Some fool wrote #metoo on one of the most iconic statues the world has ever seen.
Who we are as women is in question, and I have an opinion about it. As a woman, I have watched the #metoo movement from the distance between my television set and couch, all the while with a gnawing feeling its roots might be unhealthy. As it has unfolded, women have struggled to set a good example for girls on how and when to raise their voices.
Speaking up about assault is paramount to our healing. Telling our story to those who can restore us to health is a powerful choice we make for ourselves, those we love, and others mistreated by abuse.
Little did I know, I would — without intention — subtly begin wearing the “victim” identity as if it were my skin.
Facing this has not been easy; I have warred the victim spirit attached to me as a young woman like a warrior in battle against the most evil forces, and won. Hands down, I know in my soul I am not a victim of my circumstances, nor of my past.
A victim is: a person or thing harmed, lost, or destroyed; a casualty; fatality; prey.
Sounds like me — once — but no longer. Today, I am healed, saved, restored; a victor.
I speak as a victor, on behalf of the virtuosity and value of women.
In the order of creation, neither male nor female is born a victim. Instead, we are created virtuous.
In the face of the latest popularity — even fame — of faking victimhood, it is time we remind ourselves who we are created to be.
We are not victims; we are virtuous.
1: morally excellent
: conforming to a standard of right
2 : reflecting beneficial qualities and power
3 : possessing strength and courage : VALIANT
4 : having commendable qualities and traits : MERIT
5 : with a capacity to act : POTENT
6 : chaste, modest, pure : VALUABLE
The thesaurus says virtuous means: decent, ethical, good, honest, moral, true, upright. Words relating to virtuous are: credible; noble; principled; exemplary; legitimate; law-abiding; upstanding; worthy; guiltless; incorrupt; inoffensive; unobjectionable; angelic.
It is because we are virtuous — that we speak up when victimized. But this speech does not pour out in dramatic lies or exaggerations before many; we speak our truth to wise people in private first.
When you speak the truth in counseling offices, to your trusted friends, and to empowered people robust with integrity (who are unafraid stand up against injustice), you live out your truest identity.
When I wrote Girl Perfect, I courageously faced the truth of the painful parts of my journey and spoke on behalf of women of all ages to find a better truth — we are More than just bodies; we are souls in living color. We are More than our sensuality; we are brilliant, and our sexual side is worth waiting for in marriage.
In speaking out, I never meant to spread a victim mentality — like, “poor us, we are victims of man’s urges” — and let’s spread male-hatred like gangrene. No. I honor men, for it is the man I married who encouraged me to speak, to heal, to write, to stop being a victim and live with my head held high. Further, it is both his father and my father — better yet, united with our mothers — who made the ministry possible in the first place. And it our sons and daughter who I hold in the highest esteem, who will carry our legacy onward.
No man-hater am I.
But there was a time I thought like a victim and behaved like a victim. As a victim, I wrestled in the mud of being undervalued as a human being created in the image of God. I thank God, my husband, and friends for for not letting me live every day of my life this way.
I am not a victim — I am virtuous.
And it is because we are virtuous that we speak with grace and truth about the mistakes we’ve made and forgive the sins of those who damaged us, or simply didn’t realize how priceless we are in the heavenly economy.
To rise to our truest identity is to stop acting like victims and embrace virtuosity as our new skin — which means we possess strength and courage, uprightness and merit, decency, ethics, and credibility.
This is who are meant to be — and every day is a living choice.
Pass it on.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
At the age of 18, I was recovering from an eating disorder, cutting, and suicide when I read Jennifer Strickland’s book Girl Perfect and it changed my life. At the age of 33, as I travel the world reaching youth for the gospel, this is the only book I recommend to girls who are struggling. The Lord has truly anointed Jennifer’s words through her story, not only to address the struggles of today’s generation of girls, but also to walk them through the healing necessary for victory.
Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.
Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA
“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”
Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”
Allie Marie Smith
Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made
One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”