By Cynthia W. Pratt
Imagine that it’s the ever-dreaded bathing suit season. There we stand, half-naked, cloistered away behind the draped opening of the department store dressing room. It’s only us but we’re totally exposed under the harshest lighting we’ve ever encountered in our life. What do we see when we gaze longer than a minute into that full-length, 360-degree vision enabling mirror? If we’re a teen, do we praise our lean legs, slender hips and perky breasts? If we’re a young mother arriving at our mid-30s, do we marvel at the strength of our thighs in their ability to carry a sleeping 2-year-old or a full load of laundry up two flights of stairs at the end of our long day? If we’re rounding that corner of life into our 50s, are we amazed at how our body has served us? Are we still feeling “fearfully wonderful” or do our true inner emotions and thoughts run closer to “fading fast” or “fiercely frumpy”? What foundations are carefully packed away within the recesses of our minds that we utilize to shape our self-image?
Every woman has “one of those days” at some time or another in her life. You know that sort of day; it’s the one when nothing fits or your hair just won’t cooperate. It’s the day when an extra five pounds showed up out of nowhere and now even your fat jeans won’t fit. Sadly, when that day arrives, we discover that our ideas about how we actually look as compared to how we think we ought to look have been influenced by the culture in which we live, as well as by the messages, truthful or false, that we choose to believe about ourselves. Many of us have been conditioned from a very early age to feel good or bad about ourselves based upon the number on the scale, on our driver’s license or on the tag inside the back of their jeans. Early on we bought into the lie that a large portion of our value is derived from our size, sensuality and attractiveness.
Determining to see ourselves as beautiful isn’t just a matter of denying that we have these “ugly” days. Sooner or later they do arrive. Successfully surviving the ugly days comes by determining ahead of time how we will respond to them when they happen. Rather than grabbing the chocolate or breaking out the ice cream and drowning our sorrows in pouts and mantras that include a list of our flaws and imperfections, each of us must prepare an emergency set of truths to gird ourselves and to feed to our inner being. These truths will prove just as valuable as the emergency cover stick, lip gloss or blotting cloths that we won’t leave home without. After all, what we choose to believe about who we are and about how we are created is foundational to how we carry ourselves and how we interact with our environment, as well as with those who occupy it.
|What Scriptures or truths do you have readily available to reassure you of your true beauty on those fat days, bad hair days and general blah-feeling days? Do you evaluate yourself based on more than an arbitrary series of numbers? Your value to God as His respected and cherished daughter is far greater than those hurtful words you may be listening to and perhaps even repeating over yourself. Mantras such as “You’re ugly,” “Nobody loves you” and “You don’t measure up” that may have originated outside of you can very quickly become your own thoughts and self-talk. Such destructive self-talk will lead to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors as well as to a poor self-image. It may also lead to jealousy, resentment and bitterness against God.
Followers of Christ are commanded to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). This Scriptural principle applies not only to the words that we speak to others, but to the things that we tell ourselves. Learning to apply these truths to our lives and to speak them over ourselves when the uglies arrive will help us to remember that we are fearfully and wonderfully female; glorious and unique in every detail.
Fabulous females come in all sorts of heights, shapes, sizes and colors. Each of us is God’s designer creation and as such we are as unique as the lilies of the field and the birds in the sky.
Embracing our uniqueness offers us an opportunity to display the artistic majesty of our Creator. Remembering that God created our bodies with purpose, reverence and respect will help us to understand how beautiful we are and to care for our bodies accordingly, even when we aren’t feeling at our most fabulous best. Zephaniah 3:17 states that God takes great delight in us, that He quiets us with His Love and that He joys over us with singing. Have you ever imagined God humming to Himself while working over you as His beautiful creation? Have you given yourself the freedom to be unique and different and to conform only to the image in which He made you, or are you still trying to fit the pattern presented in a movie, music video or television show? Start the transformation by assembling an emergency kit of truths that will act as a mirror to reflect the true beauty of you, and determine today to eliminate those negative thoughts and emotional responses. Shift your focus from what minor imperfections you think that you might see to focusing on the truth of who you are. Why be off the rack when you are meant to be haute couture?
Adapted from “Fearfully Female and Wonderfully Woman” by Cynthia W.Pratt, (Westbow/Thomas Nelson.) © 2011.
How To Feel Beautiful on an Ugly Day