1:1 to prosper; to flourish
Have you ever felt like you were not enough?
At times, we all have felt like we are not enough in certain situations. As human beings it is normal for us to have bad days and feel overwhelmed at times… but what happens when that feeling sticks and prevents us from stepping into the areas of life where we have been created to thrive?
According to the 2016 Girls’ Attitude Survey (Girl Guiding UK) 69 per cent of girls aged 7-21 indicated that they feel like they are not good enough.
At first glance, this statistic can easily be referenced as a result of “unobtainable” Hollywood beauty. It is easy for us to stand back and take note that this scarily high number is due to young women feeling the pressures on their physical and outer appearance. Whilst I fully endorse educating young women to be wary of media myths, this statistic isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s more than “just that”.
Let’s zoom in and take a deeper look. 69 per cent of young women aged just 7- 21 have declared that they are not good enough. Factors include loneliness, fear, anxiety, family, illness, education, relationships and worry about future prospects. On top of this, the survey has also highlighted that over the past five years the number of girls who say they are unhappy has increased from 9 per cent to 16 per cent. Behind the smiles of the young women in our families, youth groups, home groups, high street cafes, more than half are internally struggling and being held captive by thoughts and situations which are preventing them from stepping into their God-given identity and thriving in God’s individual purpose for them.
We can’t just stand back anymore. We have been given the amazing privilege and responsibility to look behind this statistic and help young women in our communities recognise their true worth, purpose and to thrive rather than merely surviving.
How do we do this?
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” This passage indicates two gospel hopes that we need to amplify to all young women today – that they have been chosen, and designed for a purpose. Created to claim their God given worth, and thrive as they step into His calling for them.
It can be hard to work out who we really are! Often we say “If only I was smarter/skinner/curvier/sportier/funnier. Amidst all these pressures we need to communicate God’s truth –
you have been chosen.
We need to encourage the young women around us today to thrive on living life as chosen people; refusing to accept their worth from the world around them, and instead receiving their name tag from the King of Kings who sees them as immeasurably loved (Jer 31:3), valued (Luke 12:6-7), a friend of Jesus (John 15:14), cherished (Deut 7:6), forgiven (John 3:16), and never alone (Hebrews 13:5).
When life throws curve balls and you don’t get the marks you were expecting in an exam, or you’re wondering why everyone else is in their dream job or relationship it can be easy to brand yourself as “not good enough”. Ephesians 2:10 counteracts this falsehood and affirms that each of us has been created “to do the good things He planned for us long ago”. As encouragers of young women we need to assert this truth by recognising, utilising and developing the individual gifting which young women have to contribute to our churches and communities– whether it be leading, teaching, praise, pastoral, technical, or youth work.
For us, as followers of God, to truly bring Gospel hope and counteract this culture of not being enough, it is necessary for us to thrive together. When we are authentic with one another, and when we share more stories, it will encourage others to ask for help in their dark and lonely valleys. When we thrive together we reduce isolation and build genuine flourishing communities which allow space for God’s rescuing light to shine into the internal turmoil which has been highlighted in this statistic you’re reading about today.
How are you helping others to THRIVE today?