Growing up I had hundreds of acres of woods to explore behind my house. Blazing new trails while pretending I was a pioneer was one of my favorite things to do. I often saw snakes, had ticks embedded in my head, and got covered in chigger bites or poison ivy, but I didn’t care. I was happiest being in the trees where nobody could find me.
Contrary to my mother’s dreams, I wasn’t the girly-girl she had hoped for when I was born. My mother enjoyed getting dressed up, fixing her hair, and looking pretty with a lot of accessories. Therefore, she assumed I would be her little doll to primp around with. I even had bows adorned upon my head with scotch tape before my hair was long enough to gather into bands. However, I fought like a banshee whenever she tried to wrestle me into a dress.
My mother couldn’t relate to my enjoyment of motorcycles, treehouses and playing in the dirt, so she signed me up for more graceful activities…in hopes that they would train me to be more lady-like. I even suffered through five treacherous years of ballet lessons. I pleaded with her to let me take Karate instead, but she thought the key to becoming a woman was in the point, plié and pirouette.
By the time I reached my teenage years, nothing had succeeded in turning my desires from mud to make-up so I was enrolled in Charm School, which was taught by a former Miss America. The class was full of girls who were eager to learn about becoming a true southern belle. And then there was me…wearing a baseball cap and a scowl on my face. For several months Miss America gave her best shot at teaching me how to smile, bat my eyes, and sit up properly in a chair. I even learned how to model on a catwalk, but I despised every minute. During one of our fashion shows, instead of wearing a fancy gown like the others, I wore my favorite torn-up jeans and mocked their prissy hip-swinging walk while I made Vanna White hand gestures towards my converse high tops.
The teacher finally persuaded my mother to take me out of the class because of my rebellious attitude. Being expelled from Charm School was a badge of honor that I took great pride in. I only wished I had been given a satin sash like Miss America wore that said “Charm School Reject” across it so I could strut around and show-off my special talent, while I claimed victory for all the tomboys who struggled to fit in like I did.
For years I felt like something was wrong with me. But I finally realized that God created me and loves me just as I am. And once I got to know Him and believe the things He says about me, then I finally began to thrive and find self-confidence. My true identity isn’t found in how well I can walk in heels. Thank God!
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” And Ephesians 2:10 says,”For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The more I seek to know God, the more He transforms me to be more like Him. It’s through His power that I am able to be the best I can be, including the ability to love others who are different from me…like my mother (whom I have a wonderful relationship with now). We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others or allow feelings of insecurity to rob us of who we really are. It’s critical that we learn to see ourselves, and each other, as God sees us. He created us, so He knows best.