True Beauty (Part I)
We were beautifully and wonderfully made… so why are we caught up in worrying that we’re ugly? We are so naturally compelled to compare ourselves to others.
Throughout high school, I always compared myself to my favorite singers and guitar players. I would cut my hair like them, buy clothes that looked like their style- but I never even considered why. I just knew that I loved their style, and I suppose I wanted to be like them. I was always disappointed when I never got “the look” that I was going for. When I did get it right, my friends and family would notice and pick at me for “copying” my role model. I denied it every time. It’s not so much that I was one to crave all of the trends, but I still created ideals for myself based on my interests.
Role models are great, but at what point is this fascination unhealthy? I was never one to have self-esteem issues; I was always known as one to walk my own path… but I still couldn’t help but automatically buy in to the style of my favorite musicians. I followed these trends because I naturally wanted the success, beauty, charisma, and likability of the people who possessed them. I, just as every teen girl, desperately wanted to look “attractive”… which means having a pretty face, a skinny body, stylish hair and tan skin.
Seriously, go and google "beauty". You will find pictures of models and makeup. You see lots of pretty faces, plump lips, glowing skin, bright eyes, perfect complexion, and the list goes on. We get the impression over time and exposure to culture that being beautiful means having all these ideals in our appearance. I bought into these expectations, too... and I felt like if I wanted to be beautiful, I needed to have these characteristics.
No matter how hard I tried, I was never going to be all of those things. I was never going to have all the “beauty” that my role models had. Little did I actually consider that if I really looked for a role model that embodied true beauty, love, selflessness and perfection- I should look to God.
“Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes,but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.” -1 Peter 3:3-4
At some point I made this realization: that true beauty wasn’t found in reflecting the appearance of my favorite singer. It was in my actions, my humor, my personality and my heart. It was in my character and my true personality. I figured out that if I truly reflected the characteristics that God gave me, then I would finally reflect the beauty that I wanted: the beauty that God intended for me to have.
As I have grown older, I still look to modern-day role models. The difference is this: I look to them for ideas, not ideals. I realize that I am truly beautiful the way that God made me. If I want to radiate true beauty, I should focus less on getting every piece of hair in the right place, and focus more on making people laugh. I should focus more on the things that make me happy. I should focus more on being myself.
I guess the prayer that I’m going to offer everyone is this:
I pray that you see yourself as God sees you. I pray that you realize that you are truly beautiful when you reflect God’s love. I pray for all of you, wherever you are in your journey of self-acceptance and self-esteem, that you might realize that you are so incredibly beautiful. You have always been beautiful, and you always will be... because God only makes beautiful things. He doesn’t make junk, and you are no exception. So be yourself. Be the "you" that you are... because there could never be a more beautiful you.