If you’ve ever faced rejection, you know just how deeply it stings. It seeps into your heart and mind, convincing you that you’re unworthy of love, success and happiness. It makes you believe that you will never be quite good enough.
Ever felt like that? I have.
Today, women have never been more susceptible to rejection. Movies, magazines, and social media have carved out the ways that we should look, act, and think. Our world has conditioned us to obsess over gaining the acceptance of society. Whether it be through the brands we wear, the pictures we post, or the boys we date, we have all sought the favor of society at one time or another.
When I talk about seeking acceptance or seeking favor, I always go back to the story of Esther. For those of you who haven’t read this Old Testament book (and I totally recommend doing so if you haven’t), Esther is a beautiful virgin who wins over the heart of the Persian king. After he chooses her to become his new wife and his queen, he sends her away to complete 12 months of beauty treatments. She cannot return to him until he is pleased with her and summons her by name.
Somehow, this ancient story is so relevant today. How many times have you felt like Esther? How many times have you felt that you aren’t good enough? Like you just need a slightly better instagram feed, slightly smaller thighs, and slightly more exciting life in general and then you’ll be good enough. This is so exhausting and 99% of the time it leaves us unfulfilled. In this story, the King represents society. He’s always scrutinizing, always critiquing, always pointing out the ways that Esther can be “better.” He has the power to declare when Esther is good enough.
Ladies, we give society this power way too often. We let the eyes of the world decide who we are way too often. And we change who we are to fit man-made standards way too often. If you know the end of the story, you know that Esther ends up saving her people from a ruthless genocide. God hand picked her for this role. Not because she completed 12 months of beauty treatments, but because she is a daughter of the Lord, crafted by his own hands. To God, Esther already stood apart. She didn’t have to do anything special. She was brave and bold and loved the Lord and that was enough.
Why cling to our Instagram feeds, pant sizes and online dating profiles for acceptance when we already won over the favor of the God of the Universe? We stole his heart even before we were born. Seeking the favor of the world is like trying to catch the waves of the sea in our hands. It is always fleeting. Here today and gone tomorrow. God’s favor is constant. Because of his grace, we never have to earn it. He chooses us every single day. In beautiful times and in ugly times. Our identities are not rooted in the way society defines us, but in God’s scandalous love.
words and photo by Kate Payne