Most of us had role models as a child. The women who embodied everything we wanted to have/be; whether it was their physical beauty, talent, spirituality, or their inner poise & grace. I certainly did, and I couldn’t wait to grow up and become like them. I looked forward to the day when these beautiful, graceful women would welcome me into glorious womanhood with open arms.
Some of us were blessed to have these women invest in our lives, whilst others of us gleaned by observing how they lived.
However, through the years I have found that there are very few women in the Church who actually want to see, and play a role in, young women rising up. Instead of seeing the younger women as daughters to be mentored, many older women tend to see them as nuisances or competitors.
The warm welcome into womanhood that I envisioned was tainted by what I call the “Mirror, Mirror” syndrome.
Having encountered this nasty syndrome many times, and hearing others tell of the same experience, I started to wonder why the syndrome is so ubiquitous – it can be found everywhere! Why is it pervasive across ages, languages, cultures? Is there a way it can be stopped/prevented?
And the million dollar question: Would I fall prey to this syndrome when I grow old?! *insert shudders and chills*
So this series was birthed.
I am reaching for all the Snow Whites out there, in hopes that we would be conscious in guarding our hearts against the “Mirror, Mirror” syndrome while we are still young and in our prime. That we would grow into true Queens and not Mrs. Evil Stepmother (no way, jose!).
What is the “Mirror, Mirror” syndrome?
Think Snow White and her Stepmother. Mrs. Stepmother was the greatest beauty in all the land, and she’d held that title for a loooong time. But when it came Snow White’s turn to step into her shoes, instead of graciously nurturing/mentoring Snow White in the ways of a good beauty queen, she tried to kill her instead.
This fairytale is a parable of what I have observed of many women in the Church, even the godly ones.
Here are some symptoms of those afflicted with the “mirror, mirror” syndrome:
- They’re always talking about their calling, their ministry, their accomplishments. They are not too interested in anyone else’s accomplishments/calling/ministry… unless it would serve to elevate theirs.
- They have no desire to spend time building up another younger person’s life… unless it elevates themselves.
- They feel threatened when younger women rise up. Especially those who could potentially outshine them.
- They feel that it is their responsibility to put young people in their place.
- They hold tightly to their places of authority/influence, and would put others down to do so.
- They like people who hang on their every word & do exactly as they say, and put up walls to those who challenge them.
- They are open to those who are weak-willed and non-threatening, but shut out those who secure and confident.
- They demand respect of others, while oftentimes giving none in return.
- They are controlling.
- They are attention-seeking.
- They have not been made mature in love.
- They are easily offended.
Why exactly do many start out well, but end not-so-well? We will address this question in the next article: “When Snow White becomes the cruel Stepmother” – key pitfalls and how to guard against them.
Keep a lookout for it, or you can get it delivered straight to your inbox by clicking on the “follow godlywomanhood” button on the right-hand side of this page!