Talking about insecurities is hard. The transparency of vulnerability causes us to believe our flaws and wounds make us less desirable.
So we don’t talk about them. We build up the silence to equate our worth, and it enables us to carry on the façade of perfection. Don’t bring attention to what you don’t want people to see.
We trick ourselves into believing a brave face is the cure for all that ails our soul. We coerce our heart into admitting the insecurities are invalid. Insignificant. They must be suppressed.
I’ve always known beauty is fleeting. It’ll disappear eventually for everyone. So when insecurity threatened, I would cling to the promise that a beautiful heart is more important than a beautiful exterior. I would tell myself I could not let the world win me over by getting caught up in trying to achieve any kind of standard for an outward appearance. I wanted to be a Proverbs 31 woman, not Miss America. I knew I wasn’t as attractive as the next person, but I thought I had to be okay with that because I didn’t want to fall into an addiction to the pursuit of beauty.
It seemed like a battle already lost, anyway.
My mentality that God doesn’t care about beauty I assumed was the answer. If He didn’t care whether or not I was beautiful, neither should I.
But sometimes I wished He did care so I wouldn’t feel guilty for wanting reassurance.
He does care.
When I was little, there was a voice in the back of my head that told me not to worry about beauty, because it was something I would grow into. Surely it would come with time, patience, and not trying too hard.
But one day I looked into the mirror and realized I had missed it. Beauty was no longer something I could wait for. It had been crushed and lost by the weight of the world. I had marks and scars – both internal and external – that told a long story. Subtle signs were surfacing, taking revenge against the stress of sickness, leaving my body as a casualty all over again.
Every time I tried to fix one thing, something else would unravel. I couldn’t win. It was time to stop trying.
Not long after I had recommitted to my cause against beauty, I had an encounter with someone that completely changed my perspective. She said something, a compliment that went directly to the center of my heart, leaving no room to doubt the Lord heard my thoughts and wanted to prove me wrong.
My mind was overwhelmed in processing how He was so gracious to show me He does not judge in our insecurity, but desires to remind us all of His creation is beautiful. Every. Single. Thing.
A lot of us would agree the criteria this world uses to measure beauty is tainted. The Lord grieves over a lot of the things we label as “beautiful.” We have completely missed the point.
But that doesn’t mean we have to abandon the idea of beauty.
Telling each other we have “inner beauty” is not enough. Because it doesn’t satisfy the longing in our heart to be recognized as enough. Instead, it shows how we’ve bought into the lies of worldly approval and we know that many of the people around us just don’t measure up. So we created this alternative, ambiguous beauty so we aren’t left out of this relentless strive for self-worth and approval.
But, beloved – you don’t have to create an alternative beauty to claim the title of one who is beautiful.
If we believe in God’s perfection, there is no room to think He makes mistakes. If we are made in His image, how could we be anything but lovely? You are enough when you have Christ living in you. He creates beautiful people and He delights in you.
He doesn’t just want you to know. He wants you to see and understand and believe and trust. You are beautiful.
There is a hole in our heart labeled the “desire to be beautiful” that can only be filled by knowing Christ and understanding His perspective of us. Nothing else will ever quench that burning desire; not our “inner beauty” alternative, not the world’s idea of physical perfection, not the affirmation of others, not our rebellion against beauty.
Beautiful describes who God is and who He created us to be, in His image.
When our souls search for a glimpse of beauty, we’re really searching for Christ and assurance of our identity. We may not fully be able to wrap our minds around beauty by the Lord’s standards, since it so greatly contrasts what the world portrays. But the only way to define it is by studying the Artist and looking at you, His masterpiece. It may take a moment for our eyes to adjust. The God-crafted beauty poured over each of us is intended to glorify our Creator, not ourselves.
But it’s there.
And He will remind us that beauty cannot be lost in a sea of arbitrary and unachievable standards, because beauty is a gift given to each of us when He breathed life into our souls before we were ever known by anyone else. No one and nothing can steal your beauty. They can only try to deceive, so you cannot see what is already there. Sickness, age, weariness, circumstance, and brokenness has no authority to take that which has been given to you by the One who is more powerful than it all.
Look around you and see the beauty He has made with His very own hands. Look at yourself in the mirror and see the person He declares has so much worth that nothing was too great to win your heart. You are beautiful. Not because I say so; because He says it is true. But I say it too, to echo the whispers of His voice in your heart. Those flaws you’re trying so hard to cover up are the very mark of His work. You don’t need to hide them.
When we’re tempted to forget, let us remember: we belong to the Lord. And He has made us beautiful.