I know a little girl who is ten years old. One time she stuffed material underneath her shirt to imitate large breasts. Other times she has put on her younger sister’s clothes because they are too small for her, and thus reveal much of her body. Sometimes she has even taken off most of her clothes. She is too young to understand the sexual content in this. Yet she has learned the message well from television, movies, and music: being sexually attractive to men is the way to happiness.
Yesterday I found her playing a cartoon video game for girls. It features beautiful young teenage girls with oversized breasts, small waists, and large hips, wearing skimpy outfits. And how happy they all appear to be! I want to talk to her about this. I want to let her know that a woman’s sexual attractiveness is not the way to happiness. Someday, when she is old enough to understand I want to tell her the following:
TV, movies, music, and video games give us the message that a girl’s happiness in life is determined by how attractive men think her face and body are. The more attractive men find her, the more happiness she will have.
We all want happiness. But let me tell you something. I am middle-aged. I am overweight. I have wrinkles. Most men do not consider me attractive. But guess what? I’m happy. Lack of male attention has not kept that from me. And do you know what? I actually believe I have more happiness than women who seek to find their happiness through being sexually attractive.
Why is that? Because happiness doesn’t come from the way you look. It comes from several things, but I will only mention a few now. The first is being confident in knowing that God truly loves you. Yes dear, He loves you. He loves you even when you don’t feel you are worth loving. And nothing will ever stop Him from loving you. The second is being able to work out problems with other people. More unhappiness comes from this than most anything else. You can be the most beautiful person in the whole world, and have a big house and a great job, but if you can’t work out problems with other people you will not be happy. And the third is this: it’s to love people more than things. The more you value people over things, the better choices in life you will make. And those choices will bring you happiness.
Dear, for the rest of your life much of our media is going to continue to give you the message that your happiness in life is dependent upon your sexual attractiveness. You will be given this message over and over. It will be hard for you to not to believe it. But look at me, am I unhappy? I have learned over and over again throughout the years that God loves me. And that’s even when I think I am unlovable! Do you know how much happiness that has given me? It saves my life over and over again. And it is why I love you. I love you because God has helped me to love myself. When someone loves themselves, it’s easier for them to love others. God has also brought me places where I have learned to work out my problems with other people. Through reading God’s Word, through therapy, and through self-help books I have learned to work out problems that I thought were unsolvable. I’m not saying I am perfect in this area; I’m still in the process of learning. But the process itself has given me great happiness. Working out your problems will give you more happiness than being attractive or rich or famous ever could. And lastly I want to tell you this. You may wonder why I became a teacher. Being a teacher doesn’t bring me as much money as some other professions I could have gone into. But I felt God wanted me to become a one, so I did. I may not have a big salary but my students have given me great happiness. Put people first. Put them above money or the things that money can buy. It’s not that money isn’t important; it is. It pays your bills. And I don’t want to underestimate how important that is. But don’t take your happiness in it. Take your happiness in people.
I want so much for you to avoid feeling that your happiness in life is dependent on how sexually attractive men find you. If you put your hope for happiness in that, it will fail you. Put your hope for happiness in those things that won’t fail you. The love of God, the joy of working out problems and putting people above things: these things will bring you happiness. And they will not fail you. I know, because they haven’t failed me.
Do you know why I am telling you this? It’s because I love you, that’s why.