Theatre gal now working in full-time ministry. Here to encourage you as you figure out a life lived pursuing Jesus.
Hey, girl. Let’s chat.
I want to dig deep into something that I believe every single one of us wrestles with pretty much daily—self-image. We, as women, are constantly having standards of beauty thrown at us from all directions. Movies. Instagram. Magazine covers.
Men go through this as well, but I’m not a dude so I can’t speak into that experience. I am, however, incredibly familiar with feeling like I don’t measure up to other women. Throughout the day, various insecurities make themselves known in my mind. I’m not fit enough. I have a pimple. My hair isn’t styled right. My eyebrows aren’t the right shape.
If you ask any woman in your life if she would change something about her physical appearance, she’ll most likely say yes. If she was able to change it and you asked her again, guess what? She’d name something else she would want to change. We are constantly unsatisfied.
Can I tell you why that is? Beauty is a constantly moving target.
Remember the archery competition scene in the cartoon Robin Hood when the bird henchman is hiding underneath the target? When the sheriff makes his shot, the bird jumps in the air so he can make a bullseye. Physical beauty standards are like that. You might hit the mark a few times, but eventually it’s going to move. If you don’t believe me, google “2004 teen choice awards” for some perspective. The side bangs and bootcut jeans speak for themselves.
If you’re feeling insecure right now, first let me say: girl, same. We’ve all been there. You are not alone in thinking you’re too fat, that your hair is gross, that your eyes are dull, whatever it may be. I guarantee that your friends, your mom, me, we’ve all had those same ugly thoughts.
Second, the issue isn’t with your body. It’s something much deeper. The lie you believe when you buy into those insecurities is that if you change yourself, people will love you. It’s one of the most basic human desires we have. We want to feel cherished by those around us and with the rise of social media, we have the added pressure of being admired by people we hardly even know.
We feed our envy by following girls that we’ll never look like and create laundry lists on how we could be their clone. We use the same filters, buy the same outfits, follow the same skincare routine. But at the end of the day, we fall asleep in the same skin we woke up in. What we forget is that the women we most admire are often sitting in just as much insecurity as we are.
I think God hates it when we call His workmanship ugly.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
You are His creation, intentionally crafted. No part of your figure was designed on accident. He chose that hair color, the pattern of freckles across your nose, the shape of your chin, all of it.
Babe, God didn’t create your body to be poked, prodded, and stared at. He designed it to be used for His glory. I am all for celebrating one another’s beauty, but we’re crossing into dangerous territory if we start to define that as our purpose. You were created to be a tool, not an ornament.
If you look at the revered women of the Bible, you can start to see a common theme—they were women of faith. They were all imperfect because they were human, but they allowed God’s will to be carried through them. Mary was a teenager who faced the scorn of society so she could birth the Messiah. Rahab put her trust in two men of God so that she and her family would be spared from destruction. Esther risked her life to protect the lives of the Jewish people in Susa.
They were beautiful because they were His creation. They are remembered because of their obedience. God gave them opportunities to be partners in His work and they stepped up to the plate. I believe He is still doing this with His children. His will is still at work and He wants us to be partners in it. Standards of beauty are a tool the enemy uses against us to participate in that.
You will be hindered in your partnership with God if you’re concerned with how attractive your obedience will be. Self-image isn’t just about the clothes we wear or the structure of our face. It’s the job we take, the friends we hang out with, the type of car we drive. Obedience to God sometimes means a smaller paycheck. It looks like deleting your social media or giving up those old friendships. More and more, what the world calls unattractive God calls holy.
Which do you think will matter more at the end of your life?
Please hear me on this: you are allowed to delight in intentionally styling yourself, in taking care of your skin and makeup, and exercising to keep your body fit. You’re allowed to take care of yourself and boost your self-confidence. However, the path to getting there can’t look like one filled with self-loathing and jealousy. You will only breed an empty confidence, because, eventually, the target will move.
I want you to ask yourself the question, “What’s one thing I would change about myself physically?” Write down your answer.
I want you to pray over that answer. Whether it’s something in your control or not, I want you to bring it before God and ask Him to change your heart towards it. You’re allowed to desire health and confidence but the road there begins with accepting where you are.
Ask friends to pray for you. Be really honest with people you trust, not so that they can tell you a bunch of compliments, but so they can hold you accountable as a sister in Christ.
Your mental health matters more than being online. If there’s women you need to unfollow because they unintentionally fill your mind with thoughts of inadequacy, unfollow them. If you can’t resist using social media as a measure of your own self-worth, then delete it.
If there are friendships in your life that you need to take a step back from because they’re tearing down your self-confidence, that’s okay. Exercise wisdom in doing so, though. Difficult relationships aren’t always worth abandoning. It takes work and patience to flourish. But if someone is making hurtful comments about your clothes, your breakouts, your weight, then maybe don’t ask them out for coffee.
I’m realizing more and more how terribly we talk about ourselves.
“I hate my thighs.”
“This hair is so annoying.”
When you talk, your brain listens. It pays attention and stores that information. If you wouldn’t let someone say it to someone you love, don’t say it over yourself.
My hope is that on your best days and your worst you would know in the depths of your soul that you are loved, valued, and cherished.