Last week, I read a beautiful post by my dear friend Marcy Crabtree over at the Ben & Me blog. She talked about “real life,” resisting the urge to compare ourselves with the so-called perfection we see around us, whether it be online, on television, or wherever else we find it. This week, as I prayed and prepared to write this post, I read the story of Saachi, a woman who listened to the lies about how worthless she was and tried to kill herself. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we endlessly compare ourselves with other women, other families, other ideals?
Consider this – in the thousands of years of human history that span countless societies, the image of the “ideal woman” has consistently changed. Some societies valued small frames and delicate constitutions. Others valued women whose physique lent itself well to bearing children. Some societies idealized women who were warriors; others thought it shameful for a woman to have the role as protector. And fashion – the extremes are endless! In a few short hundred years, American society has valued everything from stretch jeans that squeeze one’s “rear view” into an impossibly small package to bustles that made it impossible to pass through the average doorway!
So where does that leave us? For the Christian woman, we often turn to Proverbs 31 to read of the values that endure and serve as a role model today. But let’s be honest – just reading that list on a day when you’re feeling less than your best leaves you exhausted and at times even feeling defeated. But don’t you see, we’re doing it again? We’re comparing ourselves with the “ideal” woman. That is not what we are called to do. Jesus didn’t tell us to look around and worry about what everyone else is doing. Do you remember what He said to Peter when Peter started wondering what God’s purpose for his fellow apostle John was? “…what is that to you? You must follow me.”
Peter’s job wasn’t to look around; Peter’s job was to look to Jesus. Remember what happened when he took his eyes off of Jesus when he was walking on the water?
But don’t stop reading there. If you’re like me, you cringe when you think of the mistake Peter made because it reminds us each of the mistakes we make. Keep reading. Turn to Luke 7 and start reading again in verse 36. A woman came to Jesus. All she had to offer Him was her shame and her tears. Her life was a mess. Everyone knew it. There was no hiding it any more. She didn’t say anything, she just came to Jesus and wept at His feet. And what did Jesus say? “Your sins are forgiven . . . Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” What did He do? He forgave her and gave her peace.
May we each be as brave as she was and come to Jesus when all we have left to offer Him is our tears.
And may we have courage to believe Him when He says our sins are forgiven. He has paid for them with His blood. And He has given us peace.
Will we receive it?