I’m about to just lay it out there. Transparent. All the ugly.
The Lord really convicted me, all of a sudden, late one night. And I want to share it with you because I know I’m not the only one who struggles.
Pressure From Culture
It’s hard being a woman. It’s even harder when you live in a culture like ours, where plastic surgery, airbrushed magazine covers and Instagram filters work overtime telling us how we should define beauty.
We have an innate desire to be beautiful. I’m pretty sure of that. And very few of us are probably completely content with our appearance.
I have struggled with physical self-acceptance my whole life. I compare. I want to be beautiful but I don’t look like her. At a very young age, I started soaking up beauty tips and tricks to try to improve my appearance.
Pride. Vanity. We shouldn’t dress it up. That’s what it is. And it can quickly even become an unhealthy obsession. And how to draw the line?
The Bible speaks of beauty and even beauty regimens. So the desire to be beautiful is not, I don’t think, inherently bad, as some would believe.
But for me, it had become an unhealthy obsession. I’ve always been thin, able to eat anything without a second thought. Until my last child was weaned. And the pounds started creeping on until I found myself 25 lbs heavier. For the last year I’ve spent my days yo-yo dieting between Keto and counting calories. With little success.
Hurting My Children
But when the Lord convicted me, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Because I am a really transparent person, I say what I feel. Out loud, all the time, to anyone listening. Which means my children have heard me lament about not being able to lose weight, and “I can’t eat that” or “I guess I’ll just be fat.”
What on earth am I teaching them??? That beauty lies in appearances. Which is the opposite of what the Bible teaches.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
I Lied to Them
And the opposite of what I want to teach my daughters. I have said with my mouth that “inner beauty is to be valued.” But lately, I have said with my actions (and also my mouth) that outer beauty is what gives us our value. (This also goes with our complaints about wrinkles, less than attractive attributes, etc.)
So, I’ll sit down tomorrow with all my girls (and my boys too). I’ll apologize and ask forgiveness for not living out what I say I believe to be true. I’ll praise them for their inner beauty–that which is not fading, but growing ever more radiant. And I’ll vow, and try really hard, to never speak derogatorily again about my outward appearance.
The truth is we come in all shapes and sizes. We don’t need to let expectations define us. We can eat healthy, exercise–all in balance, but ENJOY LIFE (and eat the occasional favorite food), praising God that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, realizing people value us for our inner attributes–and so does our Creator.