We’ve talked about the Mirror, Mirror syndrome and what it looks like. Now let us identify the key pitfalls that turn Snow Whites into Stepmothers.
1. Misplaced Identity
Building our identity on what is temporal is the surest path to the Mirror, Mirror syndrome. The cruel Stepmother was once a sweet, pretty young thing too, just like Snow White. But fear of losing that beauty, and along with it everything her life had been built on, turned her into the evil woman who would do anything to protect her status of “fairest in all the land”.
Isaiah 40:30 says that “even youth shall fade”. Too many women, in their youth, have built their identity and security on things that do not last. Most of the things that we possess in our youth are actually temporal tools given to us to build something permanent.
Unfortunately, too many young people make the mistake of regarding these temporal tools as an end, rather than a means to an end. The danger of such a mindset is this: We fail to build something more permanent out of the gifts that God gives us in our youth. When these things fade away, we are left with nothing.
That is why so many women, like the Stepmother, are still striving to hold on to their positions that they had as young women.
A Victoria Secret’s supermodel said that despite their gorgeous looks and beautiful bodies, supermodels are actually more insecure than most people. “If you ever think, ‘If I had thinner thighs and shinier hair, wouldn’t I be happier,’ you just need to meet a group of models. They have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes and they are the most physically insecure women, probably, on the planet.”
The culture of God’s kingdom is such that those who come after us will go at least twice further than we have gone – even Jesus said that we would do greater works than He did (John 14:12). However, for those who have built their identity on the temporal, it is terrifying for them to raise up other young women. Because if/when they are surpassed, they will have nothing left to speak of what their lives had accomplished.
Have you ever met women who are so consumed with regrets of the past? I certainly have. These woman are so filled with bitterness. Like Miss Havisham in Dickens’ Great Expectations, they sit forever in the things that could have been and never moving forward.
Countless are the number of conversations I have had with older women that contain one or more of the following:
“Don’t set your expectations too high so you won’t be too disappointed”
“Yeah I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. It won’t work for you either”
“This and that didn’t happen for me, so why should it happen for someone else”
“Yeah I used to have zeal too… but then I grew up. You’ll lose that zeal when you grow older”
“There’s no such thing as fairytales & happily ever afters”
And so on and so forth. Regrets of our youth are extremely poisonous. They lead us to bitterness, and this bitterness defiles a great many others (Hebrews 12:15).
One of the quickest routes to bitterness is failure. We fail a few times and get tired of trying to get up and give it another try – so we become bitter and say “This is just not possible”. So we stop dreaming, because it makes the pain of disappointment go away.
But the danger of bitterness & regret is this: We start to impose on the younger generation that they should stop dreaming too. I have met so many women who actually resent the zeal and idealism of their younger counterparts. Consciously or not, they try to shut down the dreams of the young ones and end up doing more damage than they could imagine.
3. Misplaced Ambitions
When our ambitions are misplaced, we become increasingly insecure.
As I mentioned earlier, most of what we are given in our youth are actually temporal tools meant for building something permanent. BUT even these dreams we have to build something lasting, and the ability & resources to achieve those dreams, must not be our ultimate ambition.
There are women I know of who do use their gifts to building something permanent and eternal – be it a good cause, an organization, a ministry. These are great dreams and bless many!
But when these God-given dreams become their ultimate ambition, that is when the focus shifts. It usually becomes a “Look at me and what I can do!” circus show.
I believe that the primary reason why many women turn into insecure Stepmothers is because of fear. Insecurity in its most basic form is fear, and fear comes from a lack of maturity.
1 John 4:18 says that, “He who fears has not been made mature in love.” Perfect love drives out ALL fear, and those who have been matured in love do not fear.
I have observed that this is true. There are many men & women of God who only ever remain as “great men/women of God”. Is that bad? No, of course not! BUT that is not the height of maturity; they need to progress to become people who raise up even greater men & women than themselves.
Those who are still immature will never want to groom someone else who would outshine them, because they are still governed by fear and self-seeking mindsets.
In the next article of the Mirror, Mirror series, we will be discussing how to guard against these pitfalls while we are still Snow Whites. Prevention is better than cure, after all!
Till then, what are some other pitfalls to the Mirror, Mirror syndrome that you can think of?