It seems that as I've perused through social media lately there is a theme that abounds. People are becoming more aware that there is something to be said about being happy with yourself as you are, and realizing that you are beautiful. No matter what you look like - overweight, underweight, skin concerns or none at all. If your hair is perfect or not-so-much, even if your teeth are straight or not. This is a good thing. Yes - a truly wonderful thing!
When I was young, I was fit, healthy, and while not model-beautiful, felt pretty and was confident. I loved myself. I'm not saying I was in love with myself, like in a self-absorbed way, but that I loved who I was in a good way. I didn't care what others thought about me, how they talked about me, or if I fit the mold of what they expected. I knew who I wanted to be, who I was in Christ, and was true to myself in every aspect of my life.
As the years passed by, life threw me one curve ball after another, and somehow I let it slowly erode that self-love and confidence. It was replaced by a thought process that undermined what I had spent my younger years establishing. Somehow my viewpoint changed from how God saw me to how the world saw me. And the world is a cruel place.
Here I am, in my late 40s, and I no longer fit the cookie-cutter mold of the woman who is fit, well-coiffed, and stylishly dressed. I don't know how to dress stylishly for my age and body type, nor do I have the budget for it. I am allergic to make-up, so I choose not to wear it unless it's a very special occasion. I never did get braces, so my teeth are crooked, and although I do brush and floss daily, they are not pearly white. As a matter of fact, I recall the day a child in our church asked me why my teeth were not as white as his mommy's. When I asked him what color they were, he said "more like ecru". Seriously - true story. A child calling your teeth ecru isn't something you'd ever want to make up. Ha! I had to laugh - and still do! I don't color my hair as often as I probably should, and don't really seem to dwell on the grey that is in abundance (until I see it in a picture).
I struggle sometimes with my physical self-image. And I shouldn't. I know I shouldn't. But somehow I do. I allow the inundation of the media's image of a skinny woman who looks like a model to dictate how I should look. I fall into the trap that says my extra weight and physical limitations keep me from being a useful, valuable, beautiful woman. In doing this, I betray myself in my thoughts. And even more, that negative thought process is my own betrayal toward God.
You see, if I were true to God, I wouldn't allow any of this to permeate my brain. I'd daily rebuke the assault on my thought process, and value how my heavenly Father sees me. And He sees me as His beautiful creation. He doesn't need me to adorn myself outwardly - dress in the latest fashion, wear makeup, have white or straight teeth, or even grey-free hair. He needs me to adorn myself inwardly.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. (ESV)
Don't misinterpret these verses. There is nothing wrong with wearing the latest fashion, being perfectly coiffed, and looking outwardly adorned. This is all well and fine. When it becomes our primary focus and hinders our rightful self-image, then it becomes wrong. After my body and health betrayed me I realized my life was more than outward beauty. I realized I needed to shuck the world's image of me, like you shuck the husk off an ear of corn to see the golden beauty that lies underneath.
I realized that my self-image was contagious. To my husband, to my son and daughter, to my extended family, and even to my close friends. Then, as I spoke to others, I realized the viewpoint of myself in God's eyes was the viewpoint they, too, needed in their lives. In their hearts. In their minds. I realized the change needed was a change in the way I, as a woman, expressed my view of not only myself, but also of them. Instead of focusing on the outward appearance, I shared the truth of the need to focus on the inward love. The love that only Christ can give, and the love that we can truly have for ourselves. And you know what? I let them know I'm beautiful. And they realized they are beautiful too!
Ladies - you are beautiful. You are beautiful because God made you. You are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made! God doesn't make junk, and he doesn't make ugly. He makes unique, beautiful, and wonderful.
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.
When you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you become a princess. You become a princess because your Father is the King of Kings! (I don't know who originally said that, but I say it all the time. Because it's true.) And we all know that the most important thing about a princess is not that she is pretty on the outside. The most important thing about a princess is that she is beautiful on the inside.
So while you look at yourself in the mirror, know that no matter what you see, you are beautiful. You are who God made, and you are beautiful. You are unique, and you are beautiful. Lady - you are just plain, ol', flat-out, beautiful!
Go here to hear a wonderful song by Colbie Caillat that I absolutely LOVE about this same thing.
No go on out there and let your beauty shine!