The Common Battle for Many Women, and A Different Perspective
Like most women, I struggle with body image.
After all, I’m not a stick. I’m 5’3” and weigh between 135 and 140 pounds. I have curves, and not necessarily the pretty kind. As I age, those curves get closer to the ground.
I walk four miles every week day but gain five pounds if I smell a donut. As I approach my forties, a slice of lettuce makes me balloon. I don’t say these things to incite fitness advice or competition, but to reveal the struggle is real.
I’ve always had a pride issue: I need to look my best at all times (it’s getting harder). Add to that I see young, flawless, tiny women everywhere (T.V., Internet, billboards, etc.) and I have a recipe for hating myself.
Admittedly, sometimes I do. But that is changing.
The other day I examined myself and despised what I saw. I started to cry. What am I going to do? I asked no one in particular. Plastic surgery is too expensive and it scares me. Besides, I wouldn’t know where to start. My pooch? My saddlebags? Can the doctor just suck out all the excess? I sat on my bathroom floor in a heap of tears.
That moment, I felt God speak to me. He said lovingly, “Diane, stop. I made you. Why do you criticize my workmanship?”
Let’s Dismiss What the World Thinks for a Moment. What Does God Think?
Of course, when God tells you to shut up, you do. However, I still felt horrible. I needed more from Him, although I wasn’t sure what. I timidly told God I no longer wanted to feel bad about myself. I was tired of comparison. I wanted to be free.
Again, I felt Him speak: “Then don’t.”
“How?!?” I hissed at myself in the mirror, and then hating the way I looked when I hissed. (I had to hiss. I didn’t want to alarm my family. After all, I was in the bathroom, and they were right outside the door.)
Almost immediately after, God led my angry fingers to Psalm 139. Allow me to post part of it here:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
I felt Him speak again: You see, the world doesn’t need another beautiful model, He said. It has plenty. It needs you to be exactly how I made you.
Almost immediately, I understood: the world is crying out for Jesus. It needs His follower to be joyful, peaceful, and content.
If I couldn’t stand myself, how could I be joyful, peaceful, and content?
No One Cares
A few years ago my teenage daughter saw me studying myself. “Mom,” she said. “No one cares.” I was flabbergasted. They don’t? But I do! And if I care, they should! After all, I’m trying not to offend anyone by my appearance!
I’m starting to understand what she meant. And she’s right. Listen, no one cares about my need to feel attractive. They care only about their own needs. As hard as it is to accept, they likely don’t even notice me – that is, unless I have something to offer.
And this is where it gets to the crux of the matter: if you can fulfill someone’s need, you are physically beautiful to them. Instantly.
Let me repeat that: if you can help someone in a way they need it, in their eyes, you are Cindy Crawford. Or Beyonce. Or whoever.
It’s not about what you look like. It’s about what you can do for them.
My beautiful, lovely, friends: if you are a Christian, you are chalk full of resources that can be used to help someone.
After all, God lives in you. And that, my beauteous counterparts, makes you a sight for sore eyes.
The world is so desperately scratching for Him, even if they don’t know it. It needs Godly women who aren’t made crusty by the world. Instead of bitterness, anger, and resentment, it needs our smiles and embraces. What’s more: it needs to see us at peace.
Peace eludes us if we think we’re ugly.
Let me just put it like this: our insecurity is harming the world. It forces us into a box and leaves a gaping hole where we need to be.
If you help someone, you are instantly beautiful to them.
– Diane Watt, Scripture Seeds
I am in no way cured of my poor self-image. Honestly, I may always struggle. However, God is leading me, little by little, in the steps of victory. He is showing me what is important. He has taught me that a peaceful, serene smile ready to fulfill a need is intensely more important than a perfect body, face, or whatever.
If you feel ugly, hear this:
You are beautiful, whether you want to be or not.
You are beautiful, even if no one says it.
You are beautiful, even if you don’t look like that girl on T.V.
You are beautiful, even if you weigh a ton.
You are beautiful, even if you can’t stand the sight of yourself.
And lastly, but maybe most importantly….
You are beautiful because you are needed.