We have all heard the campaigns for women young and old telling them that they shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or wear a ton of make-up or lose weight to “feel good” about themselves. I am all for encouraging women to be comfortable in their own skin and embracing the beauty that God gave them. However, there is just something about this view that is missing the mark. Even though we are bombarded with these messages, women are still left feeling like they are never quite there. The whole, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” spiel sounds great, and deep down we want to believe it, yet it’s still not enough for us women to feel content with our image.
I won’t really get into how the fact that culture has set an imperfect standard skews women and men’s view of beauty, because that would take too long, but be aware this does play a role in it.
I believe it goes deeper than that though. In fact, I believe we are afraid to go deep, to get to what’s really keeping us from seeing ourselves as beautiful. In order to explain fully why I don’t like those phrases, we need to understand WHY we feel like we aren’t beautiful just the way we are and WHY we believe that beauty is more about looks than what’s inside. That’s the reason these phrases even exist because somewhere along the way (way back to when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit) we stopped believing we were beautiful.
So here it is: the fact simply is, we are trying to measure ourselves against the world’s standard. Did you hear that, THE WORLD’S STANDARD, not God’s.
If we say we are Christians, then our approval cannot be found in anyone or anything of this world because we have been told to be set apart. Yet, we have found ourselves, ladies, measuring our beauty against others.
So when it comes down to it our self-image and esteem issues are rooted in the fact that we choose to measure our beauty by the world’s standards and not to see who we are in God’s eyes.
Now that we have that figured out we need to change our way of thinking because we have become wired to think the way the world does, and evaluate ourselves the way the world does.
When we look to the world to see what is beautiful all it really ends up doing is putting us down because we feel like we will never be good enough. For example, we may see ourselves as average or even feel pretty good about our appearance, but we say, “I will never be as stunning as so-and-so.” Comparison is indeed the thief of joy.
But when we look to God and what he sees as beautiful, we are left speechless and amazed by his grace. When he looks at us he sees us without blemish, his wonderful and beautiful creations. He sees us in our worst state and says we are beautiful because we are His. When we are confronted with how God sees us something inside changes and causes a transformation in our hearts.
When we put all our time and attention into the world we will begin to look like it—a fallen and broken place, but when we shift our focus to God, we will begin to reflect his image—our perfect, gracious, loving, tenderhearted, and beautiful Creator.
Now, I hope to have helped you understand why, despite the fact that people tell us that beauty is more than skin deep, we still feel unbeautiful (yes, I just made up a word), and how changing our perspective is the first step to really seeing ourselves as beautiful. In Part 2 I will share why I think the phrases “You’re Beautiful Just the Way You Are” and “Beauty is More Than Skin Deep” are hurting us more than helping us.
Want to read Part 2? Click here > Part 2