As I was holding my baby girl on my lap, eating my dinner with one hand as I so often do these days, I looked around the food court at the mall. So many thoughts, lifestyles, seasons, people, rushed around before me. I had a front row seat to the grand show of human interaction.
In the hustle and bustle around us, something very specific caught my eye… and my heart. What I saw touched me deeply maybe because I had my daughter, so young and so unformed by the world on my lap. Or maybe it struck a chord because I am a woman and I had walked in the shoes of those that I was observing.
In the Chick Fil A line danced a little girl. She was probably three or four and was happily twirling about her mother. She wore a frilly tutu style dress and a toy tiara on her head. Her face tilted upward radiating joy and confidence as she danced and spun, either oblivious to or basking in the stares of the strangers around her. It was obvious that she knew she was beauty itself, a princess at home in her kingdom. It was as if she had cast a spell on me, one that transported me to childhood when my concept of beauty was unshaken and untouchable. I smiled and felt a tickle of anticipation for the years full of dress up and dancing ahead of me with Annabelle.
I then turned towards the Taco Bell line right next door and it was as if I had traveled in time, ten years in the future There stood a group of teenage girls, no older than fourteen. They were huddled together alternating looking at their phones and the boys across the counter. They were dressed in short short SHORT shorts and saran wrap tight tank tops. Their lashes were mascara-ed and their lips were glossed. They giggled and flipped their hair, either oblivious to or basking in the stares of the boys around them. It was obvious that they were trying so hard to feel beautiful, validated, worthwhile. Like a girl fighting for a crown instead of accepting the one she was naturally given. The sight of them made my heart clench in fear for the teenage years ahead with Annabelle.
My mind wandered as we finished our dinner. When does that shift take place? When do little girls stop twirling their tutus and start twirling their hair? When do they stop looking to themselves, their imaginations, their capacity to captivate, to find their beauty and start looking to others? When does the performance of life stop being for their Savior and start being for the people around them?
It made me think of Eve, the first of all of us to shed her confidence and cover up her beauty. I can almost picture her wandering about the garden with the wonderment of a child. I can see her twirling about in the soft grass, long hair flowing behind her, a queen at home in the kingdom that God had prepared just for her.
Then I can see her waver, see a flicker of doubt in her eyes as the serpent points out to her that she isn’t enough. She isn’t as good as she could be, as smart or as wise or as beautiful as she should be. He promises that fruit could make her all of those things though, and like a child, she believes him and all of the lies he’s hissing. She reaches for the apple and with that one bite of forbidden fruit, her identity crashes down around her.
“Who told you, you were naked?” God said to her?
Artwork Credit: Amanda Weaver Design
He might have said, “Who told you you weren’t enough? Who told you that the way I made you, the person I created you to be was shameful? Who convinced you to step off course and turn away from who you are? Who told you that you needed to be like someone else?”
Whoever it was robbed the world of its hope, its joy, its redemption, its beauty.
Who told you you were naked?
That’s what I wanted to ask those girls. I wanted to walk up and hug them tight, hold their faces in my hands and gently turn them towards the princess next door. I wanted to say, “Remember when you were like that? When you knew that you were enough, you knew that the world was yours, you knew that you were beautiful? You still are. Enough. Beautiful. Created to succeed and captivate.”
That’s what I want to say to you today. You, descendants of Eve, are still beautiful. You can return to the raw, naked, untouched version of yourself. The one that’s gloriously you, the one that’s trying to twirl but is stuck by the chains of doubt. The one that’s redeemed. Saved. Captivated by grace and the very image of God to this world. You can be her. You need to be her. The hope of the world depends on the daughters of the King to be revealed! Not for our sake but for the glory of the most glorious one!
You can be the girl, the woman that God created you to be without the validation of others. You can be her without the makeup, the cute clothes, the achievements, the titles. He loved you without it all. He was proud of you without the trappings and decorations of this world. He loved you when it was just you.
So, who told you you were naked?
Look them in the eye and hope that your tutu knocks them over while you twirl.