One of the things I struggle with the most is self-confidence and seeing myself as truly beautiful. Today’s society puts out this image of what they think women (and even men) should look like in order to be considered attractive or beautiful. This picture makes overcoming this struggle even more difficult, which is definitely discouraging.
Being interested in beauty and fashion, I often read beauty/fashion magazines. I love these magazines because they offer great tips and ideas regarding beauty, but I also deeply hate them. I hate them because I am basically studying unrealistic ideals that I could never reach. These magazines pressure me to try to make myself look a certain way to be considered beautiful or attract guys.
Magazines are not the only source of this image. This image (let’s call it the “perfect image”) is seen everywhere. We are constantly getting pictures thrown at all times through movies, TV, advertisements, books, internet, etc. Now don’t get me wrong. I love all of these things, but I also hate them, as I have told you before. These great forms of entertainment engrave the “perfect image” in our minds to the point that we only see that single image as beautiful.
My favorite interpretation of this is found in the book Enough by Kate Conner that I read a few months ago (definitely recommend this for all ages of women). She described this forcing of the “perfect image” as the “beauty trap.” She said that every culture has put up their own “perfect image.” During the Middle Ages, the “perfect image” was basically overweight and pale. Now, that image has completely done a 180 and is now skinny, tanned, and bleach blonde, but every standard of beauty has been nearly unreachable. Although, through every culture and every disappointed woman or man, one thing remains the same.
Satan is laughing his head off at how dissatisfied we are at who we are. That’s right! Satan was and still is the evil mastermind behind this beauty trap (*cue evil villain laughter*). God made us who we are for a reason. Satan wants to make us blind to our true God-given beauty through the “perfect image” being forced down our throats.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
“All beautiful you are my darling; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)
God made YOU and me for a purpose, and He made YOU and me beautiful in every way.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using beauty or fashion to enhance your natural beauty (if there was, my dream would be lost), but focus on the inside.
“Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles or the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
Here, God is not saying it is a bad thing to do your hair, wear jewelry, or love fashion. He is saying what is in your heart is way more valuable than what is on the outside.
When you focus on improving your heart rather than improving your face or your body, that inner beauty will radiate out of you and show everyone how truly beautiful you are. Learn to show God’s love to others, and you will begin to see it for yourself. I am still discovering who I am in the Lord, and I pray that we will begin to see who we truly are.
LOVE YOURSELF and BE CONFIDENT in who God made you to be. Society (and Satan) has it wrong. YOU are unique and beautiful in your own way–today, tomorrow, and forever.