A New Beauty Challenge
You glance in the mirror while getting dressed for the day. You’re a bit rushed, so you didn’t put in as much effort as you’d like to. You catch yourself off guard, “Oh hey, I look kind of pretty today.” It doesn’t happen as often as it should, but your skin is relatively clear. Your hair is falling just right, and your eyes aren’t puffy at all. You allow yourself to bask in the peace of fleeting confidence.
You pause, lean in, and furrow your brow. They knit together above your eyes, which seem a bit too close together. You lean back and notice how visible your pores are. You examine your chin and notice the ugly blackheads that appear when you stretch the skin. Your nose seems bulbous and out of place too. You make a mental note that, if you ever had the choice of plastic surgery, you’d probably go for a rhinoplasty.
That’s when you look down and notice the way your thighs touch, the lack of definition in your arms – no matter how much you hit the gym or forgo the whip on your skinny vanilla latte. You get frustrated and leave the bathroom, carrying the weight of all the negativity piled on your frame.
God doesn’t make ugly things. Every time you tell yourself that you aren’t pretty enough or good enough or sexy enough, you’re telling God that His work was mediocre at best. You’re telling the God who formed the trillions of stars above your head, the same God who taught the birds to fly and the sun to produce warmth and the flowers to bud and the plants to sustain life that HIS work is okay at best.
Do you see the hypocrisy in that?
I have a challenge for you.
It is a challenge God has given me, and I felt like maybe its something worth sharing. Actually, I know it is. So, I want you to stop, pause, and think; take a moment to write down the things about your appearance that you wish you could change. Don’t worry; I’ll do it with you. Now be honest, because we all do it. I know it sounds completely backwards from what you should do as a Christian – you know, putting your insecurities on paper, but bear with me.
For me? My thighs touch.
No matter how much I work out, my arms aren’t toned.
My cheeks are very round when I smile.
My button nose annoys me.
I wish I was taller.
These are my insecurities, and these are the things I worry about on a daily basis. I know how trivial it seems on a grand scale, but to some extent, we all feel the pressure to conform to the standards of our culture and media. So take a moment to think about the things you don’t like so much about yourself. What are the weaknesses that the enemy tries to use to make you feel less important, less loved, and less worthy?
Do you have the list yet? You better! Now, ask the Holy Spirit to come into this moment. Allow God to show you what is beautiful and unique about each quality. Allow God to show you why He has BLESSED you with these characteristics because these are NOT shortcomings. Take a moment and let God show you how HE sees you.
This is what He told me:
My thighs. They are strong. They carry me miles and miles. What a blessing it is to rise on two legs willing to go where God leads me! They are the perfect seat for my future children, a personal desk at times. My legs are as God has intended. They are good. They are useful. I have no reason to carry shame for their sake.
My arms. I can wrap the most broken of hearts in loving hugs with these arms. I can lift people high with these arms of mine. Though the muscle isn’t perfectly defined, it is there for the uses of God. He will never stop giving me opportunities to love people, and these arms are purposed to hold many souls with His grace and love. They are perfect for me.
My cheeks. With every goofy smile I give, I will remind someone that they are loved. I will brighten someone’s hard morning with my overly obvious smiles. I will make others smile with the cheeks you can’t miss. My smile is a smile that evokes joy, and I am thankful to God for so many blessings that bring it out to shine.
My nose. What a silly thing to worry about! With it, I take in the air that carries me through the life God has given me. It is small and fitting. I am a happy and quirky person, and it suites me well. Though there are many noses God could have given me, He chose this one. I am thankful for every breath I take. It is a gift.
My height. The world needs us all, tall and small. I may not reach the top shelf, but God has given me an able body that can climb to where it needs to be. I am blessed by my small stature because, when I am underestimated, I have the chance to prove just how mighty my Father is. Though I am small, He works through me in a big way. My God is bigger than this small insecurity.
The insecurities you feel are based on a brand of beauty defined by man. Do not underestimate what God creates. He does not make purposeless things or ugly things or pointless things. He makes perfect things. When you look past what the world says, you see God’s intentions are perfect, as are you.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.