I was recently asked what my greatest fear is.
I had to think for a moment; and there it was, burning ashamedly in my heart. I fear being inept.
Is that a strange fear? I'm not sure. But it's mine. At work, at the ski resort, in my relationships, in school, or even when I walk into a room – that is my fear. I'm not smart enough, I can't master that skill, I'm not faithful enough, I can't figure it out, I'm not good enough, I'm not pretty enough: I can't. I'm inept. Incapable. Incompetent.
It occurred to me recently that my fear isn't necessarily grounded on past experience; I've always had it. And this led me to wonder if this fear isn't embedded into the heart of every human being in some shape or form.
I could be totally off. But I watch my own siblings, or other children and it seems confirmed. Little boys want to be men, and more importantly they want to prove that they are men. They want to be enough – to have what it takes.
And little girls. Whether we wanted to be Cinderella or Joan of Arc, we yearned to be beautiful and brave. At four we waltzed into the room in our pretty dress and mom's high heels. As young women we dream of someday being captivating to one young man. As middle-aged women we hope to be good wives and mothers. And someday Grandmas. Beautiful, strong, needed, appreciated. And most importantly, we want to be beautiful and strong enough FOR someone. Needed and appreciated BY someone.
One of the hardest pills of reality to swallow for a girl is that she really isn't that beautiful. Who wants to admit that they are mediocre in their looks? Those who are model-worthy are kept straining away to maintain perfection. To prove our worth by how we look.
Those of us not given incredible beauty (and that's a lot of us) strain at what we do feel we have a shot at. Our intelligence. We will give our all in studies and academically accomplish all we felt we failed to do in cosmetics. Or in our strength. We will have a sport that we give 100% to so we might prove we're enough in the area we know we can win. We become the best at something so we can ignore the fact we're inept in another area. Yet outside our safe arena those fears haunt us.
I wanted to encourage you.
Ladies – I get it. I understand the fear and wounds in your heart. Here's the encouragement:
Your worth has nothing to do with how you look or what you can achieve. So go ahead and do yourself a favor and stop comparing yourself. We don't have to work our way into being captivating. We don't have to wait for a beau in order to find worth or to be special to someone, or to be charming.
I am 100% certain being a spouse will be wonderful. I know it will be lovely to have a man singularly delight in me. We want to walk into the room and be noticed and appreciated. We want someone to appreciate spending quality time with us. Someone who enjoys our presence. Someone who remembers our idiosyncrasies; laughs when we laugh, cries when we hurt. Someone who enjoys giving instead of only taking. Someone to rescue us when we are in need. Someone who thinks about us. Someone who needs us. Someone to share an adventure with.
It's really no wonder why we dream of someday “falling in love”. Because it's the perfect scenario for all our deepest desires to be potentially fulfilled.
Recently I wondered how a single girl, such as myself, could find fulfillment without being in a relationship with a guy. I mean, are we supposed to be left desiring and yearning until that magical day? What if we never marry? Or what if “he” doesn't ask me until I'm 35? Am I to be kept incomplete? Am I supposed to have this gaping hole? Are my desires really just my “flesh” – something I should deny and ignore?
I don't think God left us desperate until our wedding day. I have begun to see little ways in which He planned on meeting my desires. Not because I deserve them, but simply because he delights in me. Jesus delights in me. I come before Him and he is excited to share and fellowship. He notices when I am hurt. He cares. He enjoys my presence. He knows everything about me. He laughs when I laugh, cries when I hurt. He knows every step of grief I've ever taken. He creates sunrises just for me. He is patient when I am distracted. He knows how much I enjoy certain little things and he arranges them just for me. He rescues me when I'm lost. He needs my love. He loves that I am part of His adventure. He gives me friends who appreciate me and remind me of goodness and grace.
Stereotypical Christian answer to singlehood's woes, eh? God! He's your lover. Yeah, I understand. Sometimes we want flesh and blood to come and hug us. We want to feel him. God doesn't text us when we're down, or bring us flowers, or audibly say “I love you” or physically dry our tears. I get that. That may be what we want, but He has provided what we need. Perfectly.
He desires these things too. It's His image we're made in. He understands our yearnings better than anyone else. And he lovingly has provided a solution for our needs. He didn't make us imperfect – or he'd be imperfect. God is vulnerable. God needs. God desires. So do we. We aren't meant to be left desperate. We are meant to find fulfillment through Him. That way it doesn't matter if we are single for the rest of our lives – we have Him already! If we can recognize our need to simply be a display of God's own character, we might be less apt to condemn ourselves, and more readily apt to run to the One who eagerly waits to meet our need.
So why are we valuable? Because we are made in the image of God and He says so. No stipulations or conditions.
No-one is meant to completely fulfill that void in our hearts, ladies. Not our parents, not our siblings not our girlfriends. And later in life – not our boyfriend, not our husbands, not our children. God is so good as to give us people in our life who display affection, affirmation, security, love, support, etc. Those relationships are blessings! But they aren't meant to meet our needs entirely. Only Jesus can fulfill us 100%. It's dangerous of us to seek and expect fulfillment from the wrong sources.
This is a glorious fact, girls! God doesn't put worth on us because of our merit. And we don't need to wait until that perfect relationship – whether that's a Dad who will start loving us, that big brother we never had – a Prince charming – we don't have to wait. We have a father who unconditionally loves us and protects us. We have a friend closer than a brother. The Son of God pursues us already!
Not to belittle earthly relationships – but so often we seek and yearn and cry when He is already there, longing to be our everything. We don't have to get fit before we're lovely. We don't have to catch someone's eye before we're captivating. We don't have to prove anything.
I hope this somehow reminds you to run hard to Him. I forget too. I allow my fears to run away with me. But we don't have to. Relish the fact He loves you. Tell Him so – and watch those fears melt away. You ARE captivating.