The words that reduced me to tears came from a Dove Soap video produced in France:
“You have a big chest and short legs. Some women can make that work. But you … you’ve got no charm. You’re just fat and ordinary.”
“Every time you smile, those baby teeth you have make you look like a mouse.”
“Sit straight up so your belly doesn’t look so big.”
In the video, women had been asked to record a journal with all the thoughts they had about themselves throughout the day. Dove then turned the women’s thoughts into a dialogue that played at a street café within earshot of several other tables, including tables where the original women sat.
Strangers overhearing the conversation were appalled to hear how the women spoke to one another, and they interrupted the exchange.
“That’s so violent what you’re saying to her! You should stop. Your words are so unkind.”
When the original women realized those spoken words were the thoughts they’d written in their journals, they were mortified.
“It’s so horrifying. I hope my daughter never speaks to herself like that,” one woman observed.
I sat weeping at my kitchen table through the whole video, realizing it wasn’t just those women. I do it too. So many of us do. Over and over we devalue ourselves. Over and over we choose to believe lies over truth.
But we cannot walk into our full potential in Christ when we falsely believe who God created us to be falls woefully short.
How often and easily do we forget our value? How often do we believe lies of the world instead of words from our Creator about us? We set aside the truth that Jesus came and lived and died to prove to us we are of great value to the God of the heavens. Even Dove Soap sees our value. Our renowned Creator has given us inherent value. Yet, we call “ugly” what God calls a “masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT) And then we operate according to the lies and lose the capacity to follow Him.
How we minimize Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice when we insist that more must be done to redeem our messy lives. We make Satan’s job so simple. He plants one tiny lie somewhere along the path, and we take it all the way to our own self-destruction.
We all have them, those lies we believe. Then we adopt new ideas we think will cover them. But eventually the facade cracks, and the old lies remain … still distorting our beliefs about everything. Instead of moving forward in curiosity after God, we get stuck on lies about ourselves. It’s time we learn to uncover the lies, to name them, to call them out! Time to stop believing them and replace them with Christ’s truth.
I get it, though. We forget what God says about our identity in Him. We get wrapped up in things around us. Our families and jobs require so much of us we can lose ourselves — and turn into people we never thought we’d become. The harsh reality of life exploits and exposes us. So we turn inward and try to protect what little we think remains. We know there is more to life, but we don’t even have the energy to be curious about it. Then one day we wake up lost and don’t know how to get back to what or who we used to be.
You are not what you do. Your value isn’t decided by a number on the tag in the back of your jeans, your profession or by your roles: career woman, wife, mom, sister, friend, etc. Those are gifts you have, traits you exhibit. But they don’t define the core of your being. You aren’t the sum of your mistakes or the messed-up identity you once wore.
Your identity is simple. It’s clear. It’s beautiful. Your identity is purely who God says you are. Beautiful, redeemed, renamed, engraved on the hands of Christ, where you will never be forgotten.
I recently heard it said that “the things around us can’t define how we stand, when we’re actually seated with God” because:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4, NIV).
Where we sit determines how we stand. So stand tall in your seats, sisters. Stand true in honor and dignity and kindness and grace. Wear the truth that was made for you. Toss off the raggedy clothes of mistaken identity and put on the “garments of salvation” and “robe of righteousness” found in Isaiah 61:10, that are yours in Christ Jesus.
Thank you Logan Wolfman.