I’m the dad of an amazing little two-year-old girl. She’s exceedingly full of life, exploration, innocence and wonder. I care so much about her and the world she’s growing up in that I’d do anything to change it for her for the better. And I’d do anything to help her see her worth within it. It tears up this daddy’s heart to see how often the world seems rigged against innocence and young women in general.
Looking into the future (although I can really only see so far), there are a few things I’d like to tell her. Maybe they’ll mean something to you as well.
- As a young lady, you’re going to be encouraged to be self-conscious. In fact, it will be all but demanded of you. You’ll be expected to wear makeup, so you’ll be seen as “pretty,” but not too much, or you’ll be called awful names. You’ll be pressured to act unintelligent to impress a love interest, as if your smarts will intimidate them, as if being dumb and pretty is what it means to be feminine. I want you to know I reject this notion wholesale, and I believe God does, too.
- Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams, and to excel in science, sports or art. If your success threatens someone, intimidates them or makes anyone uncomfortable, that’s not your problem. If someone says you shouldn’t be an excellent leader—that’s not your problem.
- Don’t be a shell of what you could be when you are made 100% percent in the full image of the creator, just as much as anyone else. Know this: Every time you succeed, every time you “win” with grace, you make a little more room for the next young lady.
- You’ll be led to believe that self-consciousness is a good trait, but it’s one of two kinds of arrogance. Self-absorption is the first. A self-absorbed person thinks they are better than everyone else; they look down on everyone else. Don’t be that. More subtly (and therefore, more dangerously), the self-conscious person believes that their flaws are worse than everyone else’s. They focus so much on themselves that they miss out on helping and investing in others. Both are insidious and will poison your ability to love and live fully.
- Lastly, and this will sound cheesy, but…be yourself. Get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and be honest about them. Just “do you.” God loves you just the way you are. I want you to know that you are made not in part, but wholly in the image of God. Don’t believe that you are insufficient. You are no worse than anyone else. You are you, and you are brilliant. Know where your true identity lies. And with that in mind, never forget that confidence is queen.
Follow Zach Hunter on Twitter: @zachjhunter.