I’m back with another post from my archives! This article was first published in August 2019 here, and I’m really excited to share it with you again. Enjoy!
I sigh as I look in the mirror. My hair is a mess, my face just had an outbreak of acne, and I feel depressed. I’ve worked on trying to get a hairstyle right for an hour, and I just can’t make it look like the picture online. Finally, I give up and settle for a very fluffy ponytail. I don’t feel too pretty.
Have you ever felt like this before? Unfortunately, this progression of thoughts and feelings is commonplace among teen girls like me-even if we don’t all end up with a super fluffy ponytail.🙃 Most of us girls have innumerable body and beauty insecurities. I struggle with this every day, and I’m guessing that most of you do too. I am still in the struggle, but I have heard some comments on the subject, and I have some advice of my own to share. Plus, most important of all, God has something to say about this too.
1. It’s A-Okay to Be Pretty and Tidy…
Before I begin, I want to say that it is important to keep yourself healthy, clean, and tidy. In fact, we glorify God when we take care of our bodies. (1 Corinth. 6:19)
2. …But It’s Not Okay to OBSESS
Many of us let our insecurities and vanity take control. I’ve found that when I obsess over my appearance because of boys, reputation, or insecurity, I tend to become even more insecure, forget that my identity is found in Jesus, and idolize myself. Get honest with yourself. How much time do you spend in the morning on your hair and makeup? How often do you look in the mirror? If you see your thoughts and time consumed by an obsession, ask yourself the reason behind your obsession.
3. Why is It So Bad?
Besides dangerous eating disorders, wasted time, and lopsided priorities, there’s another important reason to think twice about continuing on with your obsession. God made us and called us good (Gen 2). And even though we have sinned, we are still made by God and made in His image. Think about that for a second. The One who created the stars, seas, and animals, the planets, trees, and deserts made me and you! Isn’t that kind of mind-boggling??
God made you the way He wanted you to be, and He doesn’t make mistakes. When we obsess over every “imperfection” or what we think is “ugly” about our bodies, we are basically telling God, “You didn’t make me good enough!”
I don’t want to be challenging God, and I’m guessing you don’t either. We must trust God to do what is best for us. When we don’t trust God, we challenge God and sin against our Creator.
Have you ever heard of Amy Carmichael? She was a missionary to India, and she rescued many of the girls there who were slaves in the Hindu temples. When she was a girl, she hated having brown eyes. She desperately wanted blue eyes, and she even asked God to change them. But her eyes stayed brown. As an adult she became a missionary to India. The only way she could blend in with the people there and be allowed in the temples was if she had dark eyes. If she had had blue eyes, she would have stood out as a foreigner, and her work would be more difficult or not as effective. From her story, we see that God can use what we call an imperfection for His kingdom!
4. But How?
There isn’t really a step-by-step, perfect, and solve-it-all checklist. This is a heart issue that can only be changed by God.
So before you do anything, pray and ask God for help. You (and no one else) can do anything without God’s strength. Look in His Word for what He says about beauty and value. Build your relationship with God and begin to find your worth in Him.
Second, get the focus off yourself. Help others and serve in your family, friend-circle, community, church etc.
Third, start thinking about the needs of other people before your own. Let go of your reputation and work for God alone. I love this quote by C.S. Lewis:
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” ― CS Lewis
Our thoughts should be centered on God and others.
Fourth, don’t “fear man”. What other people think of you doesn’t matter in the long run. What God thinks is far more important. I find Matthew 10:26-28 to be a great reminder for this.
Fifth, be thankful. Whether it is by using a thankfulness journal or by sharing with your friends how God is working in your life, thankfulness is key to battling discontentment.
What steps are you going to take today to think of yourself less?
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Featured: A Change of Focus