Until I got married and my husband made me feel gorgeous just the way I am and later God showed me that beauty has everything to do with what is inside than what is on the outside-- I had failed to embrace my own beauty. This resulted in low self esteem and continually comparing myself to other women in general.
Many thoughts included:
If only I looked like her.
I need to lose weight.
Making myself throw up probably wouldn't be so bad.
If I lay down I could surely fit into these pants.
This shirt isn't sexy enough.
I would kill to have her body.
I need to dye my hair because everyone else does it.
I'll just find another way to attract boys.
Instead of having kids, maybe I'll just save up for plastic surgery.
If I wear this, I will look better.
I need to buy perfumes, douches, and body sprays to attract a man because my clean body does not smell good enough.
Many more thoughts of course went through my mind, these just being a few-- but you could see how warped my definition of beauty was. And never was I happy-- because I always felt like I was failing. Nothing was good enough. If I ever came close to feeling beautiful, a second later I saw another woman with sexy cleavage, or beautiful long hair, or the perfect body, or neatly manicured nails. I could just never be at the top of the game-- I just never felt good enough. I had trouble seeing what was on the inside because I was too focused on the outward appearance.
This took me down a dark and destructive path-- far away from the loving embrace of God.
Thankfully, He pulled me to Him exactly how I pull my daughters toward me for a hug when they are pulling away. He had plans for me before I even realized that I was worthy of feeling beautiful.
Fifteen years later, I can say that I feel beautiful. I like myself-- I love myself, and this has made all the difference for me. This beauty is not what the world would call beautiful but I have the confidence to know that if God accepts me for who I am and my husband finds me attractive because he too defines beauty like God has taught us to do then I am beautiful-- stretch marks, cellulite, gray hair, extra rolls here and there, and all.
If only I could teach my daughters this. We are trying, but it is a constant climb up a mountain that keeps getting taller with new worldly expectations.
I came across this video that I wanted to share because it does put worldly beauty into the right perspective. Most times, what we see on the outside is not even real.
In addition to feeling beautiful just the way they are without all of the "worldly" stuff, I desire to teach my girls that if they want to really stand out with a quality that most of America rarely sees anymore-- then they should strive for modesty.... purity... and wholesomeness.
A friend of mine had this up on their refridge and I wanted to share it.
If you have trouble getting into it or out of it, it is
If you have to be careful when you sit down or bend over, it is
If people look at any part of your body before looking at your face it is
If you can see your most private body parts or an outline of those parts under the fabric it is
Easy enough-- right? You should have been a fly on the wall when I was discussing this during one of our devotionals. Even Adam got a few chuckles out of my explanations-- but the point was made. I have started reading two new books about modesty and beauty and becoming a Radical Woman of God. Modesty, purity, inner beauty, wholesomeness, and striving for good ol' fashioned family values are all rare characteristics that would make any female stand out with a radiant beauty that is unmatched to what America would call beauty.
For now, I feel this takes center stage in my role as a mother-- if I can teach my children this, imagine how wonderful their lives would be. To feel accepted. To know they have qualitites that make them stand out like rare gems. The thought of this makes me smile big. I think it would have made a huge difference for me at their age.