What a strange season of life we are in! The year 2020 has been filled with so much unknown and unfamiliar. I’ve had lots of texts (because what teen actually talks on the phone) with girls who are struggling in this season where they’ve encountered so much change and navigating the “new” normal. Many conversations have been about the fear, grief and sadness experienced in 2020. One conversation that that has not changed is the struggle for teen girls not to be consumed with outward beauty. Time and time again, our girls end up feeling empty and insecure when they pursue beauty and not Jesus.
I get it! I struggled as a teen to feel beautiful and let me be honest, it’s been a fight to remind myself not to focus on it as an adult. If you’ve led a teen girl for longer than one day, I’m sure you’ve had conversations with her about outward beauty. And if you’re like me, you’re crushed when you see her place more value on the number on the scale that who God says she is.
Our girls are bombarded with images that tell them they are not pretty or thin enough. The world screams “not enough” while God’s Word tells her she’s worth dying for and our calling as leaders is to take each opportunity to point her back to who God says she is.
Here are a few ways we can do this:
Share What You See
It’s so easy to chat with your girls about their cute outfit or shoes, but we as leaders can dig deeper. You have the opportunity to call out fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) in her life by sharing what you see. If she is always welcoming to the new girl, serving, being kind or responsible, you need to call that out. It shows how her inner beauty is much more impactful than “beauty” that is purchased at the mall. Also, in small group, you can have the girls share the inner beauty they see in each other. Girls thrive with positive affirmation and when you encourage her for being generous, kind, or loving it can help shift her focus on inner beauty and not simply on outward appearance.
Point Her to the Word
Oh, I wish I could go back and tell my teenaged self how I was seen, known, and loved by God. It was later in life when I began to appreciate that I was intentionally created by God and my value and beauty comes directly from Him. I can’t go back to my teenage years but I’m thankful that you and I get to speak to the teen girls God has placed in our lives.
The only thing that is constant is God’s Word and we have the opportunity to point them to His Word. You can remind her that His truth outweighs everyone’s opinion of her—even her own. Right now, many girls are out of their routine and not spending time reading Scripture so creativity is key! A great activity for you to do with your girls is to write scriptures on a mirror (can be purchased for $1 or less) with a sharpie or write them on Post It notes to be placed on her bathroom mirror. This is a great way to point her to the Word daily. We believe Isaiah 55:11 when God says His Word doesn’t return void.
Unfortunately, due to filters and editing, our girls often feel that nothing is enough to find the perfect beauty the world demands. The world tells us we are defined by our appearance but we are defined by who God says we are.
Below are a few verses she can doodle to remind her of what is true – of course there are many more you can add to the list.
- Proverbs 31:30
- Ephesians 2:10
- 1 Peter 3:3-4
- 1 Timothy 2:9-10
- Psalm 139:14
It’s also important for her to know the One who created her – below are a few verses she can write:
- Psalm 147:5
- Ephesians 3:20
- Psalm 46:1
- 1 John 3:1
- Psalm 103:8
In closing, there is power in prayer. Pray for your girls and with your girls as it relates to how they see themselves. Pray 2 Corinthians 10:5 over each girl as we know thoughts are powerful and direct our actions. Pray that she will see herself as God does. As her leader, you can encourage her with the truth – that she doesn’t exist to be perfect but to be loved by the one who is.
Nikki Tigg is an MTSU grad and currently lives in Murfreesboro, TN with her husband and son. She felt called to serve in High School Ministry in 2012 and led co-ed and girls groups. She has been Student Ministry Associate at New Vision Baptist Church since July 2017. Nikki has a passion for helping girls understand their identity in Christ and loves connecting with students, parents and leaders. She loves spending time with her family, decorating and enjoys an active lifestyle. Connect with Nikki: Instagram