Lies Young Women Believe
By Belinda Elliott
Depression. Fear. Shame. Anger. Obsessions with food, dieting, or appearance. Sexual sin. Addictions.
Have you ever struggled with any of these? You are not alone.
Young women are under more pressure than ever to look, act, and feel certain ways, and the results are lives filled with stress and anxiety. But you don’t have to live that way.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh, authors of Lies Young Women Believe, say that girls struggle in these areas because they have bought into many of Satan’s lies that are so prevalent in our culture.
Why are these lies so widespread? Gresh feels that it is because we have given up searching out God’s truth, and we have allowed our culture to shape our values.
“Americans don’t spend their time feasting on the Word of God," she said. "We spend it in front of the television watching American Idol. We spend it in front of our computers on our MySpace pages and our Facebook pages. When your feast is on places where there are lies presented, you’re not going to be able to know truth.”
Are You believing Satan’s Lies?
In their book, the authors examine the top 25 lies that many girls have accepted as true, and they explain how to replace those lies with God’s truth.
In a recent interview, Gresh identified two of the most common lies that young women believe.
Lie: Beautiful girls are worth more.
‘I’m ugly.’ ‘I’m fat.’ Ever thought that about yourself?
Young women have believed lies like these for centuries, Gresh said. But there is a bigger lie that is at the root of them all: ‘I have to be beautiful to have worth.’
“Underneath those lies about their beauty is the core lie of, ‘I’m not valuable because I don’t look like Kate Winslet or Keira Knightley,’” she said. “You know what, they don’t look like Keira Knightley on the cover of a magazine either! She doesn’t look like that."
Gresh cites news articles in which both Winslet and Knightley have criticized the ways that their photos were altered on magazine covers, shrinking their thighs or enlarging their breasts, to give their body shapes an unrealistic boost.
"But because we see that image of beauty portrayed every day as valuable," Gresh said, "then we start to believe that we have to look like that too. The models themselves don’t even look like that.”
Believing this lie leads girls to starve themselves, binge and purge, or engage in other destructive behaviors. It can also lead to low self-esteem or depression because they feel they don’t measure up.
The Truth: If you’ve believed this lie, it’s time to take a closer look at God’s Word. Scripture says that you are valuable because you are God’s creation and He loves you. He alone gives our lives value.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
Though you may have a bad hair day now and then, God still considers you His masterpiece. He crafted you just as you are for a purpose.
Lie: I need a boyfriend.
Do you feel better about yourself if you have a boyfriend? Do you think that you can’t be happy without a guy in your life?
The authors polled teens of all ages in both Christian and public schools and found that across the board, this was an area where most girls struggled. Girls often crave the attention of guys because it boosts their self esteem.
This is one of the most lethal lies you can buy into because it can lead to sexual sin.
“It’s a gateway lie to so many other lies,” Gresh said. “‘I need to have sex with him to keep him.’ ‘I can control how far that sex goes.’ ‘Now that I’m pregnant, I have to marry him.’”
It also leads girls to date non-Christians because they want a boyfriend so badly. They feel it’s harmless because they don’t plan to marry them; they just want to have fun, she said.
But often, before you know it, you can find yourself in a serious relationship with the guy. Then what? Do you break up or do you start to compromise your values to stay with him?
If you don’t tackle this lie head on, it will continue to follow you. That all-consuming desire for a boyfriend will later become an urgent need for a husband.
The Truth: A person can’t make you happy. Any time we look for satisfaction or fulfillment in another person, we will be disappointed because only God can provide that for us.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:25-26 (NIV)
Want to Find Freedom?
It is possible to be set free from the lies, Gresh said. She offers the following advice.
Identify the Lie.
It’s easy to identify the outcomes of the lies, because they often show up as a blocked prayer life, depression, fear, or habitual sins. But recognizing the lie at the root of your behaviors can be more difficult. Begin by asking God to show you what things you believe that are not true.
Stop Cooperating with Satan.
There is always a progression to believing these lies, Gresh said. We often “cooperate with Satan” by dwelling on the lie and then acting on it.
“A teenage girl may bring home magazines, cut them out and paste them on her wall so she can see those rail thin models every day,” she said. “She tells herself, ‘I’m going to be like that one day.’ And then, she starts to cooperate with those lies because she might say, ‘I’m going to starve myself today.’ Or ‘I’m going to binge and purge today.’”
You have to recognize what you are exposing yourself to that is feeding the lie.
“Satan doesn’t have authority over us,” Gresh said. “Understand that he can’t put us in bondage unless we cooperate with him.”
Replace the Lies with Truth.
"Go to the Scriptures and say, ‘What is God’s truth about that lie?’” Gresh said.
As you find verses that speak about that, hide them in your heart by memorizing them. Then meditate on them whenever you feel the urge to act out.
“For example," Gresh said, "if you want to binge and purge, go back to that Word that says, ‘God says I am His princess and He is enthralled by my beauty.’ Tell yourself, ‘That means that I must be just right at the size that I’m at. He created me perfectly. He knew me in my mother’s womb.’ Go back to those verses. As you dwell on them, you are set free from the lie.”
Want to know more common lies that young women believe? Check out Gresh's book.
Learn more about the book at www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com.
Learn more about Danah Gresh and her ministry at www.purefreedom.org.
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