Kate Middleton is one of the most beloved and watched women in the world, and come July, that public obsession will spill over to the royal baby. Poor baby. And poor Kate Middleton.
Of course, her life is inarguably charmed. She's married to a prince, travels the world in private planes, wears designer clothing, lives part-time in a castle, and has access to things, people, and places most of us only dream of. But as her baby bump grows, so has the public's obsession.
People magazine recently printed "The Pregnant Princess Diaries," with Kate on the front cover, alongside blurbs promising to reveal her cravings, books she's reading to prepare for motherhood, and baby names being tossed around the palace. Turns out, they were all guesses, but why let the absence of actual information get in the way of selling magazines? Better yet, why let reality impact the fantasy that Kate is perfect and radiant and capable of showering starlight on everyone around her? That's a direct quote. And so is this: "Prince William, get out your sunglasses: It'll only get brighter from here."
Come on now. I've got four kids, and I love them with all my heart. But the truth is it'll get fatter from here. It'll get more wrinkled from here. It'll get stretch-marked, droopy, cockeyed, sleep-deprived, and easily irritable from here. Kids have a way of turning life on its ear and fleshing out the truth, and the truth is that when Kate is described as being perfectly mannered and manicured, dazzling, radiant, philanthropic, wonderfully lithe, always fashion-forward, and constantly steady—she's being set up to fail.
Our ridiculous obsession with Princess Kate and other celebs, our willingness to thumb through poorly sourced articles and watch hour after hour of the royal wedding, lets us suspend reality to believe perfection is attainable. Celebrities appear to have those dream-come-true things that women long for: beauty, wealth, adventure, romance, popularity, and a life of ease and luxury.
Truth is I don't need to compare myself to a princess to suffer fluctuating self-esteem. I'm a perfectionist who spends time crossing off to-do lists, believing the things I accomplish—or don't—are in some way a measure of who I am. Keep the house picked up, limit myself to one Diet Coke, spend special time with each of my kids, work out, pray, avoid sugar, call my mom—and on and on, each item contributing to my overall self-worth, which ebbs and flows according to the check marks on my list.
Take my appearance. I fixate on a flaw, compare myself to someone else, work hard to change, fail to reach my goal, fixate, compare, reach my goal, fail to maintain.
I'm a mouse on wheel.
I shouldn't be surprised that contentment has eluded me—and that's not the way God wants my life to be. While I'm chasing impossible goals and searching for value, he's already ascribed it. So in my exhaustion, I turn to him. He should've been my starting place, but alas, too often he's my last resort instead of my first line of defense.
"We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:10).
Kate Middleton is blessed in so many ways, but there's a catch: the more I'm getting to know my Savior—his beauty, his likes and dislikes, his heart for people, and his hope for my life—the more I'm beginning to have compassion for the ones who have it all, because they're in grave danger of believing their own press. Of believing they're worthy of attention and praise. Of their measly glory eclipsing God's glory, and of being blind to their desperate need for Jesus.
I pray it won't be so for Princess Kate. And I'm praying God would change what matters to me. That I'd take my eyes off beauty, money, and impossible goals, and that I'd fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. That I would avoid triggers like magazines, E! News, and my Yahoo! home page. That I would carve out time every day to read my Bible, soaking up truth that guards my heart and mind in Christ so that I'm ready to do battle against my critical inner voice and a culture that would have me believe the fantasy.
Because then life will be a little bit closer to perfect.
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