I used to look in the mirror and see a girl who was skinny. No curves and no cushion. I was tall, lanky and awkward, like a puppy who’s feet are too big for them; and I was ok with it because half of the girls at school looked the same way.
But then I grew into my feet and looked in the mirror one day and saw something different.
I saw a girl who could be even skinnier.
I saw a girl who had been told that one day maybe she could model because she was tall, skinny and “pretty enough.” I had no control over the pretty enough, but I did have control over the skinny- and maybe that would make me pretty.
I told myself, “This is who I am. I am tall and skinny.”
There was no other ambition to work towards in a life of tall and skinny.
So I became skinnier.
And it worked.
With my skinny came compliments and attention. How if I bleached my hair, gave up the glasses, got some “work” done, ripped a few holes in my jeans, cropped my shirt a bit, traded in my flip flops for heels and wore more makeup I could be the full package.
All I had to do was change everything that made me, well, me. I had already given up most of my interests, so giving up physical things like glasses and bell bottoms would be easy.
And it was.
I had no muscle anymore. Physically and mentally, I was just skinny. No strength, no endurance to fight. Just skinny.
I was vain, malnourished and light headed most days, but doggone the world thought I was beautiful and people were envious of me. And it felt good- even if I was dying from the inside out.
I was center stage in my life and my only worry was that me, myself and I stayed as skinny as possible and got as much attention as possible. And then one day I woke up dehydrated, heart fluttering and shingles down my side. I was told that the life I was living had aged my body to the equivalent of an 80 year old, and I would die within a year if something didn’t change.
I had become a product of a master who found delight in my destruction. A master who wanted to keep me skinny, instead of strong.
Why am I telling you this? To gloat about how I used to be desired by the world? Of course not- that’s the embarrassing and sad part. I share this because I know what it feels like to want to be desired and seen. To be served instead of serving others. I know what it feels like to be the girl who believed what the world told her made her useful. And I know that no matter what the world says, being skinny is not what brings joy or contentment.
I am not talking just about physical skinny- but a life of skinny.
We live in a culture of skinny women. Not only in body, but in mind and spirit. We are constantly bombarded by a culture telling us what being a woman means. What womanhood should look like and feel like. What attitudes and opinions a real woman should have.
And the result is death. From the inside out.
Our culture is malnourished, vain, and starving for attention teaching all who will listen that being a supermodel is a better life than being a servant because a supermodel is seen and noticed wherever she goes. People talk about her and want to know her. They go out of their way to thank her for the smallest of things.
But a servant goes unnoticed most days. A servant serves thanklessly, with little eye contact and “thank you’s” are rarely shouted her way. She shows up day in and day out with no expectation to receive praise.
A supermodel is skinny, but a servant is strong.
You see, skinny may get you attention- but strength will give you life.
Ladies, this month your challenge is: Endure in the Lord to build muscle and strength, instead of living to be skinny. Each one of us has areas in our lives where we prefer being a supermodel instead of a servant. We would rather be seen in the moment, instead of made strong over time. Physically, mentally, or spiritually, God is calling each of us to pick up our cross and follow Him instead of the lies of the world. Search your heart and ask yourself: What lies from the enemy do you believe about yourself? Who does God say you are? Are you content living the life God has called you too, even if no one sees? Day in and day out, is He enough to sustain your joy? We all need others to lift us up, but as mothers, we all have a common enemy who sits and whispers lies of who we could and should be.
As mothers, we live a life of constant service. From the moment we wake, our days are filled to the brim with other people’s needs, and our enemy crouches like a lion waiting to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). He wants to steal our joy, our contentment and our will to endure. He wants our attitude to be molded by the supermodel in each of us who desires to do less work but somehow get more outcome.
He wants to keep us skinny instead of strong.
But Jesus came so that we could be made strong. He came to show us that the life of a servant is the life to grasp tightly and endure for.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Jesus came, so that we could serve in strength, growing muscle in our joy and peace. He came so that we could cook and clean and wipe and dust and wash and scrub and drive and call and rock and sooth and discipline and listen, day in and day out with gladness- even if we are never seen.
This is the strong life.
To serve out of the abundance Christ has filled us with so that we may join him in giving our life for many. To know that when no one sees, God sees. In the quiet of the night when we tenderly rock our baby. When we pick up the socks on the floor without an eyeroll, or clear the plates off the table without a grand announcement (eh hem, I know I’m not the only one), God sees.
“The eyes of the Lord search throughout the earth to STRENGTHEN those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
God’s eyes do not fall upon those who live to be supermodels and call attention upon themselves; but instead on those who commit their lives as servants. He desires to strengthen those who are fully committed to His call and His will. Me, myself and I will slowly kill you from the inside out, but the fear of the Lord will give you knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), and knowledge will give you strength. Fill your hearts with the Word of God and use it as a weight against all other schemes against you. Jesus knew the discipline it takes to protect a heart from being twisted and squeezed of all it’s muscle. He knew that the life of a supermodel is fleeting.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:0).
Every supermodel peaks and has to find something new to become, but a servant’s call lasts through the ages and lifts up generations. A woman who fears the Lord will stand the test of time. She will raise servants who will rise and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28). Her children will stand and not grow weary or faint, because their refuge will be in the Lord. Let us be women who fear the Lord and know that a servant’s strength is worth more than a supermodel’s skinny. Let us endure to build the muscle needed to fight the battle at hand. A skinny culture can be quickly strengthened by mothers who are strong enough to carry their cross to the finish line. May your month be filled with the hope of the Lord so that your strength may be renewed!