“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29
I confess to you that I am an Image Builder.
I want you to notice me…so I build my image.
I want you to accept me…so I build my image.
I want you to love me…so I build my image.
Build. Build. Build.
I think there’s a little part of all of us (and sometimes a big part) that longs to be noticed, appreciated, or even admired. So, we work hard to show only our best side, to reveal what we think looks impressive, and to create an image that appears to be perfect. We sometimes put pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We tell ourselves that we need to work harder, stay up later, get up earlier, read more, learn more, exercise more, post more on social media. The list goes on and on. All the while, the image making continues. It’s a drive that is never satisfied. It continually whispers, “You need to do better; you need to be better.” Image building is exhausting and burdensome.
Build. Build. Build…
It was my sophomore year of high school, and I was sitting around with my cross-country team listening to the older girls compare fat grams in bagel brands. If you have ever looked at bagel labels, you know that there is not any difference worth noting—unless you are obsessed with your weight.
The Lies of Appearance and Achievement
Little did I know how influential that conversation, and many more like it, would become in my life. Add to that the billboards, magazines, and other media that boasted model-thin women all around me, and I bought into the lie “I have to look like ‘her’ in order to be beautiful.”
At the same time I was running cross-country, I was also playing basketball. Unlike the girls on my cross-country team, my teammates could down a fast-food burger in no time at all and not think twice about it. And my coach certainly thought I could use a few burgers myself in order to put on some weight for my position as forward or center. Add to that the fact he could fire off a cuss word, stomp his feet, clap his hands, and throw water, attempting to motivate us to play better and harder and I began to believe another lie: “My worth is based on my outward performance.” Failure to perform well led me to inflict punishment on myself—if I didn’t live up to my coach’s expectations, then I didn’t deserve to eat.These twin themes of body image and performance are still at the heart of young women’s search for beauty and worth today. But it is not just young women. Women of all ages struggle with defining their significance by their appearance and achievements.
I don’t know about you, but I feel so much pressure to make a name for myself, be all that I can be, and to maximize my potential. I feel like we’re all in a race to promote and protect ourselves, to achieve self-actualization the fastest. I’m so tired of focusing on me, me, me.
That’s why today I’m asking myself, would you invest your life to promote someone else?
Instead of maximizing your own potential, you’d maximize theirs.
Instead of working hard to advance your own agenda, you’d promote their message, desires, and life’s calling.
Instead of building your own audience, pursuing your own happiness, earning your own reward, and leaving your own legacy, you’d be all about theirs, theirs, theirs, theirs.
How would that feel?
KRISTEN HATTON|CONTRIBUTOR As soon as I clicked on my inbox, I instantly regretted it. It was early July and I was on vacation, but already in my inbox, along with emails from my favorite retailers and the blogs I follow, were half a dozen school related messages. A high school football booster club meeting that… Read More
STEPHANIE HUBACH|CONTRIBUTOR “Oh! You’re Tim’s Mom!” (Or, with the alternative eyebrow raising intonation: “Oh! You’re Tim’s Mom!”) Cart Man Many people in our town know my youngest son, Tim. Often, Tim is recognizable because he has Down syndrome—and there aren’t that many people in Ephrata, PA who are recipients of that “noticeable extra little something”… Read More