Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beautiful

 

    A girl gets up in the morning.  She rubs the sleep from her eyes and heads for the bathroom.  One of the first things in her morning routine: the scale.  She stands on it, watching as the numbers sort themselves.  A result is reached.  She grimaces and feels herself flush red even in the privacy of this little room.  After weeks of eating only salad and jogging for an hour, she is nowhere near the ideal weight.  In fact, she feels farther away than ever.  She tries.  She doesn’t want to be this way.  As she looks down at her own body she starts to cry.



     Another girl steps out of the shower and dons a bathrobe.  Her hair is rolled up in a towel and her face is clean.  She wipes the fog off the mirror and stares at her own face.  She looks away with pursed lips and reaches for her makeup.  After twenty minutes she steps back and looks at herself again.  She tries to smile, but isn’t fooled.  She knows what is under the layers.  She knows what she really looks like.  And she is sure that if others saw they would hate her as much as she hates herself.

     One girl thinks she is too short.  Another thinks she is too tall. 

     Too bony.  Too filled out.  Eyes too small.  Nose too large.  Eyebrows too full.  Shoulders too broad.  Lips too skinny.  Plump cheeks.  Crooked teeth.  Pimply face.  Wide hips.  Frizzy hair. 

     Just. Not. Beautiful.


     I was reading just the other day that 77% of girls think that they are ugly and 50% of girls think they are fat.  I’m not sure how accurate this is, but I can attest to a lot of truth behind it JUST from being around a lot of girls myself. 
     I’m not going to talk about inner beauty in this post.  You’ve all heard about that before.  Hundreds of times, right?
     Not that inner beauty isn’t extremely important, IT IS… but I know that, no matter how many times you are told that the outside doesn’t matter, every girl wants to be beautiful.

     We live in a society that is ALL about appearance.  Many people make their living off of appearances whether it is designing the fashions, marketing the fashions, or modeling the fashions.  There is a cookie-cutter image of the perfect girl.  Her hair and eye color may change, but the image stays the same.  A certain kind of look equals beautiful.
     And we try so hard to fit into that look.  We try to lose weight.  We try to buy the appropriate clothes.  We clump on the makeup and fill our hair with products.  We do everything our society demands until we look less like the women we started off as and more like clowns running around in a circus.
     And still there is always someone skinnier.  Always someone prettier.  Always someone more fashionable and desirable.  And we sink lower.  Some grin and bear it.  Others spend time after every meal leaning over a toilet.  Some give up; hate themselves and hurt themselves.
     All because of a model on a magazine cover that every-girl knows she cannot be.  Even if she looks drop-dead gorgeous in the clothes and makeup, she knows who she is alone in her room, without the coverings and the mask.

     We have forgotten what beauty is.


     When God made Eve, He didn’t list out her measurements, hair color, or skin tone.  All He said is that He made her and the man, Adam, in His own image.  He set her apart from all of creation and called her “very good”.
     He didn’t mess up when He created His first two people.  And God doesn’t change.  He knits every single person together when they are still in the womb, making them wonderful. 

     So what has changed?

     Well, people are sinful.  Because we are sinful, we have a flawed perception.  Instead of seeing with God’s eyes, we see with the vision of selfish, insecure, critical people.  Even as Christians, we still have the “old man” dwelling in us.  We are still sinners.  What is incredible about the gift of salvation through Christ is that it frees us from the power of sin.  Christianity is also a learning process.  It is like any relationship; you learn more and more as you go along. 

     One thing that changes as you draw closer to Christ is your perception.  If you truly believe that you are Christ’s child, His creation, then you should have no doubt in your mind of the beauty with which you were made and now dwell in.  To put it plainly, if you don’t think you are beautiful and exactly the way God intended you to be, then you believe that God is capable of making junk. 
     It is man who has determined what is too fat or too thin; what is ugly and beautiful.  Man is known for making mistakes.  God is not.

     What is so beautiful about God’s creation is that no two things are alike.  No two snowflakes, no two trees, no two people.  When we try to fit women into a specific model, we stifle the beauty God has created.  Wanting every woman to fit into a size two is ridiculous, if you think about it.  Some women are too petite to ever fit anything above a size zero and others are too tall or broad and wouldn’t be able to fit into a size that small even as a skeletal system.  Also, when we put too much worth on looking a certain way, we create an idol and begin to worship the creature rather than the Creator.  Ladies, this mindset is so dangerous, physically and spiritually.
     Know that I think it is wonderful to be healthy and to dress nicely, but that we cannot be obsessive about this without becoming spiritually unhealthy.  Notice I said “healthy” and “dress nicely”; knowing you don’t have to have a specific size or style to be what God made you to be.

      Truth be told, not many people see it this way.  There may be people who don’t think you are beautiful.  But it has to start somewhere.  Why not with us?
      You will be astonished how your perspective will change.  There will still be times when you struggle to see it.  There will be days when it is hard to view yourself or others the way God does.  It really takes effort to overcome a lifetime of seeing things a certain way. 

     The next time you see someone that wouldn’t be deemed attractive in our society, remind yourself, “God created them.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  He makes beauty.”
     The next time you see yourself through that flawed perspective, look back at the mirror or scale or picture or WHATEVER and say, “God created me.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  He makes beauty.”

     Because He does, indeed, make beauty.  And if you are His design, then your beauty is beyond comparison.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this!

Patrizia said...

Good stuff! So, so very, very true!

Hannah Elise said...

I *love*! Thank you so much for posting this. I always need encouragement like this. And I agree, perceptions can change dramatically! Girls I used to think weren't pretty at all have become gorgeous to me. I don't know if my perception has changed more into God would want, or if "my knowing [them] better improved my opinion of [them]" (Pride & Prejudice, 1995).

Fred said...

Excellent post! As someone who battled an eating disorder for years before coming to Christ, I know how important working at accepting yourself is. You put it so much better than I ever could!

Natasha Atkerson said...

Wonderful post, Rachel! I do have to admit that this IS something I struggle with (I'm pretty sure we all do, not just 70%). I DO know that God loves me and I'm beautiful in His eyes, but some days I don't feel pretty. But it's those days we need to take the time and spend some of our day in God's word-this always helps me! Instead of focusing on that horrible hair day, I read my Bible, ask God for a perspective change and move on. There's also a great song called "Mirror" by Barlowgirl about this, ladies reading this comment, you should check it out!
Natasha
A Modest Fashion Blog:
www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com

Anna Cole said...

Thank you Rachel. I really needed to hear this today, and what you said was absolutely perfect. :)

Josie said...

I needed this today. Thanks, Rachel!

Sharon said...

That was soo good Rachel!! I have struggled with this a LOT and it is just so refreshing to hear such a good perspective on it. Thank-you!!!

Rebecca Ann said...

Yes Rachel I struggle as well with the same thing! Praise the Lord we are beautiful in his eyes because we are His beloved.

In Christ,
Rebecca