Lets Talk Beauty
I hear the screams of the world- try this product for flawless skin! Start using wrinkle cream in your 20s to prevent aging! Do 50 squats while you brush your hair- multitasking made easy! Get beautiful in five minutes by doing just this…
My experience with image is woven deeply into the core of my deepest desires today. It’s the reason I so badly want to see each and every woman live confidently in the skin she was given.
My first memory of not-enoughness began on the playground. I think I was six years old. I remember wanting to play with a group of girls and experiencing rejection because of a blemish on my skin. Most likely a scratch or bruise from playing with my brothers, but this, this “flaw” was the foundation on which insecurity grew.
Our stories look different. Mine looked a lot like a face full of acne, testing every skincare lotion and potion I could get my hands on, lots of tears, and finding my identity in my appearance. I hardly knew more than to hope for a day where my skin would resemble something close to the photoshopped 20-somethings on the covers of Teen Vogue.
I compensated in every way I could- I spent a lot of time at the gym, on the softball field and studying. I loved competitive cheerleading and tumbling. I loved that people came to see that I, in fact, was good enough to deserve first place. I loved that people came to softball games to see a freshman on varsity. I loved seeing A’s at the top of my tests and bringing home report cards to hang on the fridge. I worked hard for attention I received. It was exhausting at times.
This was probably the main reason I couldn’t wait to leave high school. I could leave these identities behind that I had allowed others to make up for myself and I willingly lived up to.
We’ve come a long way, and I look back and see that God has used these challenging parts of my story to launch me into something so unexpected. A degree in fashion merchandising (an interest that began as I watched hours of YouTube tutorials on how to cover blemishes), a heart for seeing women abandon this addiction to perception, a deep desire to see everyone I encounter know where their true identity lies.
Comparison is part of each of our stories. Whatever it may be- knowledge, fashion, beauty, whatever- we’ve found ways to compare ourselves to standards, to others, and expectations placed on us by who knows what.
I think there is this unrealistic belief that there isn’t enough beauty to go around. That we will find an empty vending machine- no beauty left for you. But this isn’t the truth. God said we are made in His image (Genesis 1v27) and that's what makes us beautiful.
I don’t think our outward appearance is what God is talking about here, although I don’t think it should be disregarded. Every part of you was intentionally chosen by a Father that loves you. Each of us, different colors and sizes and ethnicities and backgrounds- God’s image isn’t limited to our outer shells. 1 Peter 3v3 says your beauty should not consist of outward things… instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart. Maybe when we start looking at our own reflection we’ll begin to notice more than just what we see and we’ll catch glimpses of Him when we do so.
So what if we choose to believe that the beauty of others doesn’t threaten our own? What if we believe that beauty doesn’t run out, that just because we see beauty in others doesn’t mean we aren’t just as beautiful. What if when we see beauty in another human we see more evidence of God’s truth walking on this earth?
I’ve spent far too long listening to the world and believing that the way I’m perceived dictates my beauty. This is a daily battle, my friends, and some days I’m so wrapped up in the voices of the world its hard to believe the truth. Leaving high school didn't end the problem, new locations come with new perceptions and new labels- but being conscious of this has helped me recognize when these thinking patterns and start and that's how I'm beginning to put an end to them. So here I am. I’m choosing to believe what He says about me because I know Him and I know where my worth is found, and if I’m honest the lies are getting old.
All this to say, there is beauty woven into your story- and the parts that don’t seem so bright are moments that you can look back on and see that God has used those moments to reveal to you more about Himself. Don’t disregard where you are- it’s written in for a purpose. I hope when we’re all together we’ll see the beauty in one another- how each flower in a bouquet complements the beauty of the next rather than choosing to live out of comparison. I hope we will learn together what it looks like to live believing the truth that we are beautifully made in His image- not in need of maintenance.