The other night there was a women’s event at my church. Now I think I’ve talked about this on here before but I get excited when there’s an event at church that is for ALL the women and not just for moms. I’m thrilled that there’s so many programs for moms and hopefully one day I’ll be able to do that but as I’m not in that stage of life, I tend to feel very left out. So anytime I hear about an event for all women, I will jump at the chance to attend.
This specific event featured a speaker that talked about shattered images and what it really means to be a godly woman. It was awesome how much I got out of her talk. It just really felt like I could relate to what she was saying despite not being in the same stage of life. I didn’t feel like I was being left behind or outside the circle. Maybe it was because this was what I needed to hear but everything in the talk just clicked with me.
In keeping with last week’s post about social media, I realize that I’ve created an image of what I SHOULD be like based on what I see my friends and others are doing in their own lives. For me it’s actually not the media or celebrities that influence me because I know that I will never come close to achieving their lifestyle and I’m perfectly ok with it. There are though some bloggers that do make me feel woefully inadequate because in their posts they look like they have perfect everything from hair to food to photography to the damn blog itself and how professional it looks. That can be extremely intimidating but then I remind myself again that bloggers are trying to reach their audience (and also the possibility of making money) and therefore they are only going to showcase their best lest they lose both.
But yet for some reason, that same line of reasoning doesn’t seem to compute as easily in my head with people I know. I see what they post online and even though with some people I know fully well what is going on in their lives, they still come across as perfect to me. They may have the worst lives ever but I will never know this because all they project is an image of bliss and happiness.
I see all these women and it’s so hard to NOT compare myself to them. When I do this, I mean it’s no wonder that the life I want to have seems like it’ll never happen. Because they seem to be everything that I can never be no matter how hard I try. Moment of truth: there are days when it’s incredibly painful to hear your friends talk about their children and how they are expecting more, how much they love their marriage or hearing of an engagement, buying a house or just being excited to have a place to decorate, not having to worry about money and can take trips whenever they want, or even just have someone take care of them when they are sick and not have to worry about dying alone and no one noticing.
The absolute worst (and I really should not be doing this, why I torture myself is beyond me) is when I see pictures and posts from the wives of any of my exes or guys that it didn’t work out with. Because all I see is just constant visual reminders of me not being what they wanted and makes me feel like I’m never going to be good enough.
This type of perspective even skews what my image of what a godly woman should look like. Because to me she is someone who is married, has kids, very hospitable, always wanting to serve, patient, full of grace, not outspoken, even IF she has awkward moments she plays it off easily and is incredibly humble. I see other women in church who I know are older than me but with their perfect hair, makeup, and figure look like they are years younger. They have kids but you’d never know it based on how they look. They appear to be perfectly put together. I know there are struggles behind the appearance but let’s be honest, they aren’t going to share them with me and do I really need to know everything? No.
We hold ourselves to a standard that can never be reached and then we hold each other to yet an even higher standard. These are all images that I need to shatter. Because honestly, what really matters (and this was my takeaway from the event) is that IF I am TRULY honest about my faith then I am an image bearer of God. Therefore I really need to stop comparing myself to anyone else. This goes for both people in the church as well as others out of it. If I’m supposed to be representing God, then I’ll do it in my own way and not everyone else’s.
I really don’t want to be like everyone because I’m not like everyone else. And I want people to see how different I am because of my faith. Not that I’m going around preaching at everyone or trying to convert anyone I come in contact with. But instead through how I act and that means with my own way of doing things. Sure it may mean being the quirky one that stands out awkwardly but that’s how God wants me to be. I won’t be the person with the perfect hair everyone envies and I may not (yet) have a husband and children who I can share stories about to others.
But….I am me. Sometimes I wonder if God made a mistake when He made me and that even though I know I was created in God’s own image perhaps He got a bit distracted with me and I came out slightly flawed in comparison with everyone else. Ultimately, I know that it’s not true. It’s funny because all my life I’ve wanted to blend in with everyone else so that I wouldn’t stand out. Now I’m realizing that standing out could be a good thing.
My story is different from others. I’ve been realizing that my spiritual gift is leaning towards encouragement as I tend to do this, many times without even trying, it just happens. So I hope that God will use me and my story to help encourage others throughout whatever walk of life they might be in.