It’s no secret that women are prone to insecurity—particularly teenage women. From appearance and clothes to personality and talents, everything is subject to the plaguing whispers of insecurity. Sadly, for many girls, insecurity is often addressed on the surface rather than digging it up from the root. And while addressing the exterior of insecurity may soothe the struggle for a moment, it’s only by uprooting it’s deepest lies that we can plant new seeds of confidence in Christ.
For those of us leading and investing in teenage girls, we have to take our calling as their encouragers and cheerleaders seriously. We have to be quick to build them up by speaking truth and confidence into their hearts. We have to boldly speak about the good and godly things we see in them, going beyond exterior compliments and delving into who God has made them to be. So how can we speak what we see and build their confidence in Christ?
- Comment more on her inner beauty than outer beauty. Sure, it can be nice to tell a teenager when she’s having a great hair day or when you like her new shoes, but be careful not to make that the only thing you compliment her on. Be quick to notice when she is welcoming to the new girl in your small group or when she opens up about what God is teaching her. When you see her growing in her walk with the Lord or flourishing in her spiritual gifts, make sure you take the time to tell her what you see! We talk about what’s important to us, so make sure you talk more about what’s inside her heart than how she looks on the outside.
- Call out lies. Teenage girls are quick to criticize themselves. Whether it’s a passing comment about hating her hair or a moment of vulnerability where she opens up about her deeper insecurities, don’t hesitate to rebuke the lies the enemy has whispered to her heart. Just like you wouldn’t allow her to speak negatively of other girls in your ministry, don’t allow her to speak negatively of herself when you’re around.
- Build a culture of encouragement. Don’t be the only one speaking what you see over the teenage girls that you’re leading—teach them to do the same! Let it become a habit for the teenage girls themselves to encourage one another, just as you have been encouraging them; not only building others up outwardly but speaking truth and confidence in Christ over their hearts. Similarly, encourage other women in the church and leaders around you to use their words to build up the next generation of Christian women to recognize the work of God in their hearts and lives and to be unafraid of speaking it outloud.
We have an exciting opportunity as leaders to be encouragers first. Let us lead the teenage girls in our lives in the lifelong fight against insecurity by attacking it at the root and acknowledging the power of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts to make them more like Christ. Let us be quick to say what we see IN their hearts rather than simply what we notice ON the outside. Insecurity has no foothold when we are living in authentic Christian community, surrounded by women who are confident in Christ!
Taylor Cage is a Nashville native, currently living in Oklahoma City with her husband, Baron, who serves as a student pastor at Trinity Baptist Church. After college, she spent three years as a Girls Minister and she’s passionate about building gospel-centered community among women of all ages. Taylor is the Social Media Coordinator for Well-Watered Women and a regular contributor for the Lifeway Girls blog. Most days you can find her writing about God’s Word with a cup of coffee in hand or chasing around her Goldendoodle, Posie. Connect with Taylor: Instagram