Hitler had his own idea of how to define beauty. He had it terribly wrong.
So, when we begin talking about beauty, it is important to define beauty. God loves beauty. God is beauty. Everything He creates is beautiful. One of my favorite things God created is a sunset. Add a gorgeous sunset to an endless ocean, a gentle breeze, and crashing waves and I could forget we are even on Earth because it feels so heavenly. It takes my mind to places of peace and joy that I don’t get in the nine to five work day. It’s God smiling at me, holding me, and whispering He loves me. He reveals Himself to us through what He has made. (Psalm 19 & Romans 1:20)
When He made the earth, God said everything He made was good. But, after He added mankind to the picture, He said it was VERY good. You are very good. You are beautiful. After all, you are made in the image of God and He is the epitome, the ultimate standard, for beauty. God is beauty.
So, when God looks at you, He looks at you like I look at a sunset nestling slowly into the ocean’s horizon. Perhaps He silences the angels and gathers His heavenly hosts to listen to your voice and to watch you do your thing, just as I gather my family and point to the majestic sky melting into night. He intended us to be perfectly beautiful, a reflection of His amazing love and kindness.
But, if we are made to be a reflection of beauty itself, why do we feel so ugly? We know we could never hush the heavenly chorus on our own whims and orchestration. In fact, we run for cover. Like Adam and Eve, we have hidden ourselves from God because we are ashamed. We are ashamed because we are not the beauty that God originally intended. Sin has defiled our hearts. Sin has made us ugly.
Adam and Eve went from having no idea that they were naked, completely free of any body image, to being ashamed of their bodies and running to hide. What changed? In that moment, they didn’t gain weight or age drastically. The only change was they had experienced sin. Sin changed everything. One of the things that sin changed was how they felt about their bodies.
3 Ways to Feel Beautiful Again:
1. Start Fresh.
Allow God to give you a new heart. Sin leaves us broken and bruised. It not only makes us feel ugly, it actually destroys us. Because of our own folly, we have become broken and ashamed. No one needs to convince us that we need God’s love and forgiveness; we know it. No one needs to point out our ugliness or our weaknesses. We are painfully aware of our ugliness. But God responds to us as He did to Adam and Eve in the garden when they hid themselves from Him. He calls to us. He calls us out of our hiding places. Our ugliness doesn’t scare Him. Our shame doesn’t cause Him to love us less. In fact, it moves Him to action.
It is our sin that caused God to dress himself with flesh and hang on a cross. He took our ugliness upon Himself. He carried it to the cross. He bled for us. He was bruised for us. He was killed for us. He was raised from the dead for us. And we live because of His death. We live and breath and have our being in His resurrection power. We are not just cleaned up. We are made new.
When God healed a man, Naaman, of leprosy, his wounds didn’t just go away. There was no scarring to remind him of the disease. God made his skin like new skin. He made Naaman’s skin like a baby’s. (2 Kings 5)
Jesus offers that to us. He offers us a brand new start and a completely healed heart. He offers the original, beautiful reflection of Himself for us. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 When God heals you, He makes you new. When you repent of sin that is destroying you, beauty is restored to its original state in you.
2. Win the War Against Sin.
Ah, this struggle with sin can make us feel ugly again. We sin, therefore, we feel ugly again. It’s a cycle that Paul knew well.
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” Romans 7:21
If you know what is causing you to hate your body and yourself, stop! Wage war against it. Jesus would often heal someone in the New Testament and say, “Now, go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) Stop sinning – not because He wants us to abide by a bunch of rules, but because sin destroys us. Because God wants us to live in the beauty that He planned for us, He tells us to stop sinning.
That’s easier said than done, right?
Perhaps the reason we can not overcome sin is because we won’t face it. We won’t admit that we have a struggle with a specific sin.
James 5:16 tells us that in order to be healed from sin we need to: “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
So, you don’t need to face sin alone. Fighting a war takes more than one soldier. Find a righteous person and put James 5:16 into practice so you may heal from the suffering sin has caused you.
3. Look into the right mirror: God’s Word
So, if God has made us beautiful and we are waring against sin, why do we still feel so ugly? It’s because we are not looking into the right mirror.
I really don’t like the state fair. It’s creepy. Everything seems a little skewed, especially the “fun house”. A person could knock himself out with the endless maze of mirrors. As if cracking your head on a mirror isn’t enough, the fun house displays huge carnival mirrors that distort your perception of yourself. Your head looks 100 times bigger and your body is twisted like a pretzel. It’s not a pretty sight. We can safely say that we look ugly in those mirrors.
That’s what the world does to us. It holds up endless mazes of carnival mirrors for us to view ourselves. We end up thinking there is something horribly wrong with us. We can’t get a clear picture of who we are because the mirror is distorted. Those mirrors are designed to confuse us. They are designed to give us a distorted image of ourselves. When we listen intently to people rather than God, we are looking into a distorted image of ourselves.
Often, people will tear one another apart. Often, people’s intentions are not pure and good. People may want to discourage us. Their language is meant to give us fear and discouragement. Realize that the opinion that others have of you may not be a clear reflection of who you are.
Surround yourself with people that build you up. Avoid people who are trying to keep you from enjoying the beauty God has for you. If you can not choose who you are around, be aware of what mirror people are thrusting in front of you. If it is a distorted image of yourself, know that it is a lie. But, make it your goal to be around people who encourage you to see yourself as God sees you. The only clear, accurate picture of who we are is God’s word.
James 1:23-24 “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
God says that His word is the mirror of our hearts. Look intently into God’s word, not the fashion magazines or pop culture. Don’t base your parenting upon popular television or base your decisions upon the five o’clock news. Instead of looking into the world that says you aren’t wealthy enough, smart enough, talented enough, thin enough, or strong enough…..
Look into God’s word and you will hear:
You “are fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139
I have “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11
“Fear not, I am with you.” Isaiah 41:1
Fill your mind with God’s word so that you will have a clear picture of how beautiful you are and how perfectly you are loved! Think on God’s word. When you are tempted to gaze at yourself in a distorted mirror of pop culture, remind yourself of what God says about you. Meditate on Him. View yourself covered with the love of Christ.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
God made you beautiful. Don’t settle for anything less.