We are programmed to compare. After all, comparison brings in money. My hair doesn’t look like hers – I need whatever she is using. How is her skin so smooth? I must get that face wash! If I buy those jeans – that pair of shoes – this makeup color – that exercise routine – that (insert whatever it might be) – I will finally feel beautiful. I will feel right. I will feel complete.

So, we go about our days feeling subpar to the airbrushed model, that Mom in our friend group with the perfect kids, and the neighbor lady who always looks so put together with her stylish wardrobe. I don’t look like her, so I am less. I don’t act like her, so I am less. I don’t dress like her, so I am less. Now, I have nothing against that airbrushed model, the Mom with the perfect kids, or the stylish neighbor lady. What I am against, though, is the lie that we so easily believe. The lie that if we don’t look the same as someone else – if our hair or our skin or our body or our parenting or even our hobbies are different than someone else, that somehow, we are wrong. The lie that we aren’t good enough the way we are.

I want to add a caveat here, before you stop reading. You may think this is just a frilly post about how “I am perfect the way I am” and “I don’t need to change – if you don’t like me then leave!” But I assure you, it is not. I do actually believe that we should always be in the process of bettering ourselves. Learning is good. Improvement is helpful. Adopting the mindset that you have not arrived and are ever a work in progress is vital, I believe, in combatting stagnation and narcism.

But I do also believe that we are, in a sense, perfect the way we are, because we are the way God made us to be. Trust me, I would love to change a few things about my hair, my skin, and my body, and the things that I can change, I am working on. But I refuse to obsess over these things. I refuse to let them define me or control me. I refuse to enjoy my life less because of these things. Each day, I will continue to work hard to improve who I am, but I will also put on my bathing suit and play in the water with my son. I will dance around the house and yard with my son. I will take oh-so many pictures and videos with my son. And I will not apologize to the virtual world for the way my voice might sound or my potentially messy hair or any perceived flaw in my face.

I wish the same for you and for every woman of the world. I hope that you can see yourself through God’s eyes as one who bears His image. I hope that you will dance with your children without worrying about what others think. I hope that you will take hundreds and thousands of pictures and videos with your children for the memory’s sake without apologizing about how you perceive that you look. I hope that you play games in the yard, jump in the pool, chase after your children, and make as much as you can out of the moments you’ve been given with your children. I hope that you do it all with a contented confidence in who you are – in who God has made you to be.

I wish this for you and I wish this for me because our children are watching. Each of these precious little sponge-like shadows picks up on what we think about ourselves, learning from all that we say and do as well as what we don’t say and do. Let’s have some confidence in who we are and lead those precious little sponge-like shadows into a greater appreciation for the One who created them. Friend, your family needs a confident you.