Acne. More acne. Acne scars. Cellulite. The 27 pounds I gained. Is that a new cavity? When did my dark circles get to be this bad? Am I prettier in real life than I am in this mirror? Did these jeans shrink in the laundry orrrrr? I could’ve SWORN I tweezed my eyebrows like 2 days ago. IS THAT A DOUBLE-CHIN? Complete denial. Nope, not me. Wait, yep. That’s a double chin. Could I get any uglier? Oh yeah, and did I mention acne? Since when did 20-year olds deal with acne? Why has no one told me that I actually look like this? I do NOT feel pretty today. Wait…when was the last time I actually felt pretty? Do I put on makeup to make me feel prettier or am I having the wrong intentions in wanting to do so? Are there wrong intentions in putting on makeup? Am I thinking too far into this?
I know I’m not alone in these thoughts. Whether you critize yourself daily, or go weeks without thinking any of these things and then get hit with what feels like a ton of bricks that make you question your self-worth, we all discourage ourselves more often than not, and give into negative thinking at least one time or another. But whether we feel like this all of the time or rarely at all, we cannot let our feelings control us. Our feelings are not truth. Like the John Piper quote I referenced in an older article, more often than not our feelings do not line up with truth. Because of this, we cannot let our feelings control our actions or the way we make decisions. We must be willing to recognize our feelings, validate them, and then choose to live by God’s truth.
The truth, therefore, is that you are beautiful. You are important. You are loved and you are seen. You were created with care and intentionality. When God made you, He made you thoughtfully and uniquely. He did not make a mistake, not one. So often we like to play the role of God and assume that we could’ve done a better job than Him. But by assuming that we would be prettier or more attractive if we were made another way, we are calling God a liar. Because HE says you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), we are telling Him that He is wrong by believing otherwise. We are saying that He is a liar, that He is not speaking truth…and that goes against exactly who He is.
Like I said in my last article, your feelings are not invalid. I have days, more often than I’d like to admit, where I feel gross and ugly and like I don’t want anyone to get too close… you know those days? Your feelings are valid, and yes, those days suck. But we must be able to push past the strong wall of our feelings and fall freely into the truth of our Maker. As children of God and His chosen people, we must find our identity in Him and be defined by who He says we are; and this is what He says:
“My child, you are good. You are perfect. Your identity comes from Me and Me alone. I am so in love with you, and who I’ve made you to be. Please don’t hesitate, be resentful, or confine yourself in not being who you truly are. Walk in the freedom, the confidence, the understanding of who I’ve made you to be. Do not despise yourself or what you look like; because you were created by Me. And when you know and acknowledge and understand who I am, you cannot doubt who you are. You are not too loud. You are not too overweight. You are not too shy or quiet or introverted. You are not ugly, nor are you uglier than someone else. Your skin does not define you, nor does the color of your teeth. You are beautiful, not because of anyone’s opinion of you, but because that is who I made you to be. You cannot compare yourself to anyone, because you were not created to be compared.”
So, my dear friends, remember that your identity and worth comes from the Lord and Lord alone. It can’t always be about feeling pretty, but knowing that you are beautifully and perfectly made. It’s not about feeling, but about knowing.
Rest in His truth. Rest in His love.
words by Shannon Dunn and photo by Emily Steffen