Normally, I try to write posts that will be relevant to all of my friends, but every once in a while, I like to take the opportunity to say something especially to my fellow young ladies. This is one of those times!
Check out this article from Cross-Eyed Blog called “How to Become a Lady.” (Of course, if any of you guys are interested to know how this author defines “ladylike,” go ahead and read it. But it’s directed at the girls.) Then come back and read the rest of this post.
This was my favorite line from the article:
“We not only represent ourselves and our families, but also Jesus Christ. Some Christian girls believe learning to be a lady is a waste of time. To the contrary, it is one of the best investments of time you’ll ever make!”
As young girls, many of us dreamed of being like our favorite fairy tale princesses. We were drawn to their exquisite beauty and sweetness. We dreamed of being dazzlingly graceful, charming, and kind even while living quiet lives. What did we see in them that we stopped caring about as we grew older? When did the glitz, glam, and fashion cause us to forget what we first aspired to? Who told us that it was better to be the same as everyone else than be unique and lovely in individual ways? Why did we trade aspirations of femininity for aspirations of popularity, wealth, or even toughness?
I would by no means place myself on a pedestal as a perfect specimen of ladylike-ness. That takes time and growth. But I do hope that every girl my age has considered what it means to be a lady and aspires to fulfill the calling of Biblical womanhood.
In recent years, and especially over the past year, I have met some remarkable examples of young women who exude the kind of beauty a true lady aspires to. Femininity does not require that you learn embroidery or play the harp or wear a string of pearls every day (though if those things are part of who you are, that’s wonderful). But it does require grace, dignity, and selflessness.
Are you reminded of beauty when you see a young woman dressed inconsiderately for the sole purpose of drawing attention to external features? Are you reminded of grace when you see a young woman behaving exactly the same as any boy in the room? Are you reminded of dignity when you see a young woman fishing for compliments or trying fiercely to make herself seem “above” other people? Are you reminded of selflessness when you see a young woman creating unnecessary work for others or taking people for granted? Don’t immediately tell yourself that “other people” do that. I often see girls who would not consider themselves “other people” do those very things.
The most graceful, dignified, selfless people I have met are those who are willing to do things that are unpopular, uncomfortable, or just plain different for the sake of being who God calls them to be. It might involve things like closing your mouth when there is nothing suitable to say. It might involve speaking when no one else is willing to. It might involve telling someone a hard truth, or rescuing someone from an awkward situation. It might involve talking to someone who is alone or offering encouragement when no one else sees the need. You may need to ask a sincere “how are you” or extend a sincere “thank you.” Maybe instead of building your own self-esteem, you need to tell someone else about a beautiful quality you see in them. Maybe you just need to smile more and display some optimism in the face of difficulty. Femininity calls for awareness of the needs of those around you, and there is a constant need for brightness and hope.
Look at your own life and think about whether you display the qualities of a true lady representing God in heaven. If you see room for improvement, be inspired, not discouraged. Identify areas where change is necessary and take daily steps in the right direction. Aim to be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of somebody else. We have a high calling and the time is now for the journey to begin.
“Grace was in all her steps,/ Heav’n in her Eye/, in every gesture dignity and love.” — John Milton