Before I accepted Jesus into my life, I was the least confident person. Growing up, (especially in the middle school years which I’m pretty sure most of us blur from our memories) I never felt “pretty”--I was skinny in a boyish way, I had brown hair, glasses, and my features were as plain as they come. Because the world (especially the world at thirteen) placed so much pressure and value on being “pretty’, I thought that since I wasn’t, there was no worth to be found in me. I became obsessed with being beautiful--at the time, it was the most important thing to achieve. The more I strived, the more I failed, and the more I failed, the more unhappy I became.
That’s where Jesus came to the rescue. I had grown up going to church mostly on holidays--I had thought of myself as a “Christian” but I was never really in relationship with Jesus. I never prayed, I didn’t even own a bible. It wasn’t until, on a whim, I decided to go to YoungLife bible study, that giving my life to Jesus began to make sense. The topic that night happened to be beauty, and all of the wonderful things that come with it: comparison, insecurities, and the pressure society puts on us girls to be the image of perfection. Over a warm fireplace, we all shared our hearts about how the pressure to be skinny, to be tan, to have long hair, all weighed so heavily on all of us. Then my leader, who I’m so thankful for, spoke on what it means to have worth and beauty in the eyes of Christ; that we were created in God’s perfect image, and that we have a blood-bought right to believe that fact. That Jesus died for us because he knew our worth, even when we didn’t.
Something that night clicked with me: why was I putting my own self worth in the hands of the world when Jesus died in the most painful way possible because he knew I was worth it? Why do I pay more attention to Instagram comments from people, than to bible verses like Song of Solomon 4:7 which says, “you are altogether beautiful” ? Why did I listen to boys who called me ugly, instead of listening to the creator of the universe who says that I am made perfectly in His image? Suddenly this thing, this monster on my back that I had been in bondage to my whole life seemed like a waste of time. I felt free.
The second I filled my life with Jesus, life was new. There was a supernatural change in the way that I viewed life, others, and myself. I was no longer a slave to this fear of being “ugly”--I viewed myself as a daughter of the one true king, who He set apart and created carefully. How truly incredible it is that the same God that decided the ocean should be blue, leaves should be orange in the fall, and snow should be perfectly white--looked at you and decided what color your eyes should be, or whether or not He should give you freckles. My point is this, sisters--we are created with so much intention.
Like every other awkward young duckling, there came a day when I grew into my looks and figured out how to dress myself, do my makeup, and just overall feel presentable. The ironic thing is, by the time I gained what I used to long for, I had built up such a strong relationship with God that I didn’t care all that much. I was so affirmed by His word and dedicated to doing His work, that I didn’t have time for worldly standards. I’ve noticed in my walk that when you truly follow Christ, everything else becomes background noise.
All of my wonderful sisters in Christ, read this part carefully: unfortunately, we live in a world that literally makes money off of making us feel inferior. The makeup and plastic surgery industries would be bankrupt without making young people feel like they somehow need “fixing.” Our society finds value in making us feel worthless. Our culture encourages us to cover up the same things that make us special. Because of this, as girls we tend to view beauty as something we need to work for instead of something we were granted with from birth. Instead of owning what we’re born with, we watch countless makeup tutorials, trying to learn how to contour and highlight (I’m so guilty of this!). We spend hours at the gym trying to be stick-thin, when maybe, we weren’t built that way in the first place. Don’t get me wrong--spending time on your appearance and taking pride in the way you look has a place. However, it becomes a problem when you begin to believe, like I did, that looks are the only thing that will give you purpose. Appearances are such a worldly and unachievable thing, my dears. Looking for your value in the world will never, ever satisfy you--there will always be somebody skinnier, tanner, with longer hair, with more toned abs. Do not let this change how you view yourself. Do not buy into who the world says you are; after all, we may live in the world, but we are not of it. Instead, turn to the word of God. He doesn’t make mistakes.
Here are some verses I’ve picked in case you find yourself questioning your worth (we all do it!)
“ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14
“People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.” -Proverbs 3:17-18
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” -Proverbs 31:30
“Beauty should not come from outward adornment of elaborate braids and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be of that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” -1 Peter 3:3-4
“Before you were born, I set you apart.” -Jeremiah 1:6
I hope this served as encouragement to anyone who struggles the same way that I did! You are so loved!