Confession: I am not overly excited to write this blog post. But God isn’t leaving me alone about it (surprised?) so I suppose it is time to put on my big girl panties and git-er-done.
I have been marinating on this post topic for a good 13ish days now– probably longer if you count the days before I actually made it a “draft” on my blog notes. It’s an important topic, but pretty touchy for most folks. Also, it tends to be ridiculously complicated. I have a sneaky feeling that this topic is going to require at least three separate posts. Ok, enough of the self pep talk. It’s go time. Let’s talk about beauty.
When I say beauty, I am not talking about the Rocky Mountains or a tropical beach. Yes, those are God’s wonderful and beautiful creations, but this post (and subsequent ones) are specifically about a different type of beautiful creation. YOU. Yeah, you. Right there. Staring at the computer screen. Raising your eyebrows. Seriously.
As far as I am concerned, we have a distorted perception of what it means to be “beautiful” in this country. Today, we are going to cover some of those misconceptions and the complexity of this subject. Then hopefully (prayerfully?) we can discuss some of the “truths” associated with beholding beauty in future posts (especially from God’s point of view.)
In the last month, I have had several different girls blatantly tell me that they didn’t believe they were pretty. “I am not beautiful,” said one. “I am uncomfortable in my own body,” said another. “If only I could lose ____ pounds, then maybe I would look good.” When I heard this, I didn’t know if I should burst into tears or shake them until their teeth rattled and say “WOMAN, ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!” What has happened that typical, HEALTHY, normal and beautiful women now consider themselves not to be beautiful? It simply breaks my heart.
Before I go any further, let me clarify something. I think there is a big, huge, twisted wad of tangled mess that involves beauty, health, vanity and insecurity. (See, I told you this was complicated!) I am not gonna to lie– I still struggle with this kind of stuff. Generally speaking, I would like to say I am pretty. Not in a vain way, but in a normal way. I really like my nose, my eyes, my toes and my hair. But I am still insecure about some things, like my hips, although they are “growing” on me (in a good way.)
There is something you need to know about me. My self perception varies with time and mood. Yes, some days I get out of bed, look in the mirror and literally think “Lord Almighty… You are gonna have to help me with this today.” Other days, I feel gorgeous–and will straight up verbalize the statement “I feel pretty!” Do you do that? You should. Because you ARE pretty. Say it as a thank you to God. It isn’t vain to acknowledge that He made you beautiful… you can believe and embrace your beauty with a humble and grateful heart without sounding like a vain little heifer–I promise!
For the most part, my working out and eating right is a quest to be HEALTHY. Not to be more “beautiful” by small(er) pant sizes or lower numbers on the scale. There was a time about three years and 50lbs ago that I was anything but healthy. I was living in denial. I didn’t feel beautiful primarily because I wasn’t healthy. I was a glutton. And I paid for it. But even now, I hear comments from folks who ARE healthy and naturally beautiful, yet act like they are a sister to the Cyclops– scary and ugly. That is simply untrue!!
There are a lot of different ways that people measure “beauty.” Some interchange it directly with health, which I think can be dangerous. Apparently somebody started a rumor that uber-skinny is the best place to be beautiful and healthy (if you ever find the person that said that 6′ 1″ and 103 lbs is pretty, please send them my direction… a shanking is in order.)
It terrifies and saddens me to see the girls who have such a distorted view of their body that they take “health” and what they deem as beauty so far to the other end of the spectrum that they develop an eating disorder that could literally kill them. They look so fragile, like if they sneeze they will crumble. What has happened that so many believe that skinny is the only way to be beautiful?? And we all know that it isn’t external factors that makes us beautiful… but more on that tomorrow.
I like my curves. I really do. I believe I am beautiful, right now, today, sitting in my chair in a t-shirt, messy ponytail and no make-up. Yes, I would require grooming before a job interview, date night, or hypothetical photo shoot. That said, I still want to be a little healthier– maybe even to the point where I can legitimately run without wanting to take a nap (or throw up) afterwards. (Sidenote: I remember the point in my life when I literally couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. I give God the glory for the transformation, bringing me to a healthier self!) But even through all that– I never convinced myself I was “ugly.” None of us are “ugly.” It is perception. And we are children of God. Pretty little children!
When I was in the process of deciding my “healthy weight,” I once referenced the Body Mass Index Score based on my height… Well, after I got done laughing hysterically, I concluded that I was either going to have to grow six inches or aim for a more attainable weight that I personally would be comfortable in. Don’t get me wrong– if you are a gal (or guy) that falls within your “healthy” BMI, that’s AWESOME. But I want to reassure those who fall on “my” side of things that honey, you are STILL beautiful– no matter what that number says.
Please folks… Hear me when I say it… I am begging you… KNOW that YOU are beautiful. Note that I didn’t say perfect. Pretty sure Jesus was the only perfect person that ever walked the earth. And many wouldn’t say that his beaten, bloody and broken body hanging on that cross as He took His last breath was his most “beautiful” moment. But it was– it was the most beautiful picture of love we will ever see. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… Behold your beauty, my friend… God made you beautiful!
PS– Stay tuned for tomorrow’s continuation of this topic when we discuss more about beholding ourselves– and others. Buckle up… We are gonna go deep.
“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” –Psalm 45:11