Culture

June 03 2013
36

jwhite

Some time later, [Samson] fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” Judges 16:4-5

Your kind of pretty is the loneliest kind, the cracked-under-the-surface kind.

It’s not altogether your fault. You learned it at eleven, when you read Seventeen Magazine secretly at your best friend’s house because your mom wouldn’t let you buy it. You learned that beauty was never really about you in the first place – it was about the boys.

It was about who noticed you and who didn’t and about whether you applied the right makeup or combed your hair the right way or wore the right clothes from the right stores. It was about the way you held your body when you sat on a bench, about what you did with your eyes. Flutter up. Flutter down. Flutter up. Catch his eye and then look away, and wait to see if you are magnetic enough to pull him in.

You are not so different than any of us.

The truth is that very few of us know how to truly believe in our own beauty without the second glance from a car window every now and then, the smile from the stranger at the end of the bar.

They offer you eleven hundred shekels of silver – each – to overcome Samson with your beauty and learn the secret of his strength, but I know you. You might have done it for free – just to find out if you could. To find out if you were enough. If, of all the women in the room, he would see you most of all.

If the boy doesn’t see you, do you even exist?

Somewhere along the line, you’ve forgotten who you are without the context of these boys. Their approval, their appraising eyes, their inappropriate whistles. You pretend to hate it, but I know you. You keep these things in an invisible ledger near your heart where you are all the time recalculating your worth.

And who can say where the lines blur? A game becomes something else and then, in the pitch-dark of the earliest morning, you find yourself holding scissors, cutting his hair, and it’s not so much to rid him of his strength but because you’re so unsure of your own.

Listen, love: You were always strong. Our minds are plastered over by so many advertisements and images. You know so many lies, and this will be one of the hardest truths for you to believe: that you are enough. That you are entirely beautiful and entirely seen, just you are.

Your beauty – the true version of it — exists deep in your soul, and you can’t lose it when you gain weight or when you add years to your age. You can’t augment it with your lipstick and you can’t earn it with their glances. It is already whole. You are already known and loved all the way through.

You are already enough.

I see you, Delilah. You are holding the money in your hands, and it is more than you’ve ever had, but you will never really feel eleven-hundred-shekels beautiful. You will either feel empty, or you will feel precious. There is no in between — only brief reprieves in the striving. Only brief moments of victory – then, hollowness.

I see you writing it down in that ledger near your heart – eleven hundred shekels, and you know it still doesn’t add up to enough.

Rip up that little book, Delilah.

Throw it page by deceitful page into the deep water and then watch it crumble, sink, disappear. Feel your soul swell with the truth that  God is looking at you with his heart full to the brim.

That he’s never seen anyone as beautiful as you are right now.

 

Image credit: Matt Gruber, CreationSwap.com

 

36 comments

  1. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for speaking directly to my struggle in the depth of my soul this morning. My perception of myself and my day is brighter already.

    Reply
    • Addie

      So glad it spoke to you Josie. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Spot on! Love it!

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  3. … and when you’re older, and know that you’re past ever getting a ‘second glance’ for any physical beauty it’s just as easy to start striving for spiritual beauty in much the same ways: did I say the right words, laugh at the right jokes, smile sincerely enough. The same striving dressed in older, more sickeningly pious clothes but still cutting hair in darkened rooms hoping to believe:

    “That you are entirely beautiful and entirely seen, just you are.

    “Your beauty – the true version of it — exists deep in your soul, and you can’t lose it when you gain weight or when you add years to your age…(or) It is already whole. You are already known and loved all the way through.

    You are already enough.”

    Thanks for this, Addie. Such a vivid reminder of much needed truth.

    Reply
    • Addie

      “it’s just as easy to start striving for spiritual beauty in much the same ways: did I say the right words, laugh at the right jokes, smile sincerely enough.” — Yes. Love this. So wise. Thanks Jane.

      Reply
  4. Oh this. THIS. Wow. Yes.

    I think the second part of it, for me, is learning not to judge all the other Delilahs. I judge their insides and their outsides subconsciously, without even thinking about what I’m thinking.

    When I catch myself, I pray. I bless Delilah and myself. Our true beauty. And I ask God to forgive me.

    It is so deeply ingrained in our psyches how much it matters that we have that ability to flutter our eyes just right. But these thoughts we take captive, in stepping outside ourselves and our culture, they will help us to create a better world for our daughters and our daughters daughters.

    Amen.

    Reply
    • Addie

      “When I catch myself, I pray. I bless Delilah and myself.” Yes. So beautiful. Thank you.

      Reply
  5. Mark Allman

    A person’s beauty is within them. With God they are enough. Even when the whisper tell you different.

    Reply
  6. Rachael

    Lovely. I had never thought of Delilah that way. It really helps humanize her, and realize she is not so different than me. Thanks Addie!

    Reply
    • Addie

      Thanks so much Rachael.

      Reply
  7. This absolutely knocked the wind out of me. Thank you for these words, and for being so in-tune to such a creative spirit.

    Incredible. Absolutely incredible.

    Reply
    • Addie

      Such kind words. Thank you Brett.

      Reply
  8. Wow. This is brilliant. Thanks.

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    • Addie

      Thank you so much.

      Reply
  9. So powerful, Addie. Thank you.

    Reply
  10. JoniG.

    The Seventeen mags are far behind me now, but I am only just learning that I am beautiful because I am hand-woven uniquely me.
    Thank you for your encouraging post.

    Reply
    • Addie

      It’s a long road, isn’t it? Thanks Joni.

      Reply
  11. Wow, so powerful, and convicting.

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  12. Gorgeous, as always, Addie. Thank you for this thoughtful loveliness.

    Reply
  13. Absolutely awesome blog post. I posted it on my facebook wall and hope all of the Women I know read and hear the message. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Addie

      Thanks so much Phil.

      Reply
  14. Angela

    Sometimes a post comes along and you just know God intended it for you. This spoke to the depths of my pain, my struggle and my soul. I’m still crying and I’ve read it numerous times today already.

    Beautiful. Thank you for saying it in a way I couldn’t.

    Reply
    • Addie

      So glad that this spoke to you today Angela. Thanks for the kind words.

      Reply
  15. “The invisible ledger near your heart” – brill. i. ant.

    I dig your voice. I admire your fearlessness.

    Brava!

    Reply
    • Addie

      Thanks so much Tina.

      Reply
  16. Your words are a poker prodding at some very tender places. Well done, Addie.

    Reply
    • Addie

      Thanks Janice.

      Reply
  17. ” you will never really feel eleven-hundred-shekels beautiful. You will either feel empty, or you will feel precious. There is no in between”

    That is both a hard and awesome thing to hear.

    Reply
  18. Karen Mulder

    Addie,

    What beautiful writing! I have always been bothered by the way Delilah was viewed by the church. It is because I knew deep inside, I could be Delilah. You have put into words the ache of my soul for far too many years. To have learned this young, that God sees me, loves me deeply and that I am enough, may have saved me from some painful decisions. Yet, I am so grateful to have learned this late, and it is a daily looking to Christ to keep believing because the lie is so engrained it is easy to slip into the not enough.
    Thank you for sharing your heart in an honest, deep way.

    Reply
  19. Toni

    First timer reader of this column…amazing… Loved it…. Needed it. Thank you b

    Reply
  20. I wish I had the skill to write with this beauty, grace and power. This is for my wife, my daughters, and all my adopted “sisters” and “daughters”. You are all beautiful. You are all “enough”.

    I just linked to this with the above as my Facebook status. I pray all the women in my life hear this powerful message. Thank you Addie. May we never tire of preaching this important counter-cultural truth.

    Reply

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