To My Daughter: More Than Just A Pretty Face

Lies have been infiltrating the thoughts of women for centuries now. Some of the lies are: “If I become more successful or make a name for myself I’ll be happy. If my life looked more like hers or if I had that job I’d be happy. If I were married or if I could get pregnant I’d be happy. If I could lose a few pounds I’d be happy.” I’ve sat across from many successful and beautiful women. The world would say, “Their life must be perfect. They have it all: beauty, job, husband, children, etc.” More times than not each of these women have bravely shared with me about their struggles and the lies they fight not to be consumed by. The lies that tell them they aren’t ________ enough- not successful enough, not worthy enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not a good enough wife, mother, friend, employee etc.

Satan is the king of the “Lie Factory.” Since the beginning of time (literally), he’s aggressively been trying to lure women into doubting that what God says in His word is true. It all started in the garden. “Did God really say that?” Not all that much has changed. Satan still roams around like a roaring lion plotting to devour little Eves through lies about ourselves, God and others. He wants us to question God’s promises. He wants us to think we aren’t worthy enough for God’s word to hold any value for us. He wants us to be so focused on ourselves and consumed by our insecurities and self-perceived failures that we forget God’s ultimate purpose for our life-to make much of Him.

I believe Satan uses  “the comparison trap” as his biggest ally.  I remember falling into that deadly game dating back to middle school. The scars left on my body from cancer and the health issues I battled as a result made me feel so different from my peers and seemed to be in stark contrast to how I perceived the world to define a woman. And so, all though my teenage years and early college, I permitted others opinion’s of what is beautiful, valuable and worthy to define me. And so when I examined my life, I felt in many ways that I didn’t measure up. Through years of therapy, prayer and being really honest with those closest to me, I experienced freedom from the lies that used to torment me. And as God’s word transformed my mind, I came to realize how God would use all things in my life for my good and to bring glory to His name.

But, I’m not too far removed from that time that I’m not distinctively and overwhelming aware of the societal pressures placed on women. Even though I have experienced freedom, I still feel the pull sometimes towards those worldly standards and the lies that once consumed me. And it is because of my experience and knowledge that raising a daughter in this generation gravely concerns me at times.

Lately, when my 2-year gets up in the morning she has been proclaiming as soon as I walk in the room, “Morning, Mama! Hey, I a princess!” The other day I was cooking dinner and Ruby found a picture of her and her twin brother and brought it to me and pointed to herself, “Hey, I’m pretty!” I smile, as I know she has been listening to every single word we say.

In a world that is telling little girls and women of all ages, “you’re not enough” and “you’ll never measure up,” I want my daughter to know that her value extends way beyond what she sees in the mirror. Do I want my daughter to know she is beautiful? Absolutely. But most importantly, I want my little girl to be confident in the very person God uniquely made her to be. I want so much more for Ruby than self-confidence with her reflection in the mirror. I want her to know she is fearfully and wonderfully made and that God has a wonderful plan for her life.  In an ever-changing world of social media, standards and perfection, I long for her to know that the one thing that never changes, the one thing that remains constant is God’s unconditional love for her. In a world that is telling everyone that their value is found in what social media thinks about them, their appearance, employment or martial status, I want my daughter to not be fooled by this notion.

My prayer is that Ruby would know for certain that beauty isn’t just found in a pretty face. Rather, beauty comes in many forms-extending kindness, love and patience towards others, using the mind to bring about change in this world, being a strong voice for the oppressed and those who can’t speak for themselves, using humor to make others laugh, befriending those who don’t “fit in,” or using talents to bless someone. Instead of focusing all of her time and attention on cultivating outwardly beauty, my prayer is she would invest her time and energy in cultivating a beautiful soul, which can’t be done a part from Christ.

Some of the most beautiful people I’ve met had one trait in common: they cared less about what others think of them and invested their time directing others towards the ultimate source and creator of beauty-God. The National Geographic listed Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse, Utah as home to one of the most beautiful summer sunsets in the world. After a long day of traveling to this glorious spot, would it make any sense to pull out a mirror to look at yourself just as the sun is setting?  No, that would be considered foolishness. As the gorgeous colors were filling up the sky you would stand in awe and you would stare. You would realize the magnitude of beauty that is right before your eyes, as you point to your friends, “Wow! Look at that. Isn’t it the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen?”

Many of us have become so consumed by our insecurities and shortcomings that we forget our ultimate calling on this earth-to bring glory to God. We are constantly in the presence of the creator of beauty, the One who spoke the stars and sky into existence, and yet like the person pulling out their mirror during the most beautiful summer sunset, we forget. We forget that our calling on this earth isn’t to make a name for ourselves, but rather to move all attention and honor to Jesus. Do I still struggle with insecurities? Absolutely. But now I know where to fix my eyes-the author and perfector of my faith, Jesus Christ. God has the power to redeem us, transform our thinking and make us more like His Son, through His grace that was poured out for us. We forget because we stop looking at Christ. We forget because we look to other things and only find momentary satisfaction. In a world that is screaming, “Hey, look at me, look at me,” I want my daughter to know where her value comes from and to be able to say with confidence, “No, look at Him. Look at Christ.”

As mothers, this starts with us. If we long for our daughters to be confident that their purpose on this earth goes far beyond trivial things, than we have to lead by example. What is my daughter observing that I place my value in? Is she seeing that I treasure Christ above all else? Is she hearing me speak words of life and truth into our home?  Is she hearing mommy speak well of herself and other women? Or is she seeing a mama who is swayed by opinions and expectations of this world? I know for certain that our daughters are watching. They watching and they are listening. After all, my two-year-old daughter knows she’s a princess. I wonder who she heard that from?