I’ve always heard that beauty comes from within. There’s wonderful quotes from famous writers and actresses like Audrey Hepburn who said,
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”
Or Kahlil Gibran who said,
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
And the fact that beauty should come from within is backed by scripture. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says,
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
If I’m being completely transparent, I’ve been feeling so ugly. My self-esteem and self-confidence haven’t exactly been the best. I’ll do my hair, my make-up will be on point, and my outfit will be one of the cutest ensembles I could throw together. And I’ll get ready in the morning and I’ll look in the mirror and wonder why I still don’t feel beautiful. I will stand there and look at myself and question why I don’t feel pretty or why I’m not confident in myself. I’ll leave my room and instead of walking around campus in self-confidence, I’ll walk around feeling less than.
It’s sad, I know, but at least I’m being honest. What stuns me is that I know I’m beautiful. I don’t need compliments or people telling me I’m pretty in order for me to know that I look good. I don’t entirely care if people think I look good or not. What bothers me is that I personally don’t believe that I look good. The struggle lies in believing what I know. I know plenty of things about myself, but whether or not I actually believe it is a completely different story.
I mean it is everywhere in the Bible that God says we are beautiful and how valued we are, but I’ve just been questioning why exactly I don’t feel beautiful or why exactly I don’t see myself the way that God sees me. And in my constant thoughts about this, I was able to see a little more clearly the root of the problem. I started this post with some quotes and scripture to allude you to the real reason I don’t feel pretty. The real reason I don’t feel beautiful is because there is no beauty coming from within. There is something inside that is causing me to feel ugly, and it has reached to the outside to where I physically feel ugly too.
Lately, I have had to face a lot of insecurities that I never even thought I had, but I’ve been trying to keep myself busy so I can avoid my emotions. It’s been this constant back-and-forth of facing the problem and then blocking it so I don’t have to think about it. I don’t know how to deal with them, and there is a slight bit of dramatization behind that statement. But one moment, I’m asking God for peace so I can face the problem directly. And the next, I’m trying to focus on reading for class so I don’t get overwhelmed with worrying about it. But the more and more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m crying out to be cleansed.
There is a quote by Thomas Chalmers that says,
Such is the grasping tendency of the human heart, that it must have a something to lay hold of – and which, if wrested away without the substitution of another something in its place, would leave a void and a vacancy as painful to the mind, as hunger is to the natural system… The heart must have something to cling to..”
So I use that quote because I have recently lost someone in my life that I really depended on for a lot of comfort. In losing that person, I have realized a void that I’ve been trying to replace with other things whether that’s my school work or the search for a new best friend who will bring me that comfort that I desire. I’ve been trying to fill it with things that will not bring everlasting satisfaction, so I’m left with a heart that is full of discontent. And in that, I have been able to see how much of that dependence was not resting in God. And in confronting that sin, I’ve had to ask for repentance because I’m aware of what I made an idol in my life.
When you think about being cleansed in the natural, you think about being washed, feeling refreshed, and feeling like you’re new. There’s a reason why we look at new-born babies and see them as innocent and pure. They are the fresh additions to our world, untouched by society’s pressures. And in the same way, that is what I felt like when I gave my life to Christ. He washed me of my sins and made me whole. He cleansed me, made me feel new, and He made me feel pure.
But in light of my current situation, I cannot feel any of those things until I confess my sins to the One who can actually cleanse me. 1 John 1:9 is clear in saying,
If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
There is no need for me to try and hide from my sin or try to keep myself busy so I can avoid it. If I do, then I’m being just like Jonah who ran away when God was trying to speak to Him. There was a purpose and a calling that God was trying to demonstrate through Jonah, and God constantly pursued Jonah no matter what it took. In his case, it took him being swallowed by a whale. And although no one has been swallowed by a whale in the last few centuries, we all have things in our lives that have swallowed us. We have things that are suffocating us, reasons why we feel like we aren’t able to move forward in our walk with Christ, or reasons why we don’t feel beautiful. It is a call and a challenge to face our sins and submit them to God. If we take the time to surrender, God is so faithful to forgive us, fill us with the things that we need, and constantly give us grace.
So what are you running away from? What are you hiding from that God is calling you to submit to Him?