Attacks Against Girls + Women
To understand the battle we are in, we need to have an understanding of the bigger picture: the war against us. The Heart of Leadership gathered some eye-opening statistics:
-74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone
-98% of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way (National Report on Self Esteem)
-92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with bodyweight ranking the highest. (Dove campaign)
-90% of eating disorders are found in girls (National Association for Self Esteem)
-1 in 4 girls today fall into a clinical diagnosis – depression, eating disorders, cutting, and other mental/emotional disorders. On top of these, many more report being constantly anxious, sleep-deprived, and under significant pressure. (The Triple Bind, Steven Hinshaw)
These are the women in our families. These are women we are friends with, women who have kids in our kids’ class. These are women who live next door to us. These are women we go to church with or are in a small group with. These women are the very women that we pass every day in our normal routine, possibly never giving a thought to what they are walking through in their every season of life. No woman has ever set out to be one of the statistics. In fact, more often than not, I hear women say, “I never thought this would be my story.” Statements like that, statistics like the ones above, and what we see on social media and television all yell a resounding message to me. Every woman is trying to make sense of her life. She is pursuing things that help her to be seen, valued, known, and loved. As women we are all trying to show up to our best lives, pursuing something more, seeking a purpose for what has happened, and clinging to hope of what is to come. The strength and resilience of women are undeniable. It is also very clear in the numbers above that woman have a fragility, a cry for help, and a need for support and truth in other women.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
I began to contemplate why women are so attacked and so targeted. Maybe not publicly, but privately behind closed doors — at night, tucked into bed as the weight of their world sets in I see loneliness, fear, anxiety, self-hate, depression, shame, anger, bitterness, regret, all hovering like a blanket, in some seasons more than others. I have walked seasons where shame, regret, and depression felt suffocating. I was a Christian. That stuff isn’t supposed to happen to Christs’ followers. We shouldn’t be struggling and hurting like this. Seasons and experiences like this can cause us to doubt God. We question His timing, His presence. We cry out in desperation as to what He could possibly be doing.
The Bible talks about blessings, about freedom, joy, and peace, but none of the statistics or even our reality feel like those very things at times, do they? In fact, often it seems that women are questioning why they lack all these things and yet they still love God.
Here’s why. We are at war. We have an enemy. It isn’t who you think it is and when we don’t fight the right enemy, we remain vulnerable on the battlefield. When we confuse our families or our friends as the enemy, we might address the symptom but not the cause. We might address the surface issue but not the root. Satan has hated women from the very beginning. He is our enemy. Satan is against me and against you every single day, strategizing to steal us away from the heart of our Father. Satan works to cause doubt, confusion, and distraction so that we question our value. He targets us in isolation, strategically positioning people and things to echo the lies that have been planted in our minds.
Think about it. If you are under great attack in your life today, it isn’t because you lack purpose and value. It’s the opposite. You are up against great opposition because of the potential and purpose that is within you, value so great that the enemy knew that if it was in line with God’s heart, surrendered to His will and we were walking in patient confidence with our Creator, Satan wouldn’t stand a chance.