I recently came across a completely surprising statistic. Can you guess at what age in women self-esteem peaks? Age nine. Nine. Just reading that prompted a highly disturbing flashback to my nine-year-old self. I had a ferocious perm, my face was 90% covered by monstrous glasses, and I had an uncanny knack for matching oversized pastel sweatshirts exactly to my leg warmers. I certainly did not look like someone who had it all going on. But you know what? Beneath that ruffled headband (oh yes, and I matched my headband to said sweatshirt and leg warmers), beat the heart of a secure woman. I thought I was gorgeous, stunning even. I had been given no reason to believe otherwise.
This was not just my experience. Have you spent time with a little girl lately? Maybe you live with one. They all think they’re princesses. And not just when playing dress up. They literally think they are princesses. They believe their fabulousness is only enhanced by mismatched socks, mud pies, and popsicle stained cheeks. And I would have to agree.
The funny thing about my uber confident nine-year-old self? I hadn’t even become who I was meant to be yet. I had no concept of how skillfully and carefully my Creator had crafted me. I hadn’t grown into my giftings, my faith, or my body. And did I mention the perm? I mean, compared to back then, I have every reason to be confident and self-assured in who I am and who Christ made me to be. This should be the season of my most confident self. Of your most confident self. But is it?
Here’s my point: little girls grow up. That little firecracker running around in the tutu and Converse sneakers is barreling towards adolescenthood. And she is going to need some real women to show her that her princess days are not behind her. That daunting responsibility falls on us. It falls on you. And it’s not going to happen by telling her she’s beautiful. She’ll see right through that. You have to show her that you believe you’re beautiful. A much taller order, I know. This means you can’t brush off complements – you need to accept them. You can’t put yourself down – you need to highlight your strengths. And you definitely can’t joke about your flabby arms or thighs – you need to speak out that you were made in His image. Because the only way she is going to know how to accept her own unique beauty is by seeing the women in her world accept their own unique beauty. Women like her mom. Her aunt. Her teacher. Her sister. Her mentor.
So take some time this month to dig in. Look at who you are in Christ. Begin to own the captivating warrior He created you to be. Add 20, 30, or 40 years to that silly statistic. Because someone is learning what it means to be a confident woman of God by watching you.
The responsibility falls on you.