Some days… when standing before my reflection stripped of everything… motives, guilt, expectations, past images, I can honestly look at my body and speak the words of Psalm 139 with great certainty.
There are other days when I stand before the mirror and wonder whose body I’m trapped in and when the merger occurred. I look at my curves as too curvy. My hair appears dull. My laugh lines are deep and obvious. My image is distorted.
These are the times when the Father whispers my name, “Chosen one. Beloved daughter. I have called you by name. You are mine.”
I used to have such a hard time with the phrase, “Beauty is on the inside.” I felt like everyone I heard say it was unattractive and used it to self-soothe. (Mean and judgmental, I know.) Interesting how perspective changes when inner beauty is realized in others and strived for in oneself. It is much more difficult to acquire, maintain and increase than outward beauty. It is the great reminder that this “shell” is temporary. Appearance is fleeting. What’s on the inside will indeed show through…eventually.
I have found it fascinating how the inside begins seeping through the eyes and the smile. The mannerisms and responses. The posture and tone. I know several women over the age of 55 who have a rare beauty that a 20-year-old doesn’t even know to wish for and certainly could not understand. My perception of beauty now differs greatly from when I was 20 or even 26. I don’t think it can adequately be defined. It’s like trying to wrap ones mind around “forever.” It simply cannot be done.
Truth be told, twelve years of abuse to one’s body doesn’t just go away. I know that eating disorders in general are a phenomenon to many. For those of us walking through it, it could not be more real. Some days I wonder if I will ever have a healthy relationship with food. I wonder when I will stop wanting to bend over and vomit every time something passes my lips. I wonder when I will stop trying to force my curves into straight leg jeans. I don’t know?
What I do know is that when I stand up in front of your daughters and mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and friends and tell them that God made them with a purpose in mind and we should embrace the body he has created for us, I better be living what I’m speaking.
Some days I do. There are days when I have too much confidence. Those who know me well would attest to that. On the days when I’m not appreciating my laugh lines, the curve of my hips or the scar on my belly (that provided a safe delivery for our son) I remember the verse that I have given out to so many women and girls. “I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!” Psalm 139:14
I am not the crease in my brow or the lines encompassing my eyes. I am not the stomach lacking definition or the thighs that will never fit into a size 4 again. I am not the arms that hide from sleeveless shirts or the
boobs chest that is, at times, less than manageable. I am not the chin that is no longer well-defined or the insipid, brown hair on my head. The fact that more things jiggle when I walk than I would like, does not decrease my value or deflect me from my purpose. All of these things make up my physique, but they no longer define me.
I am a child of God. Made in his image. Created with great purpose and craftsmanship. I am his masterpiece. Dearly beloved. Beautiful in his sight. Purchased with his blood. Worth dying for.
And darling, so are you.
- Do those come in elastic waist? (joycannis.wordpress.com)
- What Makes a Mother Beautiful? Stylish Women Answer (bellasugar.com)
- Altogether Lovely | the be.loved blog (northoflove.wordpress.com)
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Joy, what a wonderful post! As the son of a mother, brother of four older sisters, husband to two wives (I should insert here that one is an ex 🙂 – which means son-in-law of two separate mother-in-laws and a father of one Daddy’s precious angel I have seen the effects introspection can have on women (the greatest gift to Man). As a man I can say with experience that we feel these self-esteem issues too, but most of us just can’t get out of our own way enough to share and heal from them. This is the way to healing – sharing openly and honestly – even when doing so makes us feel more vulnerable than we already are. It saddens me to know that so many of us have these obscured feelings about ourselves, but it’s downright scary to know so many don’t feel they can tell anyone (even the ones closest to them) how they feel. I know I’m but a mere man, but I applaud you and this awesome post; for I am confident this can/will help the healing process begin.
In His wonderful Grace,
This is so true, Mike!
Thanks for clarifying the 2 wife thing ;D
Thank you for reading and commenting. I really appreciate your encouragement.
I continue to battle with the very same….today I am struggling with my “self”
Thank you for hte reminder that we are more than flesh and that true beauty is not found on the outside but within.
Thank you, Julia.
Unfortunately, I think I will always struggle with “self” but thankfully I have a God who allows me to start fresh each day 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend!
What a beautiful and honest post. This is the type of post that moves people. Thank you for the reminder and for sharing it with all of us Joy
Thank you Cher!
Joy, I sat across the table from you Sunday and thought how very beautiful you are—not just in the way you look, but in the way you laugh with such easy abandon, interact with your boys with such deep love, and entertain a friend with such unfeigned graciousness. Beauty has many facets. The way we “look” may turn out to be the least important of all!
I so agree with you Pam. As I have gotten older external beauty has been bumped down the list as the list has gotten longer of other things that make a person beautiful to me. The things you mention and just the beauty in all of its facets of a person’s personality really is what makes them beautiful and gorgeous or not so.
Thank you Pam.
It’s interesting that you say that because I was thinking how beautiful and elegant you are while sitting across from you! 🙂 I think I’m going to print this and keep it on hand to show people when they comment on my loud laugh. 😀
Thank you for investing in my inner beauty. You have made such a difference in my life.