Sunday, April 28, 2013

(Not) Beautiful.

The summer before I moved away to college, Bethany Dillon came into town and performed a small show at a church with Shawn McDonald and Monk and Neagle.

I purchased her CD probably a few months prior to that, and I fell in love with her music. During the show I actually stood in the front row with a few friends and sang every song. Afterward, when we got to meet the artists, Bethany told me that she had fun singing with me during the show. What?! She noticed? I just loved her, and that comment made my night. I admired that she wrote (most of) her own music, I admired how mature she was for her young age, and I admired her love for the Lord and his people.

I especially loved (love) her song "Beautiful" spoke (and still speaks) straight to my soul:


I was so unique 
Now I feel skin deep 
I count on the make-up to cover it all 
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention 
I thought I could be strong 
But it's killing me 

Does someone hear my cry? 
I'm dying for new life 

I want to be beautiful 
Make you stand in awe 
Look inside my heart, 
and be amazed 
I want to hear you say 
Who I am is quite enough 
Just want to be worthy of love 
And beautiful 

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me 
Fighting to make the mirror happy 
Trying to find whatever is missing 
Won't you help me back to glory 

If God had gifted me with the talent of song writing, I could have poured those words onto a page along with my tears. I felt each one of them so deeply. Throughout junior high and high school (and probably even before that), I had always felt like my friends and cousins were prettier, skinnier, and more beautiful than me. I struggled with being self-conscious. I wanted more than anything to feel accepted and beautiful and loved.

Graduating from high school, moving away from home, and starting college was obviously a time of huge adjustment. My plans were to enjoy college life, meet someone wonderful, fall in love, get married, etc. etc. etc.....and finally feel beautiful. In my fairy-tale, happily-ever-after, Disney-princess upbringing, that's how life worked. Your prince charming comes along, you feel loved and accepted, and you become the most beautiful girl in the world to someone...

Well, almost ten years later, we all know that that prince-charming-happily-ever-after-finally-beautiful thing hasn't happened yet....

For so long I've focused on the first part of Bethany's song--the deep desire to be beautiful, to not feel self-conscious all the time, to be quite enough, to make someone stand in awe, to be worthy of love. 

Isn't that every girl's desire? Doesn't every girl battle with this on some level? Don't we imagine that all of our dreams will come true when we meet our "prince charming"? Don't we all just want to be beautiful? 

I still struggle with not feeling beautiful. I battle with self-consciousness probably more than anyone would ever know. I fight with the image in the mirror and wonder what man will ever find me beautiful. Instead of seeing my blue eyes and bright smile in pictures, I see my fat, white arms. This isn't easy to type. I'm not writing this to get compliments--believe me, people could tell me I looked pretty all day long, and I'd still be battling this demon at night. I'm writing this to be real. I'm writing this to share a struggle that I'm sure many women face, but don't always talk about. 

I'm writing this to share God's amazing truth that He's been trying to drill into my ridiculously think-Satan's- lies-believing-head. 

Bethany's song doesn't end with the lyrics I've posted above. As I've grown up a bit over the years, I have come to realize the amazingly deeper truth written into the end of the song. 

You make me beautiful 
You make me stand in awe 
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed 
I love to hear You say 
Who I am is quite enough 
You make me worthy of love and beautiful

I'm not beautiful because of the image that peers back at me in the mirror. I'm not beautiful because someone says so. I won't become beautiful when (or if) a man finally accepts me. I'm beautiful because God made me beautifully. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In Christ, I am quite enough. HE has made me worthy of love and beautiful.  

I have an image of Psalm 139 as the background on my phone--in an effort to focus on God's truth and not my own selfish insecurities.

We have to stop believing the lies that Satan loves to flood upon us. We have to stop thinking of ourselves as less because we don't look like the image on the magazine or television screen or the girl next to us in a bridesmaid dress. We have to stop finding our value in relationships or spouses or complements.

We need to focus on who we are in Christ and live as daughters of the King--accepted, enough, loved, and BEAUTIFUL.

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