Real Talk: Beauty

VULNERABLE POST:

If we can just be honest, there are attributes about ourselves whether external or internal that we aren’t too pleased with. We imagine that if we had a particular kind of body, or if our hair was either curly or straight then we’d be better off. That then perhaps that guy will like you, or you’ll finally feel beautiful…

I’m here to tell you that no one lies to you more than you do, and no one talks to you more than you do. We are our biggest critics, and depending on if we are daily filling ourselves with God’s truth and grace rather than the deceitfulness of our flesh and Satan we will believe one over the other.

I chose to write specifically about beauty as it pertains to our skin and how this can affect our identity because a lot of women struggle with consistent break outs and blemishes. It ‘s embarrassing, we want to hide sometimes, and easily forget who we are in Christ. Instead of only sharing my story, I asked three of my friends if they wouldn’t mind answering questions about this sensitive topic. I am BEYOND proud, encouraged, and thankful for their willingness to share. I hope that as you read their different responses you see that these beautiful women, “…Who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.” – Psalm 34:5

Meagan Le

Q: What is the world’s idea of beauty and how has this affected you and how you have viewed yourself?

A: The world’s idea of beauty requires women to obtain a certain image that is unattainable. To the world, a woman should always have makeup on, be a certain weight and have curves in all the right places. We see this in movies, television shows, social media, billboards, commercials and so much more. There is a pressure on women to meet a certain standard and if she doesn’t meet that, she would be considered less than beautiful. I have struggled with having cystic acne over the last 12 years of my life. As time went on and my acne got progressively worse, I struggled with self condemnation and low self esteem. I was trying to meet the requirements of what I thought the world required of me and I was left exhausted and depressed.

Q: What is a memory or share instances where you felt discouraged or not pretty upon struggling with acne? 

A: There were several moments in my life where I was felt like the acne on my face was a disease.             My acne was uncomfortable. It felt like a never ending saga. A deep pimple would go away and another one would pop up. I was incredibly frustrated because I tried every over the counter face wash and moisturizer. I even went to the dermatologist. A family member would ask me if I had washed my face and if I took care of myself. She would always comment about how pretty I would look if I didn’t have pimples. It was really hurtful and because of all of her comments, I struggled with a lot of  shame which led to self loathing and low self esteem. I would avoid looking into mirrors because I hated looking at myself.

Q: How did you cope with this false view of yourself?

A: Honestly, I didn’t know how to cope with this false perception of myself. I lived in denial that I wasn’t struggling with shame and the pain of having to deal with acne on a daily basis.

Q: As you have learned more of who you are in Christ Jesus, how has this shaped your identity?

A: God has been so kind and gracious to reveal lies that I was believing about myself. He started breaking off chains in me by having me refer back to scripture. The two scriptures that I cling onto daily is Genesis 1:27 and Psalm 139:13.

  • Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created." him.Remembering that God has created me in His image is the forefront of truly understanding that I don’t have to look to self approval and the approval of others. One time, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Meg, if you are telling me that you hate what you see, you’re basically telling the artist that you hate his masterpiece.” I was moved and deeply convicted by that truth and it has literally changed the way I see myself and the way I view others.
  • Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful. I know that full well."As I am praising God, my eyes shift to Him and not myself or my circumstances. This scripture helps me see that everything that God has made is good, even the imperfections of my skin. As I started truly believing that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”, God was restoring everything that the enemy was taking away from me. He restored my identity, the way I viewed myself and my self-esteem.

Q: When do you find yourself needing to speak the Gospel over you the most when the devil is attacking your identity in God?

A: I find myself needing to speak the Gospel over myself everyday as a reminder that I my identity is always in Him.

Q: As confident women in Christ, walking this thing out day-by-day, what is some encouragement you could give other women who struggle with blemished skin and other beauty abnormalities?

