For a while I’ve been wanting to share some of my history with you. I don’t know about you, but I have always struggled with my looks. It’s not nearly as bad as it was when I was younger. Even 5 years ago I felt much more insecure and ugly than I do now. I’ve matured and changed in that area, thankfully!
When I was young I was always heavy. My weight has been a lifelong struggle. I remember when I was 7 or 8 playing on a softball team. The other girls were all the typical, skinny girl and their uniforms were always slipping down. They would talk about ways to keep their pants up, while I tried to hide the fact that I was wearing a size bigger than any of them. I’d cut out my tags or try to hide it when I changed clothes. I was sharply aware, even at such a young age, that I had a problem that the other girls didn’t have.
In high school, being a cheerleader or drill team member were never options for me. It’s silly really. I wasn’t athletic anyway and probably wouldn’t have liked it, but I always wondered what it would have been like to at least have it as an option. I dated, but I wasn’t that girl who was pursued by the boys. I was nice. I’d make friends pretty easily so I got asked out. To add to the trouble, I am incredibly UN-photogenic. So when I see a picture of myself, it never flatters me.
As I got older I learned more and more that the problem wasn’t about whether or not I WAS pretty, but about how I felt about myself….how I carried myself. I knew I had gifts and I started learning to embrace them and began to be more my authentic self.
But then in college I was bullied by some girls in my dorm. It was a really dark time in my life and nearly destroyed me. It took me years to recover from that torture and followed me into marriage. My poor, sweet husband thought he was marrying a cute, confident young woman when what he really got was a heaping mess of tears and anxiety. He was barely 21 and I doubt he had any idea what he was getting himself into. My constant need for compliments and praise drained our marriage.
Slowly, very slowly, God began to pull me out of my, let’s just call it what it is, selfishness. He started to teach me about real beauty. The kind of beauty that He sees. Proverbs 31:30 says it so well, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”
I had spent my life looking for the wrong things! Seeking thinness, nice clothes, perfect hair….it all meant nothing. If I didn’t stop being so concerned about outer beauty I would get to the end of my life and have no real value. 1 Peter 3:3-4 “And let not your adornment be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”
Don’t misunderstand, I wasn’t consumed with beauty and fashion. It was more of a lack of worth, I just couldn’t find my own value. I thought maybe covering up the mess with something pretty would help. It didn’t. And since the world didn’t see any value in me either, I had little hope. When I was about 25 I began to pray. I would ask God daily, as I decided what to wear and put myself together for the day, “Lord, help me show the beauty within and not place too much importance on the external.” That became my prayer every morning as I got dressed.
I’ve always been a dressing up kind of girl. I don’t throw on sweat pants and pull my hair back at the base of my neck because it’s easy. I fix myself up and so do my girls. It’s just our nature. So getting dressed every day is a time for me to breathe deep and remember who I am dressing for. The King that loves the inside more than the outside. 2 Corinthians 4:16 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
Now, finally, in my late 40’s, I am getting it. I don’t struggle anymore with feeling like I am less than because I am overweight. I don’t feel insecure in a room full of beautiful people. I know I have something else to offer. I still don’t like to have my picture taken, but I make myself do it and just tell myself it’s good for me to be reminded that what I look like isn’t what’s important.
It’s not easy every day, but most days I have victory. Asking God to direct my focus every morning has become a habit and that has made the biggest difference.
If you struggle with feeling un-beautiful, I hope you’ll find encouragement here. You can share your own story, ask for prayer, add your thoughts. Take it from me, an older woman, beauty is fleeting. God doesn’t care about it. Even if He gave you physical beauty, it will fade. Find your loveliness in your countenance, your kindness toward others, your loving family, your compassion.
I’ve never even seen you, and I think you’re absolutely stunning!