by Erin Weidemann
If you’re a woman, you’re a grown up girl, so you get it. If you’re not, it will be a bit difficult to understand. I hope you will keep reading. I am inviting you into an extremely delicate, often scary place, a place I lived for a long time. It is real. It is dangerous. And, unfortunately, it’s where a lot of us girls spend our time.
A lot has changed over the years, but the struggle to be a girl in the world remains strangely the same. It’s no secret that, starting at an early age, girls wrestle hard with insecurity and self-doubt. Some are crippled by these feelings. Others are consumed by them, swallowed whole, confused and mistaken about who they are and what they’re worth.
This has been the story for generations, and it’s time we, as the body of Christ, do something about it.
When I was young, that struggle was a game called hide and seek. I’m not talking about the game you’re thinking of. Count to ten with your eyes covered while your friends scurry off to find the perfect spot and then giggle excitedly as you try to hunt them down. Not that game. I’m talking about the one all girls play. It starts when we’re little, and we play it for years. Some of us never stop. This is the game:
Hide your true self and seek acceptance by chasing the world’s definition of beauty.
It starts when we’re young, when we’re trying to make sense of the world and how it works. We learn early that we can cover up the things we don’t like about ourselves; we look out into the world and try to be what we see other girls being: beautiful, confident, tough, and independent. We swallow every bit of what the world tells us about real beauty, every message, every lie. “Here’s what you need to do to be beautiful. Here’s what you need to be,” it says. We listen. We believe it. When we do, we stop hearing what our Father is telling us. We can’t hear Him because the world is loud. It’s so loud, and it’s virtually impossible to hear God’s truth above all the noise.
What is the truth? The truth is that, because God made us, we are beautiful. He made us in His image, like Him, and our worth does not come from the world. It comes from Him. The God who breathed life into us, the Almighty One who planned out every detail of our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls on purpose with purpose. The God who made the world and everything in it, every thing, a masterpiece. Our Father, the maker of not one mistake. Not one.
What do we do though? We look in the mirror through the world’s lens, and we don’t like what we see. We obsess over every mark, every blemish, every imperfection, every everything that we think is “wrong.” We can’t see the beauty; we only see the flaws. We do not find answers or comfort or peace, because we are staring back at our own reflection, the one that makes us feel disappointed that things aren’t different. We do not find answers, because we are looking at ourselves when we should be looking up.
So we hide, and we search for our identity by way of comparison. We size ourselves up against the other girls we see. It starts out as a choice, and then it morphs and mutates until it becomes part of us. Am I as pretty as she is? Am I as thin? Am I as fun? Am I as well-liked? On and on and on. The search for beauty and acceptance: to feel loved, to feel like we are worth something because we forget that we already are.
We pass ourselves off as strong and confident by simply pretending. We become very good at looking at other girls who we think have it all together and trying our best to be like them. We imitate. We parrot. We mimic. Girls hone these skills very quickly. We get good at it really fast, because it is how we can seem like we have it all together. We get our “act” together because the real us just isn’t good enough.
This game of hide and seek can’t be won though, and we certainly lose plenty while we play. We lose peace. We lose perspective. The light that God put inside us becomes a little dimmer while we play. I mentioned earlier that some of us never stop playing. So much is lost. The worst part is that we lose ourselves. We become an echo: a reverberation of the same old noise the world continues to put out at a deafening volume.
That’s the problem. So what can we do about it? We must find ways to bring our girls closer to God, to help them draw near to Him when every fiber of their beings tells them to separate, to withdraw, to run. We must help our girls stagger toward Him, broken and weak, but with enough energy to hold their arms open wide, so that they can embrace their Father and allow Him to whisper His truth into their ears. And because He’s so close, pressed right up against them, the noise of this world will then fall on divinely deaf ears.
We can’t do this alone. As I think about my own daughter, I know I can’t do this by myself. Truthfully, I get scared sometimes thinking about how I’m going to guide her when she starts to play the same game I did. What am I going to do? What am I going to say?
Our girls need heroes, and not just any heroes. There are enough would-be heroes out in the world today that reinforce the game of hide and seek, that raise the volume of culture and drown out God’s voice. Our girls deserve better, and we must give them real role models, heroes who point them to God’s Word, who point them to Jesus. They would be wise to imitate them: women who were honest about their brokenness and invited God into that space of vulnerability, however dark and scary. They are the heroes who will not reinforce this broken way of thinking; they will dismantle it.
Our ministry, Bible Belles, was born out of a deep-seated desire to give our girls the opportunity to discover these heroes, the female heroes of the Bible, and to help them establish a meaningful connection with God’s Word. Our first series highlights five women of the Bible who demonstrate what real beauty is and how it can be lived out in today’s world.
Hannah. Esther. Abigail. Ruth. Deborah. HEARD. These women represent the journey that the next generation of girls will take to make a different kind of noise, to give up the game of hide and seek and step into their own unique purpose by realizing they were created by a powerful and loving God who made them beautiful already. Our girls will no longer be plagued by questions; they will be empowered by the quiet, soft whisper of their Maker. Through the stories of these women our girls will not only come to understand God’s definition of beauty; they will be transformed by it.
Hannah, The Belle of Prayer, shows girls that the first step to discovering God’s love is open and honest communication with Him. Esther, The Belle of Patience, teaches them to prepare for God’s direction, wait patiently, and act according to His perfect timing. Abigail, The Belle of Bravery, shows them how they can choose courage when they face danger and still do what is right. Ruth is The Belle of Loyalty, a symbol for true friendship and putting the needs of others ahead of their own. Deborah is The Belle of Leadership, the one who had the wisdom to know what needed to be done and stirred action in both herself and others.
These women will help us raise up a generation of girls who understand that God’s truth is their ultimate and unequivocal reality. And when that happens, the noise of this world will change from a blaring roar to a ring so sweet that it just might be God Himself. That’s the noise that this world needs: a different kind of noise.
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Erin Weidemann is an enthusiastic and goofy mom to two children, one of them with paws. She is a wife, author, teacher, former college athlete and a five time cancer survivor. Her heart is in Seville, Spain, though she calls Encinitas, CA home. In her spare time she enjoys going to the beach with her husband and daughter, coaching softball, and pretending she can bake. In addition to being the CEO and founder of Bible Belles, Erin hosts the award winning Heroes For Her podcast.
For more information on Bible Belles visit www.biblebelles.com