A: My encouragement to anyone who is struggling with blemished skin to remember that their imperfections are beautiful to the Lover of their soul, their Heavenly Father, the Creator of this universe. As we remember to surrender ourselves to the Lord, He starts restoring and rebuilding us. Remember that our God is good. He wants to hear your worries and concerns. He cares about you and He never leaves. Your blemished skin is apart of your journey. Embrace this season. My prayer is that you would see and experience the goodness of God despite your circumstances. Your skin may change and fluctuate but our God doesn’t. He remains constant. Sister, you are made in His image which is wonderful and beautiful in all its ways. 

Sydney Daigre

Q: What is the world’s idea of beauty and how has this affected you and how you have viewed yourself?

A: During the last couple years, I feel like the idea of beauty has somewhat taken a shift. A shift from full coverage almost unreal look to a “natural” idea of outer beauty, HOWEVER, even this “natural” shift perceives a false look. You see commercials and media portray natural as flawless skin. Skin without a red mark, dark spot, or blemish in sight. “Natural” is a body without a stretch mark, cellulite, or scar. Natural is beautiful, if and only if natural means flawless.

Media misses the mark on covering the full spectrum. My natural is problematic skin. My natural is not perceived as beautiful to the world. Or so I have been told.

Q: What is a memory or share instances where you felt discouraged or not pretty upon struggling with acne? How did you cope with this false view of yourself?

A: There has been plenty of instances where acne has had a stronghold on me. For events, for parties, for gatherings, all of the above, you could find me praying with everything in me,  that a nasty breakout would not occur prior to the event.
Which in most cases, despite the desperate prayers, homegirl had to rock that bold accessories I like to call Mt. Pimple.

I will be honest when I say sometimes my coping is crying it all out, throwing a little fit, saying what I need to say and then laying it down at God’s feet. but the I pick myself back up and let my heavenly father do the rest to remind me who I am. I do my best to not just cope with my current insecurity, but to do my best to continue to cut away at the root till I thrive.

Q: As you have learned more of who you are in Christ Jesus, how has this shaped your identity? How do you see yourself now in light of what you just said?

A: I wear scripture tattooed on me loud and proud. 1 Samuel 16:7 “ The world judges by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” This was my first ever tattoo many moons ago. So to put this in perspective, this is a battle of mine that has come and gone for years. It is my toughest battle. HOWEVER,My skin does not define me. My skin doesn't get a say in what I can and cannot do.  My identity is not defined by my outer appearance. I am everything my Father calls me. Nothing less. I will choose to turn my ear to the voice of my creator, rather than to the lies of the enemy.

Q: When do you find yourself needing to speak the Gospel over you the most when the devil is attacking your identity in God?

A: Real talk, my mornings are hardest. Standing in front of that mirror every single morning is my kryptonite. I fall apart more times than I want to admit. But it is also is the highlight of my day, because in that moment, I allow myself to silence my thoughts and let God start speaking over me. He reminds me of my purpose, of all the beauty He poured into me. He reassures me that He has a spouse for me and my current situation doesn't change that. He shows me His goodness in how far He has brought me. He reveals to me stories from His word of those who put up the good fight and had unwavering faith.He is so faithful. Even when I choose to ignore His truth.

Q:As confident women in Christ, walking this thing out day-by-day, what is some encouragement you could give other women who struggle with blemished skin and other beauty abnormalities?

A: Simple: believe me or not, you are so absolutely beautiful in every way. We can be our own worst enemy. You may see imperfections galore, but other see and feel a beauty that is uncomparable. And my darling, if you ever for one second believe your acne, or abnormality is not considered “standard beauty” I hope you know standard has  nothing to the light you carry.  

Side note, I used to believe that acne was punishment from God, for not pursuing Him daily or forgetting to read the Bible, silly things like that. As I currently walk through healing, I realize that because of my acne and me seeking out healing( via homeopathic doctors) It has lead my doctors to discover deeper issues within my body early on-- saving me from issues later on.

