Growing up, I didn’t think I had an ‘ugly’ phase. I was raised in a house that was accepting of whatever I wanted to be. One day I wanted to wear mascara and dresses and the next I was tearing my jeans from climbing trees with my guy friends.
Even in middle school and being bullied almost every day, I never looked at myself and truly thought that I was ugly. I just thought I had to change myself to fit a certain picture. A picture that I did not paint and didn’t even want to be in. In high school, I was accepting of the general look of myself, but I was gaining a lot of weight, and that was the biggest thing that I thought negatively about. I turned to food after a long day of being judged by my classmates.
It was a hard time. But I still had the Lord’s voice whispering in my ear and telling me he loved me every day, despite what I wanted to change about myself. I struggled heavily with anxiety and still do in seasons of difficult times in my life. So coming to college I was a mess. I didn’t know myself as a person, and so I didn’t know how to look at myself in a positive way. I was really shy my freshman year (which is a shock to everyone who knows me).Click To Tweet
I wish writing this blog post was easy, like a research paper or a letter to a friend. But this question has haunted me ever since the idea came about. Granted, it was my idea, but sometimes our best ideas are the ones that terrify us.
So what does beauty mean to me? Do I see myself as beautiful? Do I believe all the compliments that are given to me so often? Do I believe God when he tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made?
I don’t know. Sometimes. Kinda. Reluctantly – yes.
Although I had a great upbringing, I was always told how pretty and smart I was, but I never really took it seriously. I was always so shy, and would brush it off so easily and go back to whatever I was doing. It was nice to receive those comments about my physical appearance, but it didn’t really mean anything to me. I would much rather show people my books or talk to them about movies and things that interested me than stand in front of a mirror and paint my face with makeup. I always thought that there was more to me than just my beauty, that it didn’t matter because I was good at these things. Essentially, that is where I put my worth, into actions rather than physical appearance.
But those questions, as simple as they seem to people who have it all together, still haunt me, and I am sure they haunt you too. They are hard questions, especially for women. Beauty is such a complex term, it can mean so many different things. The beauty of the heart, beauty of the things we make (like music and movies), and beauty in creation. All of these things accomplishing one goal: glorifying the Lord (when used in the right way).
So, to -finally- get to the point, beauty means having a pure heart and honorable intentions for our actions. It means being confident and happy in the body that God has gifted us, and treating it with love and respect. Because although I might not be happy with what I see in the mirror, there is a heavenly father who looks down on me and says This is my daughter, in whom I am well pleased!” and that alone makes me feel more beautiful than any boy, friend, or family member could ever say.
Beauty is being confident in the Lord and the plans and purposes he has for our life because when we are living in his goodness and purposes for our lives, that is when our beauty shines the most.
Embody the Undefined. For the One.