is the goal. To grow in your confidence in who you are IN CHRIST so that you are content and at peace within yourself. Then you can approach a room, a person, a situation and think, "How can I bring value to you?" I know who I am, how can I help someone else? Encourage someone, love someone? It is not about what we get and receive, but what we gain when we give.
We are filled by pouring out.
We light up the world when we love others selflessly.
We come alive when we come to our knees and count others more significant than ourselves.
The Lord is revealing to me the source of this sin in my heart and this need to compete. It stems way back to my childhood, to my father. Maybe you can relate. We are all battling our own demons aren't we? But what I do know is that the more the Lord prunes me, the more free I become. The more the Spirit reveals my sin, the more I realize how in need I am of my Savior. Now I am learning to walk freely through my life enjoying the beauty that I see and I am resting in the beauty that is in me.
For we are all created in the image of God. And He is always the most beautiful in the room.