In Others’ Words: The God of Beauty

Beautiful You 2015

For so many years I didn’t know what to do with that word — Beautiful.

It didn’t apply to me, and yet I kept running into it and being reminded I wasn’t one of the beautiful girls. Not even close.

Now why, you might wonder, would I think that? Pretty simple: I heard in blunt terms that I was ugly.

NOTE: Please don’t rush to the comment section and refute this statement. For the sake of this blog post, I’m telling you what was truth for me for a lot of years. Just being honest — uncomfortably so — because today’s quote reverberated deep in my soul.

When the UGLY label gets slapped on you and you’re not old enough or strong enough to tear it off your soul … or worse, if you believe that label belongs on you … well, you abandon BEAUTIFUL.

But here’s the truth: I was staring into the wrong mirror for years — I was in my thirties before I thought I was pretty. But appreciating my eyes or my smile — that’s not even the point.

If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself …

For years I couldn’t see anything beautiful … anything valuable about myself. I kept waiting for someone else to tell me I was worthwhile, that I’d done well, that I was somehow beautiful in their eyes.

And I’d believe them for maybe an hour. Or two. Possibly overnight. And then I’d go right back to being ugly again. My beauty had no basis, no firm foundation.

If you’ve been around this blog long enough, you know where this is going, right? Straight to God. I finally believed Psalm 139:14: … I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

And then I heard a song and I sang the words and let them sink deep into my bruised soul about (paraphrased) if God made everything beautiful, what does that say about me?

In Your Words: (Can’t believe I forgot to invite you all to join the conversation. Sorry.) How’s that mirror working for you? And what kind of “mirror” are you for others?

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10 Comments

  1. February 4, 2015, 7:51 am   /  Reply

    I had to think about this one.

    I guess that for me, it boils down to this – when one is looking into a mirror, one can’t see the world we’re here to engage as Christ’s hands and feet.

    I was told that I’m physically ugly; that I’m not easy to live with; that my worldview is so alien that I’m really no fun; that I scare people because it looks as if I see them through a gunsight. (Not as a child…I was told some of that last week.)

    But I don’t care, really, because in the end it’ll all pass away. I do my best, but you can’t please everyone. Sometimes you can’t please anyone.

    So…goodbye to the mirror, and to the comparison it engenders; when I look in the mirror I’m refuting what others have said, but what they’ve said is still operative in my personal paradigm.

    Pitch the paradigm, pitch in, and get to work. Look outward, and reach out.

    • February 5, 2015, 5:28 am   /  Reply

      Andrew,
      I’ve read and re-read your comment and this one statement gets me every time: when one is looking into a mirror, one can’t see the world we’re here to engage as Christ’s hands and feet.
      That is one of the best things you’ve ever said, my friend.

  2. February 4, 2015, 8:17 am   /  Reply

    Hey Beth, I’m sure this was a hard post to write and I appreciate your transparency. I was told the same things you were all my growing up years, both at home and at school. Having that hammered into your being creates a whole host of problems that even when I received Christ as an 18 yr old, it took another 20 years or more for me to really be able to look at myself and realize I have worth (and beauty) because of Him. Hugs and blessings, sweet friend!

    • February 5, 2015, 5:27 am   /  Reply

      Anne:
      You’re right, this wasn’t the easiest post to write, but the minute I read the quote, I knew I had to write the post! The minute I met you at Blue Ridge, I was graced by your sweet beauty — and counted you a friend.

  3. February 4, 2015, 9:29 am   /  Reply

    I walked that road, the one of looking in the wrong mirror. Mine usually said “Rejected” to me. “Less than,” “Not worthy.” And it didn’t come from my family, thankfully. It was from peers in my young years. Those messages stay with a person for a life time. God reminded me that I am His, and He delights in me. That makes me enough. I’m His girl, and that makes me beautiful in His eyes. And His eyes are the ones that matter most.

    I agree with Andrew. Mirrors tend to encourage comparison. And I always come out on the short end when I compare myself with others. I’m slowly re-training my brain to think differently about these things. It’s a gradual process of re-writing those messages that I believed for all those years.

    • February 4, 2015, 10:19 am   /  Reply

      Jeanne, for what it’s worth, there is some of that re-writing process implicit in your blog.

      You blaze a trail for those of us who don’t know how or where to start, and that may be why so many people love you so much.

      Yeah, buddy. WE. LOVE. YOU.

      Deal with it.

    • February 5, 2015, 5:26 am   /  Reply

      Jeanne: I think another word for “mirrors” could be “voices of authority.” And yes, I’ve changed up my “mirrors” as I’ve traded lies for truth and learned what love sounds like.

  4. February 4, 2015, 12:35 pm   /  Reply

    Oh Beth. I was mistaken for a boy so many times as a child. It was really confusing. Because the thing was–I felt beautiful inside–and when no one sees that reflected on the outside, it hurts. I love this post. 🙂

    • February 5, 2015, 5:24 am   /  Reply

      Jill: I think it’s wonderful that you felt beautiful on the inside no matter what people were seeing on the outside. 🙂

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