I grew up thinking I was ugly.
I really did. I believed it with all my heart.
I thought that my face, in particular, was ugly.
I had acne in 6th grade, and the acne exacerbated my natural reddish skin tone to be even more red, and I thought that I had a ‘red, oily, and therefore ugly face.’ There were other parts of me that I didn't like, as well, but my face was the focal point of 'ugliness.' I was ashamed of my face and I felt that, at all costs, I had to cover it up. So I smeared huge amounts of foundation into my skin, and obsessively added powder on top of that at each hour of the day. I’d escape to the bathroom and use this little ‘oil blotting sheet’ that I bought at the drug store to blot all the oil off my face, and then I’d add more powder. I thought any shine and peeking through of my own skin, was ugly and gross and shameful.
BUT THEN GOD.
God started entering into my broken, messed up conclusions.
Slowly, tenderly, He challenged these deep, visceral conclusions that I had about myself. I won’t go into the details here about how; I certainly will in another blog post. But over a few years, He (in gentle, but yet excruciatingly painful ways) reframed my conclusion about my face. He taught me that I was wrong about what I had believed so strongly was true about my face. I was wrong.
And one of the most helpful ways He illustrated new truths to me was idea:
Every woman carries, IN HER BODY, IN HER FACE, IN THE WAY SHE IS PHYSICALLY MADE...
It’s just the way that she is. It’s a way that femininity specifically reflects the beauty of God. He is beautiful, so He made woman to display His beauty to the world. He didn’t make SOME women to display His beauty. He made ALL to do it.
So whether they BELIEVE they’re beautiful or not, whether they realize it or not, whether they accept it or not, whether it’s been a suffering journey about beauty or not, whether other people believe they’re beautiful or not, whether our messed up culture says they’re beautiful or not,
they carry this weighty image of beauty.
Our culture may say ‘Some are more beautiful, some are better made....but all have INNER BEAUTY...and that makes women beautiful.” I say, “THAT’S BULLCRAP!” I want you to hear me say that REALLY LOUD: "THAT'S BULLCRAP!!!!" (I really want to write the harsher word, but that’d be inappropriate for this blog.) OUR WORLD IS SO MESSED UP- when did they become the authority for us on WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL AND WHAT IS NOT, of all things?!?! I HATE that sentiment, that all women have inner beauty and that makes them ‘beautiful’!!!!!! I hate it because it subtly negates and undermines what is such a bestowed-by-God part of them:
OUTWARD, TANGIBLE, VISCERAL, FELT, PHYSICAL BEAUTY.
And let me say it one more time. Because it's so counter-culture, even counter-Christian-culture, I’m talking about straight-up beauty.
Beauty, physical beauty, is a BIRTHRIGHT given, by God, to every. single. woman. ever. made.
Each woman carries, in her body, the way she's physically put together, this 'birthright of beauty.' A birthright belongs to person just because of their birth- not becuase they earned it or because they exercised enough or dieted or knew how to do their makeup right or had cute enough clothes. They just own it because of who they are. We have beauty because of God. The Maker. The Creator. The Displayer of His beauty.
Some of you won't believe me.
And if you don’t believe me, may I make a suggestion? Beauty has become SO incredibly twisted and just broken in our world. I don't even need to mention the distortions of beauty for you to know that. So you can just know that probably, if you live in this world, beauty has had a twisted and painful role and journey in your life. But if you don't believe me that EVERY WOMAN has been physically given a gift of 'physically beautiful, physically glorious,' something of glory, weightiness of her beauty of the way she's put together in her body and appearance, then may I say that...
...your conclusion shouldn’t be that I’m wrong.
Your conclusion should be that YOUR EYES HAVE BEEN MESSED UP BY OUR CULTURE. You don't have the eyes to see anymore what God's RIGHT and GOOD and PERFECT judgement of beauty is. You have so bought into what our culture says beauty is, that their definition is your only definition.
You need a new definition.
You need Jesus to tell you what physical beauty is and isn't.
I know this because I needed that, too. I didn't believe what I'm writing in this blog post for years. I would have thought that this blog post, if I had read it, was BULLCRAP.
But, and I am not making this up and I am not spiritualizing, Jesus has SET ME FREE in this area of beauty. He moved me from a deep-seated belief that I was ugly, to believing just as deeply that I, along with every woman ever made, carry a very significant and weighty birthright of beauty that can never be taken away. Not because of my striving, or what I do to make myself beautiful.
Me + nothing = beautiful. Period.
**Check out my next blog post "I am Beautiful" Doesn't Mean I Don't Struggle