If you are like most women, you spend way too much time comparing yourselves to others, wishing you were young-er, smart-er, pretty-er, thin-er, creative-er, rich-er, and the list goes on and on. Instead of embracing your own unique gifts, you covet those of your friends or co-workers. Instead of loving who you are, you allow your shameless self-critic to sabotage your thoughts with “you’re not good enough,” and “you need to be more, do more, appear more and give more.”
I started a new Bible study last week with a small group of women, and we are studying the book Authentic: Developing the Disciplines of a Sincere Faith. Our first chapter was on hypocrisy. Ouch. Going through the daily questions made each of us think about how we look and act on the outside compared with how we believe and feel on the inside. Hypocrites make a big deal out of little things, they don’t keep promises and they step on anyone they have to in order to get what they want. Perhaps the biggest struggle women have with hypocrisy is trying to look beautiful on the outside while rotting inside. Pride keeps us from being transparent and vulnerable, and we let shame, guilt and low self-esteem force us to live behind masks. We pretend that life is perfect, when in reality we are struggling with relationships, finances and stress. We are afraid to just be good instead of striving for perfection for fear of being judged harshly by others. What results is a world filled with women who feel lonely, invisible and small, who believe they will never be enough until they have a bunch of “-ers” tied to their lives.
I wish the intense drive in us could be a commitment to living and leading with authenticity, vulnerability and transparency. Wouldn’t it be great to believe that you are already enough, without all those “-ers?” Wouldn’t it be a relief to acknowledge that we are all imperfect, and that striving for the impossible will be exhausting and unproductive? I imagine this refreshing attitude would foster deeper relationships, reduced stress and anxiety, and more contentment with life in general. We wouldn’t be caught up in the comparison wars, but instead would measure our success by seeing how much we have improved over time, not how we rate against the accomplishments of others. We would be gentle with ourselves, understanding that aging brings with it certain life changes, some better than others, and that every woman’s body will have wrinkles and sags over time.
My hope is that you will live a purpose-driven life, one that is aligned with your calling and brings you immense joy, fulfillment and peace every day. Living your purpose allows you to fully embrace who you are and who you were created to be in God’s plan, instead of worrying about what others are doing. Throwing out the “-ers” will free you to be open, honest and real, as you give others permission to do the same.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
Instead, it should be that of your inner self,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
And let me be the first to say that I don’t have it all together! But I work hard, love intensely, appreciate my journey gratefully and keep my eyes on Jesus every day. Occasionally I slip back into the “er” mode, but the deeper my faith grows, the more quickly I can self-correct.
You are precious just as you are, no “-ers” needed! If you need help claiming it, I’m here for you, just as I am.
If you struggle with the hypocrisy of pretending to be someone you’re not, I have much more for you in my 7-video series “Overcoming Overwhelm: 7 Essentials for Achieving Success With Ease.” In this one-week series, I share some of my best tips to overcome perfectionism, fear, self-doubt and overwhelm.
And if you would like some personal support and guidance, click here to schedule a complimentary 30-minute Clarity Session.