Happy Galentine’s Day! What a year for women, right?
No matter who you are or where you stand on any part of the board, we can all agree the world is in a lot of turmoil. We have made strides, this year already, for victims of abuse, sexual harassment, and gender inequality. We have a lot to celebrate and yet still a lot to work on and continue fighting for.
When we look at women helping women, I think this may be one of the areas we struggle in the most. We live in a culture where it’s okay, and often encouraged, for us to comment and give our advice and opinions on social media when we see news reports and TMZ articles. Pick any online People Magazine or New York Times article about anyone and read the comments, and you will see how devastating people’s words can be. I am so for speaking the truth and sharing opinions. We need the truth spoken into every lie, and we need people to share their opinions, it’s how we learn empathy and other people’s perspectives, but telling people how bad of parents they are, arguing with them, sharing hateful things, cussing people out, and ripping people apart on their appearances, is not okay in person and definitely not okay online. But yet, it happens millions of times every single day. This isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a people issue, but women need to step up to the plate because we need each other. We have the most to lose in a world like we live in today. We are making strides for victims of rape and abuse, we are bridging the wage gap, our voices are starting to be taken seriously, and we don’t have time to set ourselves back because of hateful speech and the lack of encouragement from one another. We need each other for community, for advice, for help, for encouraging words. We need each other as friends. We need to be loving and speak words that build one another up, no matter what her political party, religious affiliation, or beliefs. We need to speak life into each other not just as women, but as people who love Jesus and want to emit that love to everyone around us. The best way to help someone you disagree with and think is saying/doing things that are wrong is to share Jesus with them in everything you do. Jesus is the only hope for any of our problems the world, and Jesus tells us to pour words of love and encouragement on one another.
“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
“An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.”
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
“If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
“Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.”
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
I’m going to be really honest here, the reason I realized I should write about this on good ol’ Valentine’s Day is because I saw things I was doing that were not uplifting and helping women, they were exactly what’s wrong with our world. I thought because I didn’t start fights on Facebook and tell people why they’re bad parents on the internet I was emitting kindness to everyone. But I was flipping through Snapchat one day and I took one of the “Who Wore it Best” quizzes, and I realized I was taking a poll to determine if some stranger that I’d never met looked better in Gucci tracksuit than the other one. The Hoky Spirit was notttt having that, and my heart started getting convicted as I flipped through the articles. I realized I was spending my time, even if it was just a few minutes, on something that made women nothing more than appearances. I was giving my time to articles that people felt they had the right to publish, because the woman in the photo who they thought gained too much weight or looked better at the last award show, was in the public eye. I realized how objectifying it was to tell someone what their worth was essentially based off of s picture of her at the beach. And the worst part was, I was supporting it by giving it views.
Not dishing out hateful speech is a great start, but taking action is the best way to make a difference. We live in the age of Instagram selfie comparisons where woman are constantly struggling with not looking or being good enough. People are struggling to find identity and purpose. We need to fill those people up with love and kindness. The mean lady on Facebook who commented on that actresses photo about why she hates her? She needs love to. The lady at the grocery store who gave you the look and jumped in front of you at Target? She need to be loved on. The mom with the kid who’s screaming while you’re on your date? She needs encouragement and kind words poured all over her. Spend Galentines Day showering the people in your life with words that lift them up. If you’re throwing shade at people all day long, there’s no way that the light of Jesus can shine through. It’s not easy and let’s be real, it’s not always fun. But when you give words of kindness, that show God’s character, you will see how it changes people’s lives and you will feel such a satisfaction in speaking encouragement. Let’s face it, women are strong, smart, beautiful, and God created us for great things, and we need each other to get the job done.
So, be a Leslie Knope today. Share some Jesus-loving and life giving words, encourage your friends till’ the day is done, and eat some waffles.
KYLE LOVES TORI PHOTOGRAPHY