Someone was watching me.
I pulled up to a red light in my car. My hair was pulled back in a pony tail and I had slapped on some mascara before running out the door that day. Still, sitting there at the light I felt a stare boring into my soul. I glanced to my right, out the passenger window. There he was, in his shiny silver car, wife beater, tattoos and cigarette. He did the “Hey, how you doing?” head nod and wink. I prayed for a green light, and that the two cars in front of me hadn’t inconveniently misplaced their gas pedal. As much as I wanted to get out of there, I still blushed and smiled.
“Dream on, buddy.”
Green light, and I was gone. As I drove home, anxiously scanning my mirrors to make sure Casanova wasn’t going to make another move, I thought:
These years of healing have not only changed my view about God. They’ve not only changed my view about sex. They’ve not only freed me from porn, or helped me love people.
They’ve changed my perspective on beauty.
As a single 26 year old woman, it would be easy to question whether or not I am attractive. It would be easy to doubt my beauty based solely on the fact that I’m apparently not attractive enough to gain the attention of men. That would be a lie though, and those doubts would stem from flawed thinking- thinking that God has since healed.
I think porn addicts go through three stages of beauty in their addiction, maybe four, but for right now I’ll say three.
Stage 1: The Ugly Duckling.
It doesn’t just have to be porn. Victoria Secret and Cosmo & Co can do it too. They whittle down your self-worth until there’s nothing le– wait… what self-worth? So, since you can never be the women in the magazine. Since you can never be the girl in the video. Since you can never be the supermodel. Since you can never be whoever it is, who cares! Why even try? You develop a sense of beauty and a personality that screams, “Leave me alone, I might be crazy.”
You might call it casual or ‘natural’ (I did that one) but what your heart is really saying is, “I’m ugly but I know if I say that, you’re going to freak out, but it’s true.” You want to be attractive but you don’t want to be attractive because you are afraid of people getting close to you. You want to be attractive but you are afraid to try because failure hurts worse than not trying at all, right? We women can make life so complicated!
Stage 2: The Sex Kitten
You have a “come to Jesus moment” as they say in the South. You suddenly get it that you are, indeed, beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you decide to start acting like the woman God created you to be– beautiful, attractive, smart, funny, seductive…. wait. Here’s the problem: your time in porn has schooled you in False Beauty 101.
You think beauty and sex are the same. But, they’re not. You haven’t quite grasped that yet. You play with the tight clothes and the hooker makeup, not because you are trying to look like one but because you honest-to-goodness don’t know how this works. Ever seen someone try too hard? Yeah, that’s what you are doing.
Stage 3: The Diamond in the Rough
Then, at some point, it clicks. Beauty isn’t about the mascara you do or don’t wear. It is really, and truly, about your heart and having that joy and confidence that comes with Christ. That’s your most important fashion accessory. Yes, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, but more importantly, you are an ambassador for the grace of God and the love of Christ.
You know that our God appreciates beauty and uniqueness and you come to understand that you, and all your quirks, were handcrafted by God. You start to rest in that, to revel in that, to own that. It radiates out of your life; it draws people in; it fills your heart with joy. You might wear the makeup; you might not. You might take an hour doing your hair, or a ponytail may be your do du jour, but it doesn’t matter. You find out you are most beautiful when you just take care of being who you are called to be, not how you feel you should look.
People notice that kind of beauty. Why?