Eleven year old Anna Cathrine was leaning against the back of the couch, scrolling through Pinterest on her phone.
Her younger sister was stretched out over the Twister rug as I spun the spinner for her.
“Place a foot on green,” I said, and the small four year old reached for the green circle, and fell to the ground.
Anna Cathrine looked up from her phone, and excitedly exclaimed “I’m beautiful!”
I grinned. True, but a little random. Where did that thought come from??
“Yes you are,” I said slowly.
Anna Cathrine burst into giggles.
“I meant to say ‘I win!’ but I had just read a quote on Pinterest that said ‘I’m beautiful,’ so that’s why I said that.”
We both laughed some more, and her younger sister said it was now Anna Cathrine’s turn to play Twister. The little girl hopped up into my lap and started to spin the spinner.
Eventually, Anna Cathrine became too twisted and fell to the ground.
“You’re beautiful!” I cheerfully said.
And she burst into giggles again.
During the rest of my time babysitting her and her sister, Anna Cathrine and I would exclaim “I’m beautiful!” whenever we won something, and then giggle at our silliness. And I’m sure we’ll continue to laugh about it in the future as well.
I hope this (soon to be) 6th grader truly believes she’s beautiful. Not only because (1) it’s true, but (2) she’s heading into her middle school years, where most girls experience a self-esteem nose dive. I hope she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is beautiful because God made her beautiful.
But in all seriousness, how often do we actually think we’re beautiful?
Whenever someone at my church tells a certain two year old that she’s cute, she just smiles and says “I know!”
But I’ve noticed the opposite happening among older girls who are teens and young adults… and middle-aged and senior adult women as well, for that matter. Whenever someone complements them, they tend to downplay it, pointing out a flaw such as their hair that wouldn’t cooperate that morning or how they are paler than they would like to be.
I dare you to be different.
I dare you to believe you are beautiful.
And you truly are, because God made you so.
Feel doesn’t equal Am.
Crystal Paine of moneysavingmom.com is one of my favorite Periscopers. I remember during one of her scopes, she retold a time that she and one of her daughters were talking.
In quiet honesty, her daughter had said, “Mommy, I don’t feel beautiful.”
Crystal’s heart broke when she heard that confession.
She knelt down and gently hugged her daughter. She told her that she was beautiful. That just because she didn’t feel beautiful didn’t mean she wasn’t. Feel doesn’t equal am.
Just because you don’t feel beautiful doesn’t make that true.
Feelings can lie to us.
As Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things.”
You are beautiful. Whether or not you feel beautiful doesn’t make that fact any more or less true.
When I was in middle school, I struggled with body image. I knew in my head that God made me beautiful, but I just didn’t believe that in my heart.
So, I decided to write out verses dealing with beauty on the first page of my journal, hoping to hide these truths away in my heart so that eventually I might believe them.
These are the verses I memorized:
1. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. -Proverbs 31:30
2. He has made everything beautiful in its time. -Ecclesiastes 3:11a
3. Your beauty should not come from outward appearance… Instead that of your inner self, the unfolding beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight. -1 Peter 3:3-4
4. But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” -Romans 9:20
5. He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8
6. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know this full well. -Psalm 139:14
7. But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
I came to realize that inward beauty was of more worth than external beauty.
I didn’t want to be like those Pharisees Jesus talked about, who looked beautiful externally but internally they were as filthy as death.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” -Matthew 23:27
After all, aren’t the most beautiful people you know the ones who love others and put others’ needs before their own?
The ones who follow after God with their whole heart.
The ones whose faces light up with joy because of the joy that is inside of them which comes from the Holy Spirit.
Our “body image” shouldn’t be our primary concern, but rather whether or not we are pleasing to God on the inside.
God searches our hearts.
He knows our deep dark sins.
He knows all the terrible things we have ever done.
But you know what? If we are in Christ, when God looks at us He doesn’t see our sins, our internal ugliness, any more. He sees Jesus.
“God made him who knew no sin to be sin, so we might be the righteousness of God.” -2 Corinthians 5:21.
It’s a beautiful exchange. Our ugliness for His perfectness.
If we are in Christ, we are made NEW! (2 Cor. 5:17)
We are beautiful.
Yes, we are beautiful on the outside, because God created us, but most importantly we are beautiful on the inside because Jesus has washed away all the spiderwebs and dirt that used to reside in our hearts.
Girl, you are beautiful.
Don’t you ever forget it.
If this post encouraged you, would you please share it with a friend so it can encourage her as well? Thank you! :)