Let’s be real… we all want to believe that there is an inherent beauty in each one of us, except we find it dangerously difficult to believe this to be true of ourselves—that WE, you and I, are truly beautiful.We hand out compliments to others and can easily identify their own unique qualities while overlooking the bad, but when we get home and look in the mirror, we are disgusted. We all too often see errors, a double chin, and disappointment.After almost a year of writing True Beauty blog posts, I arrived at the point in my life this last week when I felt unlovable. I looked in the mirror and flinched at what looked back at me. I felt valueless, and I didn’t want anyone to see me. I wanted to hide.
You see, I had an incident with poison ivy that left my face lopsided, swollen, and covered in a red rash. My left eye was swollen almost shut and I looked like a scary Halloween creature from another world. While this was uncomfortable to say the least, it affected more than just the outside of my skin. It damaged my self-esteem to the point where I wanted to hide from the world and I felt useless. My face is a disaster? Then what use am I to the world?
Even once it began to heal, I still felt ashamed to go out in public. My husband reminded me of the handful of True Beauty posts I had written, and I sheepishly admitted that it’s a lot harder to walk the talk than to talk the talk.
Sure, nobody wants to be the center of attention when their face is twice the size it normally is, can you blame me? But how I felt I appeared to others on the outside directly influenced how I valued myself on the inside. True beauty? I let my plague define me for three days.
I went back to work at the school once my face began to heal, and teachers and students who looked me in the eye, regardless of my peeling face, and told me they had missed me, were my redeeming graces. They showed me that it is who I am, not what I look like, that really matters to them in the first place.We all have different issues we want to hide, and things about ourselves, inside and out, that we are ashamed of. Because of the grace of others, those around us often don’t even notice the blemishes we so often distain about ourselves. It is truly sad that we are our largest critics, oftentimes standing in the way of our own happiness. If only we would believe that WE too, are beautiful! Just how God made us.For my 25th birthday this year, I wanted to get some of my favorite girls together and do a photo shoot to document these amazing relationships that have blessed my life. When I look through these photos, I see beautiful women, and they are ALL beautiful. They are beautiful to me in different ways, and I never look at one and compare her to another. I need them all, just how they are, with their distinct beauty shining into my life. I thought to myself, if only each one of these ladies knew how beautiful she truly is…I hope we can all come to the point where we look past the poison ivy in our lives and see the wonderful creation God has made in each one of us. He made us just how He wanted us, and God doesn’t see the double chins, few extra pounds, or the acne. He sees what I see in these beautiful friends of mine—hearts full of love, compassion, and grace.Here’s to True Beauty.The truth about true beauty: “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.”
1 Peter 3:3-4All photos in this blog post are by Renae Plett of http://reflectiveimagesphotography.net/, aka my one and only “Sister from another mister.” Thank you for showing the true, inner beauty of so many people!