Here are five common lies women believe:
1. I have to be beautiful. Seriously? Who decides what that means, you...or the media? Your friends? Your mother? What is beauty? The lack of wrinkles? Perfect teeth, hair, body? Muscle tone? Complexion? I hope your answer is "none of the above." You know why? Because beauty is character. Beauty is confidence. Beauty is faith in God. Beauty is loving others. Beauty is weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Beauty is forthrightness, honesty, sacrificial love. Beauty is patience, grace, and vulnerability. Beauty is calm strength, self-control and much more. It has little to do with appearance. In fact, you'll never win the appearance game because there's always someone more lovely or less lovely. Comparison will leave you feeling overly proud on the one hand, or excessively self-critical on the other. Neither of those is healthy. Stop spending so much time analyzing your physical appearance. And stop building relationships with men or women who choose to evaluate you so one-dimensionally. The result will always be discontent. Guaranteed.
2. I have to be a perfect mother. What's that? One who's kids always make perfect decisions? You can give up on that one now! I've never known a child who always made good choices. Have you? Did you? The reality is that it’ll never happen. God was a pretty good parent. Both His kids--Adam and Eve made bad choices. Don't judge yourself by every decision your kids make. In fact, don't judge yourself by your parenting at all. Just do your best to live like Jesus in their presence. Pray for them. Serve them. Trust them, love them and release them. That's all you can, or should do. They need to live their own lives. You need to live yours. Celebrate one another. Love unconditionally. But never think that you've succeeded or failed because they are or aren’t carbon copies of you. Success in any endeavor is to do the best you can with what you've got. Don't make being a mom more complicated than that.
3. To be a good mom, I can't have a career. Wrong. Another common lie. I know lots of moms who have wonderful careers and are great mothers. Resist the urge to criticize others who just choose to be different than you. Don't make off-the-cuff comments about "what they're missing" when their not at home. Maybe they manage their time at home with their family better than you. Maybe they may watch less television, spend less time on social media, and have more engaging conversations. Being home doesn’t make one a great mom, anymore than being at work makes her inferior. Criticizing other moms will never make you a better one. We all have enough guilt to deal with on our own. Choose the high road. Be beautiful on the inside. Reserve your easy answers for math problems, not other peoples' lives. Choose instead to celebrate all women, especially the ones who are different than you. You'll never make your crown shine brighter by rubbing the glitter off someone else's, ever.
4. I'm selfish or "less than" if I decide not to have children. Never tell yourself that and never say it about others. Having children is not an essential for a successful life or relationship. Too many women have children because they think they owe it to their parents. That's sad. Your life is your life. You don't owe your parents anything but gratitude for what they've done to raise you. That's it. Being a mom to make your mom happy is an expectation fraught with dysfunction and co-dependency. Many couples today are choosing to be childless. It takes courage and strength to swim upstream. Don't criticize others who have the courage to make choices that you're afraid or unwilling to make. If you have children because you think they'll complete you, you're in for a lot of disappointment. Only God can complete any of us. Kids are wonderful, but they're not God. If you choose to have children, enjoy them, but don't worship them. If you choose not to have children, enjoy your unique journey.
5. I will never be enough. I'll never be a good enough mom, wife, friend, lover, daughter, employee or Christian. Hey, who decides what's "good enough?" It's a dead-end street, friends. Don't play that game. Here's the good news: you are enough in Christ. In every situation you can say, "I have Jesus for this...because He's in you and you're in Him and you're both in the Father." (See John 14:20; Galatians 2:20). Let him live through you. Take His hand and walk through womanhood, motherhood and everything else with peace. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. "Come unto me," He said, "and you will find rest for your souls"(Matthew 11:29).
There's so much more to say because there are many other lies that women believe. Over many years of counseling, I’ve heard them all (by the way, men do the same kinds of things). "I'm incomplete unless I'm married." "I've got to be the perfect hostess." "I've got to be widely-read and have a good grasp of current events." "I've got to serve the church, the PTO, the book club and three other organizations that need volunteers." "I've got to work out at least four days a week like my friends do."
Hey...stop! Listen to me...You. Are. Enough. Period. In fact, in Christ, you're more than enough! You're more than a conqueror in Him (Romans 8:37). You never have to do anything more than be you to please God. Seriously. It's all grace. His love is endless and totally unconditional. He accepts you. You can't do anything to be more accepted. Stop trying. Just accept your acceptance. The pressure's off, friend...unless you insist on continuing to pile it on yourself.
Maybe today, maybe now, maybe you should just drop to your knees and say, "God, thanks for making me, loving me, accepting me...just as I am, right now. Thanks that You'll never give up on me, ever. Thanks that, in Christ, you see me as blameless, perfect, free from accusation (Colossians 1:22). Help me not to accuse myself or condemn myself, but instead love myself...and others...and You. Lord, that will make me complete...and that...will be enough. I’m Yours and You're mine. Thanks for making me enough, Lord, in You. I love You. Help me to better understand how incredibly in love You are...with me! Amen."