”Do you like it?” I pointed at the Anthro-inspired artwork I’d quilted out of old sweaters and looked at my friend, awaiting her response.

She shrugged her shoulders and looked at me.  “Do you like it?”

I stared back at her. What?

Did I like it?

The question took me back to 7th grade when I wore a rather unusual twirly skirt to school one day. My grandma had made it, and it was either stunning or horrid—I couldn’t decide.  It would certainly take some work to pull it off.  I went for it.

Of course it took all of two minutes for me to see the verdict on the faces of the girls at school.  A glance down, eyebrows up, look back up at my face, smirk. It was dumb. My skirt had failed.  I went home at lunch and changed my clothes.

Later that day a friend had chided me with wisdom beyond her twelve years: “Why’d you change?  Don’t let what other people think make you change your clothes. If you like the skirt, wear it.”

Did I like the skirt?

Do I like the artwork?

Or are my opinions simply the sum total of others?

While I’ve grown out of that skirt, I haven’t grown out of my over-dependence on others’ opinions.  And I know I’m not alone. We girls are notorious for this, aren’t we? We need fifteen friends’ opinions on a dress before we wear it, and our happiness can often be reduced down to the number of compliments we receive. Or, closer to home, the number of comments or subscribers or re-tweets we receive. Interestingly, the affirmation we most often pursue is not from our husbands.

It’s from other women.

And while perhaps our dependence on other women’s opinions and affirmation is harmless enough when it comes to skirts and art, too often it sinks down past the superficial and begins to take root in our hearts.  The question haunts us:

Am I okay?

That same question haunted Rachel and Leah thousands of years ago. In Genesis 30, these two sisters are desperately and miserably competing for their husband’s love by seeing who could bear the most children. After taking drastic and demoralizing measures to win the race Leah announces,

“Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” (30:13)

Hmm.  Happy am I. Why?

For women have called me happy.

Are you convinced? Neither am I.  Picture the scene.  Anxious and driven by insecurity and competition, Leah has just resorted to the unthinkable (giving her maidservant to sleep with her husband) just so she can win a miserable conception competition with her sister. Yet she insists that she is happy because other women have called her happy.

Modern day translation?

I’m okay because other women say I’m okay.

Dear sisters, that is not the truth.

You are not merely the sum total of other people’s opinions.

You are worth more than the number of compliments or re-tweets you receive.

Your skirt has value if you love to twirl in it.

Your artwork has value if you love rejoicing in it.

You have value because you are wonderfully made in the image of God.

You are not happy if women call you happy. And you are not worthless if women call you worthless.  We will be called both at some point, and our defining moment is what we choose to believe.

Who we choose to believe.

When we only believe other women’s opinions, misery is ours. But when we believe God’s Word, we stand secure: “Whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he” (Prov. 16:20). That’s who calls you happy.

Go ahead. Twirl in your skirt. He calls you happy. You are His work of art.

By Kari Patterson, Sacred Mundane.


How is God freeing you to throw off the crutch of affirmation-addiction and twirl in that skirt for His glory?

  • http://www.wanderingstill.blogspot.com michelle hiatt

    Makes me want to go to the back of my closet right now…thanks for a motivating post!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Yeah go pull out that twirly skirt, Michelle! ;)

  • http://www.adailyportion.wordpress.com Missy K

    This is wonderful. Thank you– I needed it this morning.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Praise God, Missy. I pray you are blessed–and happy–today!

  • Beth Williams

    I, sometimes, want opinions on clothes, make-up, etc. But most of the time I use the saying “If you don’t like what you see, tough God made me that way”.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      That’s awesome–you’ve got it down! Now teach us that to all the rest of us! ;)

  • http://sweetestpetunia.blogspot.com Jacky {The Sweetest Petunia}

    Being a people-pleaser by nature makes this very hard for me. I don’t care so much if I like it, as long as others do. This post is a wonderful reminder for me; thank you so much for sharing!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Totally, Jacky–you and I might be cut from the same cloth. But there is hope! I pray you are blessed today.

  • http://breatheshinelove.blogspot.com/ Kristi

    I couldn’t help but think of my 13 year old daughter who modeled a “new” outfit she put together from her wardrobe. She just showed me it a couple of hours ago before school. I sincerely loved it….she loved it….yet I’m hoping she will still love it when she returns from school today. Your description of the 7th grade girls Fashion Police Brigade is spot on! Once she left our home it doesn’t matter what I thought or what she thinks…it’s all about the evaluation at school…how sad. :(
    Your post gave me some beautiful inspiration about the words I can use to guide her. Equally important , it gave me some much needed courage as I venture out into this blogging world. I never realized how much competition there can be if I allow myself to enter into it. Thank you for the life affirming words this morning! You have blessed me.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Yes, Kristi! Be brave! You can do it–you have a voice and we’d love to hear it. And I’m praying for your daughter today :), how great if she can get this down at a young age! I bet she looks beautiful.

  • http://arock4him.blogspot.com/ Amy

    Amen and AMEN, sister! Receiving Grace to have our own opinion is so freeing! I wrote about it today, too.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Read your post–amen, girl!

