SPOILER ALERT: This post contains transparent and honest discussion about this book that may contain spoilers and specific details.
About the Book
Read my review here.
Elizabeth compares her physical appearance to the women around her and feels like a plain moth among beautiful butterflies. Why do women have such a tendency to compare themselves to others? What are the results of such comparisons? And how can we avoid the comparison trap?
We too often blame our self-image insecurities on the media and how the ideal woman is portrayed on television and in magazines. There is validity and truth to that argument, however this book is evidence to the fact that women have always compared themselves to each other. The world is always changing the criteria for how to evaluate beauty, thrusting us into a cyclical habit of comparison and striving for what someone else has.
I am guilty of this. Growing up, some tactless individuals would sometimes refer to my sister as “the beauty” and to bookworm me as “the brains.” This was (and is) highly offensive to both of us as my sister is an extremely intelligent business woman and I don’t go around cracking mirrors. For years I applied those lies to the image that stared back at me in the mirror. It damaged my self-esteem to the point that I would read into comments and looks and couldn’t leave the house without thinking “Do I look okay? Am I dressed fashionable/pretty/feminine enough to stand beside my sister?” Such unhealthy and personally detrimental behavior. When I got home, I would analyze everything I said and did and beat myself up mentally for not being wittier or more sociable. I relegated myself to be the wall flower that I thought everyone perceived me to be. Oh how the devil knows how to target our weaknesses!
Thankfully, our wonderful parents taught us that a woman’s true beauty lies in the value that God has placed upon her life through his unconditional love and sacrifice. If we are created in God’s image, than we can not be found wanting in His eyes. It took me years, through God’s intervening grace, to fight against the little voice in my head that would whisper ugly lies about my personality and appearance. But I have a God that loves me and holds me in His arms to shield me from hateful thoughts the enemy throws my way.
This is the lesson that I hope to pass on to all women in my realm of influence:
Psalm 139: 13-16 (NIV)
13For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be
Is it still a struggle not to compare myself to other women? Absolutely.
Elizabeth believes if she serves the Lord diligently, He will reward her efforts. Often we too think we can earn God’s favor by serving him. What’s wrong with this philosophy? Does God’s love and blessing really depend on anything we do? Or does he bestow blessings because of his great love and mercy?
If God’s love and blessings depended on what we did, than he never would have gone to the cross. I think as humans this is the hardest part to understand about unconditional love-even though we don’t deserve it, He gives it to us freely. It is important to live a life that is pleasing to Him and to have a heart to serve others; we show God’s love to the world through our lives and actions.
1 John 4:16-18 (NIV)
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)
4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.