When Beauty is a Beast

Psalm139Some 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.

I do well most of the time, but when the body image monster sneaks up on me, it does so with a vengeance. I go from being comfortable in my skin to feeling like the reflection in a fun-house mirror. I wonder whose body I’m trapped in and when the merger occurred. I see my curves as too curvy. My hair appears dull. My laugh lines are deep and obvious. My image is distorted.

It’s no secret that my relationship with food and exercise is less than ideal.

(I’m honored to be writing for Leading and Loving It today. Will you join me over there and read the rest of this post?)


I was talking with a beautiful friend the other day about ghosts from the past. I have a few, as does she. Some of hers are just louder than mine.

She had been in conversation with a family member just hours before who had used the term “damaged goods” when referring to her. As she spoke the words through tears, I felt rage welling up in my spirit and showing itself all over my face.

Seeing the color of my cheeks change she added, “Joy, it really isn’t a big deal.”

“That is where you are wrong, darlin’. It is a very big deal. You are far from damaged.”

She cut my response short, “No, I kind of am. I would say it’s an accurate description.”

At this point in the conversation I had a couple of options. I could begin ranting about what a ridiculous self-assessment this girl was making or I could speak the truth in love. Please keep in mind that it infuriates me when someone allows another human being, mortal, flesh and blood, to strip them of their identity in Christ. What shakes me to my core is when that individual doing the stripping is a mother or other guardian who has been entrusted with shaping the life of someone else.

Thankfully I chose the latter of the two options.

“Here’s the deal, sugar. We all have things that can be categorized under the label ‘damaged.’ No one is worse than another. They are equal. Yours may look different from mine, but in God’s eyes, they are the same.” As these words were coming out of my mouth, I thought, “Do I believe this? Does my path of destruction look the same as what ‘church goin’, conservative clothes wearin’, orphan savin’, never kissed a boy, doesn’t sin unless by absolute accident, savin’ herself for marriage, non tattooed/pierced/scarred‘ girl’s destruction? Do I truly believe that? Hmmmm…I don’t think I do. Well, maybe I do. I hope I do. Sometimes…on a Tuesday…when the sky is blue…and cloudless…and all the planets are in line, I do.”

I had to come clean. “You know, it’s a difficult concept to fathom. At times I have trouble grasping it myself. But I know it’s true, because Jesus said it and He doesn’t lie.” We both agreed that neither of us could refute Jesus’ words.

As we left each others company that afternoon the wheels were turning in my mind. God is always on time, yes? This morning, Rodney Anderson spoke at Buckhead church. He took a passage from Luke 18 and explained it in such a comprehensive and applicable way.

He was talking about this very thing! Comparing and thinking better of oneself and praying as if God takes out His list to make sure we are worthy of being listened to. It doesn’t happen that way. It’s an awesome message that you can watch by clicking here.

He wrapped everything up with John 19:30 when Jesus said, “It is finished.” There is no longer a need for another human being, a middle man (if you will) to do our bidding for us. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and the comparing, accusing, condemning, rejecting was over. Now, whenever God looks at you and at me, He sees us through the eyes of His son, Jesus, who was and is the ultimate sacrifice for my “destruction.” And as Rodney explained so perfectly today, “That’s good news.”

Be encouraged. No matter the size of devastation along the trail you have blazed, Jesus is enough. He paid it all. Your ransom, my ransom has been PAID IN FULL.

Need a visual reminder? Click here