Be Beautifully and Courageously You

by | Aug 26, 2017 | Courage, Cultivate, Voice | 6 comments

As women, we face a lot of pressure to be different than we are instead of beautifully and courageously who we already are. Heading toward the fall season (at least where I live in the world), I’m already sensing the push and pull of that pressure alongside all the activities and opportunities ahead. Are you too?

The Comparison

Take a moment to imagine this scenario with me. A woman is watching another woman who seems to have it all and she whispers, “I want to be like her.”

After all, the woman she is watching seems to be put together, admired by many, confident, knows where she’s going in life, and of course she’s extremely creative and talented. She’s a leader and has a ministry or community reach to rival any. Perhaps she’s particularly fit or stylish, travels to amazing places, or writes books that many actually buy and read. (Speaking to my writer friends on that last one.)

Of course she must have a wonderful family and community and a cozy (or big) home with all the style and amenities the watching woman has pinned onto her “My Someday Life” board on Pinterest.

I’m guessing this wasn’t that difficult to imagine. As women we struggle with comparison, whether in our everyday life or while on social media where posts and pictures of the wonderful life we imagine abound.

What values and attributes capture your attention and stir longings and wishes deep inside? Which are truly authentic to you?

If we are honest, we see how our scratchy longings out-shout our attempts to be prayerfully and graciously accepting of who we are and the courageous life process and path we are currently walking out. Instead, with whatever measure we’ve used, we decide we have come up woefully short.

If only…

Then maybe…

I could be like her.

I hope you never are like her. Not that whoever she is—the person you are currently comparing yourself to—is not a delightful woman (though I’m guessing she and her life are not exactly as perfect as you picture). But more importantly, you are beautifully you.

The Beautifully Courageous You

Dr. Seuss, in his usual creative style, wrote:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Those words make me smile. Even more, though, I am bolstered by knowing that the Creator God looks at me and says:

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139).

He knows me so well and reminds me that he has already been shaping my life to be true to a unique design only I can carry and creatively live out. Courageously. Beautifully.

What are the attributes and deep values you admire in others? List those.
Recognize that you might value those because they are already a part of who you are.

The Celebration in Place of Comparison

Allow yourself to be loved into God’s embrace. Take a few moments to stop and ask him to help you see yourself as he sees you. Rest in the wonder of his ongoing transformative work within and the unique ways you love, serve, and contribute as only you can. Recognize and honor what you love and your passions and dreams as unique and important to offer.

Then, for a moment, tilt this a bit for yet another view. Notice what happens when we don’t do this. When we instead focus our attention on wishing we were like someone else, we not only miss out on the discovery and joy of who we are, but this distracted view can distort our perspective of others who are different than the image we admire. How that dilutes the beauty of who they are and who we are and the impact we can uniquely make together!

How might we instead value ourselves, and others, without comparison? How might we see ourselves, and others, for the courageous people we each are? As each deeply loved by God? As people with dreams and goals and with lives of value and much to contribute?

As you move into the fall season (or the season where you are in the world) with all of its activities and opportunities, consider how you might fully honor who you are. What is one promise you can make to yourself to be beautifully and courageously you? What is one action you will take to honor that promise and make it your awareness more consistently?

Celebrate your discoveries. Celebrate you!

Share your questions and struggles around this topic in the comments. Or add your thoughts and ideas about comparison and the challenge to be more authentically ourselves. Bring your grappling, learning, and discovery to the table. As always, we love to hear from you and invite conversation as a community.

6 Comments

  1. Joy Martin

    I’ve got some icky, embarrassing thoughts that pop up sometime when I see the seemingly easy success of others. On that “writer’s side” you were talking about — it’s hard when others seem to get all the promotion, etc. I think I’m coming to rest in God’s answer for that but it’s another thing to deal with…another “comparison” trap that’s so easy to get into. I’d love your wise counsel on keeping that ugly attitude in check. 🙂 Thanks for this good reminder, Jan

    Reply
    • Jan Kern

      First, hugs to you, Joy! The easy success of others is a complex one because the comparisons are so readily available! Addressing the writing side of this . . . I think it’s important for each of us as writers to stay true to our dream and the unique shape of our success (not anyone else’s), and keep honoring the process and who God has formed us to be. There is plenty of room for each of our unique voices, even though at times it doesn’t seem like it because the spotlight we believe others have threatens to blind our view of those God is calling us to specifically impact. Nothing else can be as important or really as interesting. Not what anyone else is doing, how they are doing it or even their platform. (Not sure if that was particularly wise, but perhaps it’s a starting place.) Anyway, you have many more beautiful stories to live and to tell, Joy! You impacted me with the one you shared today on your blog. The link for others: https://alifegivingmoment.wordpress.com/2017/09/02/a-pint-of-gas-more-stories-from-our-front-porch/

      Reply
  2. Debbie Boon

    Thank you Jan! It is easy to get caught up in the “I wish” of life and not see the ” I am”!

    Reply
    • Jan Kern

      Beautifully put, Debbie! And the “I am” is already amazing and so much better than the “I wish”!

      Reply
  3. Sharon Macmillan

    Thanks, Jan, for reminding us of our unique value to our Designer, keeping our focus on all He has planned for each of us.

    Reply
    • Jan Kern

      Yes, Sharon! Don’t we find that setting our focus on our Designer and his unique design–each of us as uniquely fearfully and wonderfully made–frees us to live fully in all that He desires, which is so much than we can imagine!

      Reply

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