Why I wanted an SUV…aka, thoughts on influence

You know how, as a young woman, you look up to girls who are older than you?

I still remember sitting in the back of my mom’s minivan as a pre-teen, waiting (…and waiting…and waiting…) for her to do some grocery shopping. As I sat there, this lady pulled up — probably mid-twenties. She seemed so pretty and cool, stepping out of her tan SUV in her white summer outfit. I just stared as she walked into the store, in awe of how put-together she seemed.

And from that moment on, I’ve wanted an SUV.

And to dress in white. (Which I tried for awhile in my teen years, but it’s just a terrible color on me.)

(I know. I was a very strange child.)

Even though I never met that lady, I dreamed of becoming as cool as she seemed, which in my mind, meant driving an SUV.

I haven’t bought an SUV yet, because my two-person family doesn’t warrant the extra seating and gas. But someday…someday.

Sometimes we forget how much influence we have.

It’s easy to forget how much we looked up to older girls when we were young. It’s easy to think, “I have nothing to offer anyone else; do they realize how messed up my life is? No one would look up to me.”

But we have no idea who is watching. Or how much influence we may have on someone else…without ever knowing it.

And it makes me wonder…can we change the world with our influence? Here’s what I mean:

Statistics show that 81% of ten-year-olds fear becoming fat.

Why am I telling you this? Because I wonder if we can change that statistic — and many others.

You see, some of those 10-year-olds are looking up to us — to you and to me. They’re learning from the way we talk about and treat ourselves — even when we think no one is watching, or no one else is affected.

I remember being in college, standing in my friend’s room critiquing my body in front of her full-length mirror. She stopped me mid-sentence, saying: “Tiffany, I think you’re really pretty, so when you talk down about yourself, it makes me wonder how you see me.”

It never crossed my mind she could possible think that way … because I didn’t think I was pretty. And I thought she was beautiful.

Influence. Unexpected, unseen, powerful influence.

Enough influence to make someone want to buy an SUV, for crying out loud!

Here’s what I wonder:

  • What if we became women who never talked down about ourselves?
  • What if we became women who actually loved and appreciated and thanked God for the bodies we’ve been given?
  • What if we modeled self-respect and self-acceptance?

Of course, none of us are perfect at this. But learning and trying to model this behavior, even in our brokenness, is an amazing example to set for those younger than us!

If we started modeling this kind of body-acceptance, even in small ways…if we started conversations about it…could that start to change the statistics?

Could that change the hearts of the 10-year-old girls who know YOU?

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. We all have people who look up to us, whether or not we know it. How are our lives influencing those people?

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