I love hanging out with teenagers. In fact, I think I enjoy being with teenagers more now than I did when I was one. But anyway, I’m beginning to notice how many teen girls view themselves so negatively. They don’t see themselves as God sees them: cherished, loved, special, and beautiful. When others say they’re inadequate and lacking, they listen and believe. I’m the older brother of seven sisters, the father of two daughters, and the husband of one wife, so this is personal. (In fact, my wife has written on her struggles in this area here.)
My four-year old daughter is still young enough to believe me when I tell her she’s beautiful. She still smiles and giggles as we dance and spin to One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” (Don’t you judge me.) When I kneel down by her bed to say goodnight and whisper into her ear, “I love you, princess,” she still blushes and says, “I know, daddy.” Her smile can make my day, and when I hear her running to the door to welcome me home with a big hug, you better believe I melt. She is loved, and she knows it.
But one day she might forget. One day my precious little girl might look around and listen to what others say about her, how she should look, how skinny she should be, or how curvy. If she listens and believes others who assess her and judge her, well, that would absolutely break my heart.
I pray she never listens to those lies.
And for you, sister, I pray the same. May you always remember that Father God wants to dance with you. You are his masterpiece, and he calls you His. He speaks to you and He says, “I love you. I care about you. You are cherished, and you are beautiful. Listen to me.”
He says, “If you feel like nothing, I am your everything. If you want to be so skinny no one will notice you, I will still notice you. If you binge to cover over the pain, I am here, and I care about that pain too. I love you, and I will never leave you. Ever.”
Let Him speak to you, and for this father’s sake, please, please believe Him.