As a model, it was common lingo to hear how beautiful I was. "You're gorgeous. You're stunning. You're beautiful." It was nice to hear, but was it true?
There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to take care of our bodies. I love fashion and makeup, and I enjoyed my 9 years as a professional model. I love to look out over my span of friendships and I celebrate every woman with freckles, red hair, dark skin, round waist lines, petite frames, braces and pidgin toes! Each of us have unique features that cause us to stand out in a crowd and there is no sin in celebrating this fact. Weaves, eyelashes, pink hair, nail extensions, even the occasional mini-skirt... I love it if you love it!
The problem occurs when we’re no longer celebrating who we are, when we’re no longer happy with who we see in the mirror and when we try to alter ourselves in attempts to gain fulfillment or approval from other people.
I tried to alter myself to keep the compliments coming. I tried to be what I thought they thought was beautiful. Maybe you've never experienced such stress, but have you ever spent money you didn't have on an outfit you thought would score you points in the eyes of others? Have you ever sacrificed time with your family by spending too many hours in the salon because you put more priority on your appearance than on spending quality time with your loved ones? Did you every do drugs to fit in and feel like you belonged? What about working out... is the purpose for health or for aesthetics and if so, does that put you in the vulnerable position to consider unhealthy means of a certain weight in order to achieve your aesthetic goal?
The previously mentioned statistics we've discussed proves that we (as a culture, as a community and as individuals) are looking in the wrong places and listening to the wrong voices when seeking true beauty. We hail the women we see on social media, not realizing that they are in the same rat-race... trying to find the new "thing" to make them more beautiful so that they can show us how beautiful they are how we can look like them. This is not women empowerment. It's sabotage.
“Practically every photo you see in a magazine is digitally altered," Dylan Jones, editor of GQ Men's Magazine, admitted in an interview.
And he's right! I have definitely seen images of myself that weren't completely real. I've been altered to have lighter skin for this magazine and darker skin for another. I've seen myself with more hair in a photo than I had during the actual shoot and I've studied my cheek bones to determine if the mirror or the camera was lying.
Take it from me, media is not a good place to find examples and representations of true beauty. Tiny skirts and low blouses are not what attracts real love and curves won't keep a man, or yourself, happy for long term. Beauty starts first within. It begins in the heart and then travels into the mind, which then makes the decision to portray what is truly beautiful, from the inside-out.
The scriptures say that God is the essence of beauty and since He made you in His image, through the power of His heart, then you, my friend, are killing it!
You are beautiful and gorgeous and sacred... so SLAY, honey! God is the artist who created us and His Word, which is completely true, is full of reminders regarding our true identity.
If someone you know is struggling with self-image, maybe including your self, share some of these verses with them as an encouragement that they are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalms 139:14)
"For we are God’s masterpieces, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" ~Ephesians 2:10
You are God's highest creation! You are gorgeous. God loves you. You aren’t purposed to be like anyone else. Yes, we know this and it has become a cliche... but do you believe ? You must, or the fake in this world will devour you. Cling to these truths. Share them with the person who can’t find her true beauty. Be her light and hold up God's mirror of truth so that she can see what He sees.
"For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made"~ Psalm 139:14
The word “fearfully” in this verse is actually translated from the Hebrew “to inspire awe”. It's like, when you go to the mountains and you sit outside and look at the sky. The stars are brilliant. They take your breath away. That's how God sees you. You take His breath away.
"For we know, beloved by God, that He has chosen you" ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4
So, we know that God really loves us and thinks we are wonderful, but He didn't just make us special and beautiful without purpose. His specifically created you for something special. As I say so often to so many women, you are purposed to be more than just a girlfriend. You are not on this earth for sex, for money or for men. You are not on this earth for IG likes or selfies. Your life and your existence is sacred and God is very excited and pleased with the future He has in mind for you!
Self discovery is a journey we are all venturing on. I don't think we will ever truly know ourselves, out
side of God, because He is our source for identity, for love and for beauty. The moment I began reaching for Jesus is the moment I began reaching for myself. Who we are is embedded in Him and until we experience Him we will never experience ourselves.
Listen, there will always be areas in our lives, in our bodies and even in our closets, that will need our attention and improvement, but never look to those things as the fulfillment of who you are. You have a beautiful heart that exceeds anything you can purchase at Sephora. When the lies of this world scream time and time again, that we aren't good enough, that we aren't accomplished enough or strong enough or rich enough or pretty enough...God's sweet love and truth tells us the exact opposite. And His opinion is the only one that matters!
Looking for more encouragement on self love and God's love? Check out my book: Beyond Being Good: Seeking Christ's Perfection for our Imperfect Hearts. Now Available! ANNNDDDDD.... be sure to follow me on INSTAGRAM!