      • http://arock4him.blogspot.com/ Amy

        You blessed me with your comment! So grateful for the truth He speaks into our lives…such a gift to share it, huh?! Good to *meet* you!

  • http://www.holeytamoley.tumblr.com Brandi

    Thank you so much. Wonderful post!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Pray you are blessed today, Brandi!

  • http://livingthebalancedlife.com Living the Balanced Life

    Oh what wonderful words! I am awesome because He says I am! I love this!
    Thank you for sharing your heart today!
    Letting go of who I thought I was supposed to be

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      You ARE awesome, Bernice–because He says you are in His Son. Praying you are blessed today. :)

  • http://appreciatinglittlethings.blogspot.com/ stephanie

    A wonderful post! Touched my heart today. Thanks

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Praise God–I pray you are blessed today, Stephanie.

  • http://www.iliveinanantbed.blogspot.com I Live in an Antbed

    Such an important principle. If our expectations are laid anywhere except at His feet, we will be disappointed. We can’t expect our self worth or anything else from anyone except Him. He may use others to supply our needs, but He is always the Source. And when we recognize that, we walk in freedom.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Amen Miss Antbed! :)

  • Kim

    A lovely and thoughtful post. I realized some time ago that I seldom have much of an opinion about anything–instead I depend on others’ opinions to form my own. Your story gives me something to ponder a bit more. Just wanted to point out, though, that the verse you quote from Proverbs is Prov. 16:20, not 20:16. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Ha! Thanks for pointing that out Kim! I find it hysterical that Proverbs 20:16 refers to “strange women” in the KJV… I guess I am one! :)
      Thanks for your comment–pray you have blessed day!

  • Melissa

    Thank you (again) for your wonderful words expressed the way I can understand. This is a lesson that I needed to hear and one I pray my girls will understand in the precious years to come.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Thank you Melissa! Yes, our girls need this. Love you girl and *wink* see you soon!

  • http://holley.dayspring.com Holley Gerth

    Wow, such a powerful truth that speaks to all of us women. And so wonderfully written! So glad you shared this with us, Kari!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Thank you, Holley!

  • Kimberly Dial

    Sister you said a mouth full! Thank you!

  • Karen Zyp

    Way to go, girl! Glad to see your writing blessing others.

  • http://www.pixelthis.com Laurie Y

    This reminds me of the quote “Happy girls are the prettiest” … it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, if you’re happy it brings out a glow that makes you far prettier then the rest.. and I don’t think true happiness can be faked.

    Be happy with what you have. Strive to be your best, sure… but enjoy the creations you’ve made.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Amen, Laurie! I read a marriage book recently that said the best way to be beautiful is simply to smile. I’m trying to put it into practice. Amen sister!

  • http://www.ingoodetime.blogspot.com Fonda

    Wow, Kari! Your words are convicting this morning. (Especially about not seeking as much affirmation from our husbands as the women in our lives!) Who calls me ‘happy’? I’m a going to have to think on this a little while!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Praise God. Yes, I do think some women look for affirmation from their hubbies, but it’s my experience we (gulp) look to each other far too often. I pray you are blessed today in God’s gift of happiness!

  • http://www.sonshinensmiles.com KrisDot

    What a great word! Isn’t that so true – we women often ‘do what we do’- fashion, makeup,hair,decorate our homes, etc. – for other women. Men don’t really care. They really don’t! I mean come on- do we really care if our hubby’s think we ‘look fat’ in something? No, because ultimately we know he accepts us how we are…warts, fat, no makeup, and all. We’re worried about what other girls think. But why?! It’s SOOOOO silly!!!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      A-M-E-N KrisDot girl! Here’s what’s telling for me–I look like a slob at home but then if I “go out with the girls” I get all dolled up. What’s with that?? :) Thanks for your thoughts–I pray you are blessed today!

  • http://flowerpatchfarmgirl.blogspot.com Flower Patch Farmgirl

    Well, I just really love this.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Thank you, Flower Patch Farmgirl. Your blog is beautiful!

  • http://www.nikiturner.net Niki Turner

    After the Oscars everyone was commenting on Helena Bonham Carter and her weird get-ups, and I thought, “She wears what she wants. I wish I was that confident.”
    Never noticed Leah’s comment in Genesis. How very, very sad.
    Thanks, wonderful post!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Totally, Niki! We all need a huge dose of security in Christ. I pray you are blessed today!

  • http://amylsullivan.blogspot.com/ Amy Sullivan

    Loving this post. “You are not merely the sum total of other people’s opinions.” So true. Off to twirl in my skirt :)

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Woohoo, Amy! I can see you twirling now!! :)

  • http://hikingtowardhome.blogspot.com/ Sharon@HikingTowardHome

    Amen!!!! This is so well written and so absolutely “hit the nail on the head” right. I wish it had not taken me so long to “get” this. Now… if I could just teach this to my daughters.

    And when I was reading this I kept thinking of Numbers 13:33 “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

    If we see ourselves as not having confidence, they will think the same.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Amen, Sharon. That is a great point. When people are big and God is small, right? I pray your daughters learn from your wisdom and walk in that confidence all their days–and that you all are blessed today. Thank you for your kind words.

