I read this article yesterday by FOCUS Catholic Ministries about the five most common lies that women believe, and the whole time I was reading I was seeing myself as the example for each one. Each one of them was sadly so believable that we would fall for such simple yet toxic ideas, and yet still a part of me was surprised. Because somewhere inside of me, I could recognize them as lies even despite their power over me at some point or another.
I wasn’t always able to see them for the lies that they are, though. I, like many other women, have fallen deep into the quiet despair of believing that 1) “I am alone”, 2) “I must be perfect”, 3) Idolizing something that society tells me is good will make me happy, 4) “God is not actually good” because *fill in the blank*, and the most deadly, 5) “My past is unredeemable”.* At some point or another, I have believed every single one of these lies. I have allowed the devil to whisper them into my ear and take hold of me. I have allowed them to strip me of my power, of my joy, of my peace.
But then I met someone who changed that. I met several someones who changed that. A handful of remarkable, smart, strong, gentle, vibrant, loving, creative, wise, radiant, joy-filled, faith-filled women became some of my dearest friends, and such important examples of how to tune out the lies (you know who you are). They became examples of how to accept my true identity as beloved. These sisters of mine have showed me what real female empowerment is, and it is not what our society sells us. Imagine that, instead of allowing our insecurity and competitive comparison to quietly rule our relationships with other women, we saw each other as sisters. Imagine that every time we were going to say something disparaging about another woman, we instead found and acknowledged the goodness in her. Our world would be radically different.
It’s a common saying that women are the heart of the family. Well, what’s the most effective thing to aim for when trying to take the life from something? The heart. I propose that women are the heart of the culture as well. Women bring such life, such strength, beauty, and goodness to this world. And we learn to do so from the women in our lives — our mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and in our female friendships. Why is it surprising then that the devil is trying to seclude us and turn us against one another?
1) The truth is we were made for one another. We were made to be in community with one another. We were born into the most beautiful family, with built-in sisters and friends, and we have a responsibility to take care of each other.
2) No, we are not perfect, but we were made by a perfect Father who loves and pursues us wildly, so we are never too much and always enough.
3) Nothing in this world will fulfill every desire of our hearts. It just won’t. Only the love of the One who loves us can do that. Constantly looking forward to the future and longing for something that we believe will ‘finally give us real happiness’ — future husband, future kids, dream job, dream house, dream wedding, dream vacation, being a better cook, a better singer, a better writer, a better dancer, more fit, etc. etc. etc. — this constant longing will only make us miserable, and it robs us from the goodness of the present. The worst part of the comparison game is when we compare ourselves to the more perfect version of ourselves that we have constructed in our own minds, fashioned from our own insecurities.
4) Our God is all good, and all loving. Even when things suck. Even when we are so hurt and the only explanation is that he must not be as good as he says he is. Run into his arms and seek comfort. Run into his arms and rejoice. Run into his arms and rest. Run into his arms and rage. Just keep running into his arms.
5) Our past is redeemable. Nothing — no thing, not one — is too big, too bad, too ugly, too shameful, too scary, too much for the man who gave his life to forgive. It hurts like hell and is so humbling, but learn how to accept that love that is literally undying. It will never go away.
Sweet sisters, these lies whispered in our ears are nothing more than the hounds of hell barking. So rise up and kick the damn dogs.
A few little gifts for ya:
an anthem if I’ve ever heard one – “White Flag” by Joseph
(here’s a live version) – “White Flag” by Joseph, on Jimmy Fallon
Here’s one of my favorite blogs by Jordan Dooley, who is all about female empowerment through our God-given sisterhood. As she would say, “your brokenness is welcome here, sisters”. Check it – SoulScripts Blog
*quoted from “5 Lies Women Love to Believe” by FOCUS Catholic.