Thursday, May 14, 2015

{True Beauty}: When a Girl Feels She Doesn't Measure Up

Magazines. You see them everywhere you go. Even in the bathroom. Then there's billboards. Internet ads. Movies. T.V. All with flawless people.

These are the people our society holds up as the golden standard of beauty. And, none of us are able to attain it perfectly.

Sure, we try. But, in the end. When the make-up is off and the shower is on, we see our flaws. 

Living in a culture focused on disproportionate figures and airbrushed faces how can we ever measure up? We are on an infinite quest to find beauty products to quell our insecurities. And it's never enough. Does that mean we're never enough?

When I was a teen, it seemed like my nose grew before the rest of my body. I longed to be like the girls on the talk shows who would tell their story of woe. Not fitting in because their noses were too big and getting a free nose job in return. Sounds shallow I know, but I felt awful because my face was far from perfect. 

Looking at pictures from that time, I don't even see it anymore. But, I sure felt it then. 

Being middle-aged is not much easier. It's a temptation to try to turn back the hands of time (if that were possible). And, erase the lines that tell our age. Or keep up an endless exercise regimen tirelessly trying to lower our BMI and give us that figure we desire.

 If we look good on the outside does that mean everything is okay on the inside?

The times I've struggled the most with my self-image are the times I was trying hardest to look my best. 

This is the world I am raising daughters in.

How I wish I could shield them from the onslaught of insecurity that will come at them as they become women. 

All I can do is pray for grace and be an example of what it means to rest in who I am. Not that I've done this perfectly, but I am learning.

Learning to rest.

To abide.

To know I am loved.

And, by God's grace, I am flawless.

How is this possible? Not only do I have blemishes on the outside, but I still sin. I do the things I don't want to do and don't do the things I know I should do (Romans 7:15).

Because of Christ, I am not condemned (Romans 8:1-4). Because Jesus took my place, being condemned as a sinner on the cross, He took all my sin and gave me His flawless record and His Holy Spirit now dwells in me. 

I'm not only okay to God, but I've been raised up to the level of His Son in righteousness.

He's given me a beauty no amount of make-up could ever attain to. When I am resting in Him, I am loving, joyful, at peace. 

I have His beauty.

In a culture that is figure focused and infinitely insecure, what part of us should we really desire to be flawless?

Our hearts.

Not neglecting to take care of the body, but also not making it the inordinate focus of our lives. We already have a myriad of idols begging for our attention, our focus.

Christ raised the bar for true beauty. The crossbeam. By submitting to the rescue plan that would save us.

Why not focus on Him. His sacrificial love for us. And loving Him in return by sacrificial loving the world. Putting others' needs before our own. Doing the hard, right things in the divine power that comes from seeking, focusing on Christ.

Change may not come right away. But, it will come. And, one day when we look in the mirror, we won't just see ourselves. In those gentled eyes and caring smile, we'll see His beauty.

"You are altogether beautiful, my love;

    there is no flaw in you."

Song of Solomon 4:7