“Our strength is not in our beauty but in our function.”
I always thought I was supposed to act like I wasn’t pretty.
My whole life my parent always told me I was pretty (even through my awkward, REALLY awkward, middle school phase), and I never believed them. As I got older, there were days I felt pretty, but I never thought I was beautiful.
I struggled throughout high school with, honestly, feeling like everyone hated me. I did the same thing in college. The fact of the matter was that no on hated me. Unless you are doing things to someone out of malicious intent and hurting them, then there are people who love you and people who want something you have and that’s all – they don’t hate you.
We tell people, “They’re just jealous,” when someone is downright mean for no reason. And that’s usually true. I can think of a time when I really didn’t like someone simply because I was jealous and wanted something they didn’t have. I generally kept that to myself and didn’t act on it, but some people act on it.
With that being said, I wanted to make sure no one ever hated me or was jealous of me, so I made sure to make myself as small as possible.
Even when I knew that one cheerleading routine better than all the other girls, I didn’t want to let them know I thought that, so I’d cower down. Confidence was a foreign word to me. I thought confidence meant cocky and I didn’t want to be that at all.
When someone told me I was pretty, I would tell them why I wasn’t. If someone said I was really amazing or cool or anything else very nice of them to say, I would babble on and on about how they were wrong.
This whole making-myself-small thing really could have hurt the best relationship I’ve ever had. My then boyfriend, now fiance, told me I was pretty and kind and cool and fun all the time and I would make the worst faces or say, “Oh my gosh no,” every single time. It made him so upset because he was expressing emotion that I was totally rejecting. I had to explain to him that it really was me and not him. Since then, I have gotten a LITTLE better about accepting his sweet compliments. Your lack of confidence does not make your more attractive. You can be and should be confident and humble at the same time.
I have a best friend who really and truly is one of the most beautiful, fun, kind people I’ve ever known, and she had/has the same problem. One night, we bonded over our experiences of shrinking ourselves down to make sure others were lifted up. She has no clue how wonderful she is because she didn’t want to make anyone else feel bad about themselves, so she always made sure to step down just a little to give everyone else the room that she also deserved.
I think all of us can get into that rut of wanting so badly to serve others (which is so great) and lift them up that we bring ourselves WAY down. That is NOT the answer. That is not what God called us to do.
You can be God-confident in the way you are without putting anyone else down. Why can’t we all just be lifted up together? If we all love ourselves and love each other simultaneously, that is going to make for a beautiful, strong world.
Your success is not my failure, and my failure is not your success. Beauty is not dependent – it’s very independent. Oh and by the way, that beauty is not your strength; your function is your strength. Lisa Bevere expresses that so fiercely in her book, “Lioness Arising.” You should check it out.
If you ever feel like you have to lower yourself for the sake of someone else, that is not from God – that’s from hell. You are supposed to walk with your head held high, not because you are athletic or smart or talented or beautiful, but because you are a child of God.
When we all start walking around like that, there will be no more noses in the air for the wrong reasons and no more hanging heads for the fear of hurting anyone else’s ego.
Stop making yourself small so others can be big. You don’t deserve that and neither do they. You are great, they are great, we are all great.
Own who you are – the strengths and the weaknesses – and walk right beside that girl next to you with her own set of strengths and weaknesses. You’re both big to God in your own ways, so you don’t have to feel small.
Be big and bold in the name of Jesus and for the glory of His kingdom. Walk in that, live in that, love in that.
Let’s vow to stop shrinking ourselves down and just lift everyone, including ourselves, up as often as we possibly can.
Walking right beside you,