Until they Don't...
They said those things, and in one shallow breath, I felt invisible.
It’s a matter of moments, some smaller than others, that create a chasm between who we are, and who we think we should be.
I believe in the potency of words to demean value and destroy image. They discredit dreams and undermine ability.
Until they don’t.
I would love to deny the deeply rooted part of my soul that screams "incompetent, insufficient, unlovable, frightened, defective and unfit." I wish that I could disavow the lack of confidence that often lures me into the dark waters of envy and comparison. But no matter how fiercely I try to live in victory over insecurity and fear, old wounds bleed again at the slightest word.
Until they don’t.
Women are socialized, even in infancy, into dependency. We are recognized, as childhood proceeds, for being "nice" or "sweet," and our hesitancy to challenge, to confront and to complain is rewarded by approval and affection. Over time, often subconsciously, we begin to pattern ourselves after what is expected. We avoid risk at all cost, we steer clear of new opportunities and significant change, and our hopes and dreams sit dusty on a corner shelf, while we settle into a system that does not expect a great deal from us. It is a strange feeling really, people pleasing and value seeking. It is much like drowning in a place where everyone else can swim.
And so we work from the belief that life is an Olympic sport where someone of note is calculating points as a measure of our worth. Before we are even aware, we become enslaved to the scorekeepers. We are smart only because someone tells us so; we are likable because someone likes us and we are beautiful because someone has noticed. Outside approval becomes the barometer for our self-worth and value.
Until it isn’t.
My wells run deep. Fear of rejection and the pursuit of acceptance have, for so long, been the driving force of my life. I live with a nagging but persistent feeling of being out of place making me clumsy and easily distracted. Perhaps it is the knowledge that something is not quite right accompanied with the understanding that settling for what is not quite right is unquestionably wrong. What I am learning, albeit rancorously, is that the scripts written for me and by me, the words that foretell my incompetency and lack of impact, are contrary to the scripts that God has written. And when I look unflinchingly into eyes that declare that my life was worth the expenditure of His, the words that demean value and destroy image, that discredit dreams and undermine abilities, no longer hold power. I am defined by the creation of miracles when others give up hope, and by a poetic heart that serves to paint perspective in a world that needs a sign that God doesn’t forget the least of us.
For every woman that has finally accepted her worth, there is a flight to freedom. Let people feel the weight of who you were created to be, and then let them deal with it. Share with the world your mountain-highs and valley’s deep because it is your sensitivity, your self-awareness, and your willingness to communicate who you are, in light of the One who can craft ten thousand tomorrows and shape a thousand dreams, that will lead you into the valley of change.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." ~Luke 12:6-7