My husband and I were watching a television series called Planet Earth. It’s a series where videographers enter some of the most intricate and unfamiliar parts of our planet and capture it on film in the awe-inspiring way. This particular episode was about the mating habits of jungle birds.
As I was watching the interaction between the male and female jungle birds in this particular episode, I was struck by how vastly different their “mating” process was compared to our culturally perceived norms. I found myself wondering if we’d somehow got it backwards in our culture.
Let me give you a few of my observations:
1. The first thing I noticed was that it was the male birds who were extravagant and ornate. Bright and beautiful colors and patterns, lavish feathers of all shapes and sizes, loud and boisterous chirps and calls. But the females, well, they were “modest” as the commentator pointed out. Plain in their appearance. No flashy colors; just sweet, quiet chirps. They were out simply to be won, with no need to dress or impress. They seemed to have an innate knowledge that they were valuable, and that they deserved great things.
And so they sat, quietly, waiting confidently to take part in the dance of pursuit when it was time.
I wondered at how we as women have strayed so far when it comes to understanding our true value and worth. I wonder how we have become so fixated with using our appearance, body image, and sex appeal as our primary way to gain favor and value and love.
Somehow, we’ve started to believe the lie that our desirability is hinged on these external things; that we need to skinny, flashy, and sexy to find the right man…even though that usually leads us to the wrong one.
We are so much more significant than the birds of the air, because we are so deeply loved and treasured. We, too, were created with undeniable innate value. Created in God’s image, we were meant to believe that we deserve great things. Why, then, have so many of us believed less?
2. The second thing I noticed was that the females were very choosy. Even with the bright colors and bold noises of the males, it would take “nothing short of an outstanding performance” as the commentator clarified, for them to even have a shot with the highly valued females.
They would settle for nothing less than the best. Nothing less than”magnificence” would do, the narrator explained.
My heart breaks for the many women I meet and hear from who have settled for less. Women who didn’t believe that they were worth magnificent, extravagant, and crazy love. I’m saddened by how easy it is for women to give their hearts, sometimes to the most undeserving of men. But the truth is:
Women will only be choosy when they believe that they are worth choosing; when they believe they are a treasure worth finding and a gem worth keeping.
We have strayed so far from our God-created identity.
3. The third thing I observed was that there was no desperation on the part of the female birds. No need to make sure they got to the right place, wore the right feathers, or had the right body style. There wasn’t a desperate rush to get noticed. They were confident, just where they were, doing their thang.
Instinctively, they just knew that eventually, they would be found. And in the end, it always worked out that way. If only we as women could have the confidence of these birds.
I think part of the problem as Christian women lies in our fear of trusting God. Deep down, we want to trust Him, but we wonder if we really can. We wonder if He will really follow through. We wonder if He knows us as well as we think we know ourselves. But if He truly is God, can’t He be trusted? That question rings true for me even now as a married woman, constantly learning and re-learning to trust God with every single part of my life.
I look at these birds and their relationship “standards” in light of my past experiences. I look at them in light of the experiences of countless women I meet every day in my counseling office. I look at them in light of story after story of broken hearts and a desperate desire to be loved, to be valued.
It seems as though our culture has really set us up for despair.
We live in a society that is completely opposed to this model of interaction. We’ve adapted a currency of value that has nothing to do with true love and everything to do with sex appeal, physical attraction, chemistry, fashion, and beauty.
A culture that has fooled women into believing that they must earn the right to be loved…dancing around, ruffling our feathers, showing off our colors in the desperation of finding someone to love us- all the while trying to convince ourselves that we are worth being loved. A culture of women no longer believing they have the right to be picky, but rather to, “take what you can get”.
A culture that has forgotten that we are worth remarkable and that we are worth magnificent.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but as I reflect on these things I’m left with two prayers:
Women, may you be challenged to acknowledge and accept your true value in the eyes of your Creator. May you be strengthened to settle for nothing less than seeing that priceless level of worth in the eyes of the One God who desperately pursues you.
Men, may you be challenged to become more and more magnificent and remarkable as you draw closer to the One who created you to be just that, relying on his sanctification at work in your life to produce in you this level of splendor.
And may you then come together in the beautiful unity of your God-created selves. A beautiful union that reflects the majesty and the brilliance of our Creator; a God who cares about the birds of the fields…and even more, cares about you.
All the single ladies- be encouraged. You are worth magnificence. Wait for it.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest book, Choosing Marriage, is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!