I have believed I was many things throughout my life– smart, empathetic, talented, qualified to lead, observant, the list goes on.
“Beautiful” was never on that list.
I think there are some times when our school of faith hones in on one particular topic. Lately, God has been hammering on the idea of beauty in my life. He’s been working on it for a while. I forgot to specify that ‘stubborn’ should be listed among the character traits I know I possess. I can be a little resistant to His working sometimes (OK, maybe more than sometimes).
If I had to look back and pinpoint a specific first day of class for this lesson, it would be a few months back. Someone looked at me and said, “You are beautiful.” My immediate mental response was, “Oh great. Not another one. What do you really want, liar?” But I managed a cordial verbal response of “Thank you.” Well-mannered is also on that list.
I mentioned that whole mental battle to a friend and his response was, “Why does there have to be a reason? Don’t you believe you’re beautiful?”
Truth-be-told, no, I didn’t. I could never remember a time when I truly believed I was beautiful.
Porn is the anti-thesis of beauty. It is beauty’s arch nemesis. It is the destroyer of beauty. In porn, a woman’s natural beauty is buried underneath piles of makeup, silicone and airbrushed perfection. Her worth is reduced to whatever she can give a man. Beauty is equal to sexuality. Since I have never had sex, the porn mindset would dictate that I must, in fact, not be beautiful. That’s how it works.
The problem is that mindset can bleed over and stain our minds even after the porn is gone. We either cope with it by saying we could never be beautiful (because, after all, we weren’t good enough before) or that we are not allowed to be beautiful (because, beauty is the same as sex).
I struggled with this alot, especially since I was coming out of porn at the exact time I was supposed to be fetching me a man. Those are two very conflicting objectives if pursued at the exact same time. I was trying to wrap my mind around the difference between being sexy and attractive and how to be beautiful without allowing men to lust after me.
I thought, all Christians must be ugly.
Yeah, I’m not sure where that came from either.
So, yes, it has been a process, but the defining moment in that process for me was coming to the realization that I actually am not beautiful.
It’s one of the many paradoxes of our faith. We, as sinful human beings, have no beauty of our own.
But, we are beautiful. We are redeemed daughters of the King, wrapped in His love, clothed in His Grace, and endowed with the beauty of His holiness.
Coming to the point that I believe that in the core of who I am can be a long journey. It can take a while to silence all of the little lies we tell ourselves: “No man will ever love me.” “I will never be good enough.” “I’m ugly.” “My butt’s too big.” “My chest isn’t big enough.” The list goes on, and the devil loves when we obsess over that. He loves when our security and confidence is shaken.
This is part of the journey of healing, and it probably fits in with the healing mind, but it is something that God has really been pounding home for me lately. I spent years looking for love in all the wrong places, and if I’ve looked for love in the wrong places, odds are I’ve been looking for beauty in the wrong places too, and so have you.
Take a moment to think about who you are. Before the porn, before the pain, before the abuse, before the lust. Way back when your strands of DNA were first being tied together, God was there, and He had a hand in making you who you are. That means you are His creation– fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). And now, on top of that, you are His child.
You are beautiful in Him.
Believe that. It is the Truth, and it is freeing.