  • http://linzandmattwilliams.blogspot.com Lindsey

    This really hit home today. It is so true that as women, we really do crave the approval of other women. My husband asked me why I have page view counter on my blog, I told him I was just curious, but if I’m being honest it is for this exact reason. Validation that if others read my blog it then maybe what I’m saying is good and interesting. Silly, I know, but hard to get past.

    Thanks again, I really enjoyed reading this.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Oh Lindsey, yes how I wish I couldn’t relate but I do! :) I will say I do not look at any of my blog stats, ever, just because I know I will get sucked in–it’s too great of a temptation for me to find my worth in that. But we do it in other ways too! I pray we all are freed from this and we can write and blog for His glory and other’s benefit. Bless you for your honesty, girl.

  • http://www.cremedelagems.com Tracy

    OH goodness…this post hit me like a brick! In a good way :)
    I’m a people pleaser, and often fall into this mind set. I am bookmarking this so I can read it every day as a reminder! Thank you so much~

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Well miss Tracy people-pleaser you are in good company. :) We’re all recovering affirmation addicts, right? But praise God He is growing us daily. I am praying today you are blessed and freed more and more!

  • Erin Bailey

    So, so true! I need to be reminded of this DAILY. Thank-you for blessing us by sharing.
    Twirl girl twirl!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      I love you Erin Bailey. :)

  • http://www.atthepicketfence.com Vanessa

    My sister told me I needed to come over here today and read this and now I know why! My eyes instantly welled with tears and pretty much stayed that way through the entire post. The truth of this hits so close to home and I felt like God was actually speaking to me through your Spirit-filled words! You captured so accurately what we as women so often feel and I am completely guilty of seeking my approval from others so many times…”why didn’t they notice the new rug in my house? Do they not like it? I have a new haircut and no one said anything?”…such a struggle! And yet the evil one wants us to sit in that dark place of self-doubt rather than turn to the Light of the One who created us and knows our innermost thoughts and yet still love us!
    We just can’t have blogging and facebook/twitter be one more medium by which we allow insecurity to creep in. Thank you so much for this today. You have immensly blessed me! :-)

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Vanessa YOU have blessed ME. Praise God for His amazing Spirit that breathes on our words and makes them work for His glory. Isn’t He so good to us?? Thank you for what you wrote–it is so true and I pray God blesses you for your tender heart and desire to please Him! Praying for you right now, girl. Now go twirl! :)

  • http://www.momssharpeningmoms.com Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms

    Oh my heavens, is this not soothing balm to the soul. Beautiful, Kari, just beautiful.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go brush the dust off my twirly skirt and throw that puppy on!!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Woohoo Kristen!! Thank you for your kind words and I’ll twirl with you today! :)

  • http://www.cailamade.com Caila Murphy

    Kari, what a wonderful reminder for today! Thank you! I want to be happy because HE calls me happy, no other reason. I wonder what I have in the back of my closet…hmm…

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Caila, you want to know the truth? You do this probably more than any person I know. I have always marveled at the infectious joy and glow that you have about you…because of just being yourself in Christ. Thanks for being an example to me. And, I love you to pieces!

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis


    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Thank you. I appreciated your post on parenting being hard. Thanks for your honesty and praying you are blessed today.

  • http://www.jesusofnazareth-alovestory.com Virginia

    Wow and wonderful! This one hit me at the perfect timing and I so needed it! God bless you!

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      Praise God! Isn’t God’s Spirit amazing–He always knows just what we need at just the right moment. Thanks for your words–and bless you today Virginia!

  • Susanne

    Wow! Boy, did this speak to me! So often I feel like that, wanting others’ opinions on what is right and wrong when honestly, I can figure it out for myself. Thank you for this blog.

    • http://www.karipatterson.com Kari

      You’re welcome and oh boy can I relate (obviously). I pray we learn to hear His voice louder than all others! Bless you Susanne!

  • arlene

    whoever trusts in the LORD is happy!! that is what i believe, Amen!

  • Pingback: Five on Friday » Clackamas Oregon Newborn Photographer, Clackamas Oregon Maternity Photographer | Lacey Meyers Photography()

  • Pingback: (in)courage: Who Calls You Happy? — Kari Patterson()

  • Pingback: Parenting: Standards, Motive, and Unconditional Love — Kari Patterson()

  • http://www.busygirlblog.com nicole

    beautifully put!

  • Becky

    Wonderful post! Sometimes life feels so heavy and like it’s work and no fun…because I am not being the person God created me to be. I am not enjoying the things that I enjoy b/c the people around me don’t enjoy them. One day God is going to say to me I gave you so many gifts that you didn’t even enjoy and it’s simply b/c I am too concerned about other’s opinions! What a waste of a beautiful life! Thank you for the wake up call! I am about to set out to have some fun :) Thank you for your (in)couragement…that’s exactly what it was :) Blessings!

  • http://annahollister.com Anna

    This post is exactly what I needed today, it is so true. Thank you!!

  • http://texan-mama-365-2011.blogspot.com Gretchen Willis

    yes. Exactly.

    Now that my brain knows it, I just have to make my heart believe it too.