As I grew up, I received more definitions of beauty, including comments about my own. I was called fat. I was told to get bigger boobs because it would make my waist seem smaller. They said if I couldn't be pretty, I should be funny. That my nose is crooked. Celebrities showed me the perfect butt would land you a husband and a 7 figure brand deal and makeup is what makes you pretty. After my surgery I had to see plastic surgeons and the comments they made were brutal. Your cheeks are puckered and not symmetrical. The muscle paralysis in your chin makes your mouth droop to one side. Your smile is uneven. You are deformed.
I saved all of these comments and feelings and filed them away in my heart and mind, recalling them in times of depression and doubt... I'm not like those other girls. I'm not pretty. No one wants to be with someone that looks like me. I am not good enough.
Did you know only 4% of women in the world think they're beautiful.
That's crazy. But honestly I get it because on most days I'm in the 96%. Which group are you in?
There were times, especially after my surgery, that I was obsessed with my face. I despised my own appearance. I went months not looking at myself because of the disappointment I would feel when I looked in the mirror.
In christian circles we like reminding each other that beauty is not found on the outside, but on the inside (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Let me be clear; the Scriptures are right – true beauty is not about appearance.
That being said, the way these versus have been emphasized to women has left us with a sense of worthlessness. It has left me feeling guilty. I have felt shame for wanting to be beautiful. In the church, women tell each other it's our hearts that count and we just need to know we are beautiful in God's eyes and everything will be fine. But what about the days when we just don't feel good about our body? What do we do when we don't want to love our acne or crooked teeth? What about the days we are profoundly unhappy with our appearance? (I have said that last sentence myself, several times)
Christian women are taught that the measure of a real follower of Christ is looking into a mirror and seeing not our own reflection, but the beauty of Christ. What a superficial way to measure belief. The bible is full of deep and marvelous ways to connect with God and express our love for Him and none of them involve loving our wrinkles and pretending they don't exist. We can dislike our stretchmarks and love Jesus with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Real faith is tapping into the life-giving love of Jesus Christ.
That being said, there are times I've fallen into a deep, dark hole where I can only see what I don't have. And that obsession is what cuts off our connection with the Father. When we start to focus solely on our faces and bodies, we can lose our sense of worth and purpose.
I know because I have been there. I have strangled my own faith because I can’t get past what I see in the mirror.
God doesn’t call me to love everything about my appearance. But I do have to let go of my obsession with appearance so that I can focus on what is truly the most beautiful of all my features: my rescued, redeemed soul, created by God, made precious by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Those of us who know true beauty recognize it's something that transcends the earthly world. It has nothing to do with our nose, thighs, or profile. We don’t have to love those things and we don't have to pretend they don't exist. We can take care of our bodies, seek beauty AND acknowledge that physical beauty is not as important as we believe it is. Neither are all those negative comments and rulers we're measuring our own beauty by.
God gave us beauty, because through it we bear His image (Genesis 1:27). By letting go of our obsession with our outward appearance, we can discover anew the deep and endless love from the One who created us.
Your desire for beauty is legitimate and you are made wonderfully (Psalm 139:14).