So here we go. Another self-image blog…cool. When I first felt like I should write about this, it seemed so shallow. “Really, Lord? You want me to talk about my longing to be pretty? Isn’t there something deeper I could talk about?” Well, I am sure there are many other things I could write about, but the Father cares about this topic. Actually, He cares about it very deeply because He cares about me very deeply. When I struggle with hating the way I look or loathing what I see in the mirror, He is not waiting angrily for me to get over myself. He is desiring that I invite Him into this struggle. His heart is exploding to show me the way He sees me - the way He created me!
The Father really dealt with my heart about self-image about two years ago when I was very sick and gained weight rapidly. I felt disgusting and was constantly starting diets just to give up on them a few days or weeks later. I was about to go on a trip and was so frustrated with my body while packing to visit people I had not seen in a long time. The Lord spoke to me and said, “When people think of you, would you rather them say, ‘She is really pretty’ or ‘I feel so cared for and loved by Taylor. She is such a sweet lady.’” That was all He had to say! I would rather people feel loved by me than think I am pretty every day of the year. We can focus on our images so much that we lose sight of what is really important. When I think of amazing women in my life, I don’t think about their looks. I think about how they’ve poured into my life, their relationship with Jesus that I long to have, or what wonderful mothers and wives they are.
I am not saying that we should not be healthy. Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we should take diligent care of it. However, we should not be obsessed with looking like the Next Top Model. Feeling disgusted with our bodies and trying look a certain way for others are only symptoms of a much deeper problem. At the root of this self-image issue, there is a crack in the foundation of where our worth, value, and significance comes from. We are worthy, valuable and significant because we are daughters to the Father. Nothing more. We do not have to perform in any way. Nothing will change the reality that we are immensely loved by Him!
When I was sick and struggling with the way I looked, the Lord allowed me to briefly see myself as He saw me. I saw a picture of myself and knew the Lord was so very proud of me. He showed me that He saw a woman full of life, fighting to become a mother, with a sweet and kind heart. I cried my eyes out. The picture of myself was very realistic. I was my same weight, but my face was glowing with confidence in who I was. I want that to be my reality. I want to walk in the truth of how the Father sees me! I am a daughter. I am full of life. I love deeply. I value friendship. I am a committed mother. I am a faithful wife. When I speak those truths over myself, my body image seems to matter much, much less.
While working my way through this HUGE topic, the Lord helped me to narrow down our self-image struggles into three components: 1. The longing. 2. The lie we are believing. 3. The truth which will set us free.
THE LONGING: I want to be pretty. I want to be loved. I want to be valued.
It is a healthy longing to want to be valued, loved, and respected. It is how we respond to that longing that can get us into trouble. Striving to fulfill that longing through our own efforts will always leave us lacking. The only true fulfilment we can find for this longing is in knowing our value through Jesus Christ. I am valuable, loved, and I belong simply because I am a daughter of God. When I embrace that truth, I do not need to search for my value in anyone or anything else.
THE LIE: If I feel pretty enough then I will feel complete, loved, and worthy.
Culture has fed us a lie that the way we look is of the utmost importance. Not only is it important, it defines us. Society has painted a very specific picture of what “beautiful” is. Skinny, tan, long flowing thick hair, thigh gap, tall, flawless skin, long eyelashes… the list could go on. It breaks my heart to write out that list because it takes the creativity of how the Father formed us and says that it is all crap unless it meets those criteria. We have bought into the lie that we must look one certain way to be beautiful. We believe that if we achieve these beauty standards, then we will feel complete and worthy of love. It has become the norm for us to obsess over our looks. We believe it is acceptable to let thoughts about our appearance consume our minds.
THE TRUTH: I am worthy because I am a daughter of God. PERIOD.
I am not defined by my looks. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. How I live my life is so much more important than achieving the latest standard of beauty.
Father, help us to reset our minds and to know that being transformed into YOUR image is so much better than chasing an image of perfection. Help us to see ourselves as You see us. Help us to shake off the chains of our culture’s beauty standards. Teach us how to walk in confidence as Daughters of the most high King!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2
You are worthy. You are valuable. You are a daughter.