I have made a conscious decision to  let the Lord speak to me through this journey. Letting Him use me in any way He pleases and although my acne has held me back most of my life, God is choosing to let my acne propel me and He is using me, blemished skin and all more than I ever imagined.My darling, ask to see yourself through His eyes, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Q: What does beauty mean to you to you now from a biblical perspective?

A: Beauty is what you carry on the inside. Beauty is in the way you do life with others. Beauty is pursuing the Lord with every bone in your body. Beauty is believing you are who He says you are. Beauty is believing He is good, no matter your circumstances. Beauty is getting up over and over again when the world knocks you down. Beauty is not what the world says it should be, but what you choose to make it. Beauty is me, Beauty is you. 

Kassandra Jackson

Q: What is the world’s idea of beauty and how has this affected you and how you have viewed yourself?

A: I believe the world’s idea of beauty is all about outward appearance and being pleasing to others. It has affected me as woman with trying to “keep up” with what everyone is doing. 

Q: What is a memory or share instances where you felt discouraged or not pretty upon struggling with acne? How did you cope with this false view of yourself?

A: Picture days back in high school were a struggle for me. I didn’t wear makeup like I do now. I remember attempting to cover my face with my hair for every picture day to help with not seeing much of my facial acne 

Q: As you have learned more of who you are in Christ Jesus, how has this shaped your identity? How do you see yourself now in light of what you just said?

A: Learning more of who I am in Christ has helped me to love myself more and more. That some things that I may not like about myself can be changed and if they can’t be changed, I can change how I view them with The Word of God hidden in my heart.

Q: When do you find yourself needing to speak the Gospel over you the most when the devil is attacking your identity in God?

A: When my acne is becoming more revealing is when I need to remind myself who I am. I am not my acne on my face and I don’t need to find a reason to cake up with make up to make me feel beautiful outwardly. Embracing my naked skin is me telling myself that God loves me for who I truly am.

Q: As confident women in Christ, walking this thing out day-by-day, what is some encouragement you could give other women who struggle with blemished skin and other beauty abnormalities?

A: I would encourage my sisters that when we believe that we are daughters of God and that He fashioned us and created us who we are, the way we are, and how we are by design. We can make a choice to thank God and give Him praise, because we are not and never will be exactly like someone else. The lie form the enemy that says we must look to this “specific standard” to be beautiful outwardly should not shape our identity. I would also like to say that not only spiritually should we maintain our confidence, but even physically. I must say this, because I would be naive to just give you a spiritual answer, but The Word of God also says: “Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,”1 Corinthians 6:19. So this is physical too sisters, we must be willing to change some habits if we know we need to. If we are able to choose a fruit over a chocolate bar. Let’s do that sis! If we can choose a salad over McDonalds and Taco Bell. Let’s choose a salad. Using wisdom in our decisions of what we eat and drink as well as what kinds of products we are using on our skin can help so much in this process, because we are showing Christ that we care for our physical just as much as He wants us to care for our spiritual bodies. There must be a balance.

Q: What does beauty mean to you to you now from a biblical perspective?

A: Beauty to me means INWARDNESS and the recognizing the reality of who we truly are in The Lord’s eyes. I believe what is in us will come out of us (Physically and spiritually) and because we are daughters of God He lives within us. He has called us beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). We’re unique and created by design. He knew we would have blemished skin or beauty abnormalities in our lifetime, but those things do not stop His love for us! He doesn’t pick or choose who looks better and who does not, He is looking at our hearts more than anything. He wants us to embrace our differences and stop comparing ourselves. What makes us our minds believe that we are different or abnormal in our appearance all stems from comparison.

May these stories and pictures encourage and inspire anyone who is struggling with feeling beautiful. You ARE simply because God makes no mistakes. Be BOLD in the skin you're in whether you're wearing make up or not. You're so much more than your skin lovely. 

Zuleika SpearsComment