I’m going to be really honest with you: sometimes being a woman is really hard. In our culture today, we are presented with infinite images of all-too-perfect models. But, in reality, those models aren’t perfect at all. Their makeup is airbrushed, their skin is spray-tanned and their extra weight–which is really just beautiful, womanly curves–is removed with the click of a mouse in Photoshop.
I think it’s safe to say that every woman has at least one self-image issue she struggles with. I know I do. In fact, ever since middle school, I have dreamt of having perfect skin–you know, tan, flawless and smooth. In reality, however, I was born with very fair skin and freckles, and my complexion is far from smooth and perfect.
A few years back, before I got married and was still living with my parents, this struggle came to an ugly head for me. I was really struggling to accept the way God made me because of my skin. One day, after I was done getting ready for work, my mom stopped me on my way out the door. She noticed from my body language that I was upset, so she asked me what was wrong.
We sat down, and I explained to her how completely hideous I felt. In return, she told me not only that I was beautiful and that my imperfections were not so bad as they seemed, but also that I was sinning. You see, for the few days leading up to that moment, I had been walking around with an ugly, self-consumed heart. I had placed outer beauty at the top of my priority list, and when I didn’t achieve it, my heart got even more ugly.
I have since realized that, in times like I just described, the best thing we can do is to first and foremost repent of our self-centeredness. Second, we need to thank God for every good and perfect gift He has given us. For me, this meant making a list of the following: my salvation, my family, my health, my church, my dog, my job, my car, my ability to run and be active, and…my imperfections. And third, I needed to get into the Word and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me about how beautiful I really am and what really matters.
To any girl struggling with her self image today (maybe it’s your weight, your skin, your hair, etc.), I pray that you will be blessed by these words that follow…
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. ~1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ~ Proverbs 31:30 ESV
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ~ Psalm 139:14 ESV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. ~ Romans 8:6 ESV