Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Pain of Beauty

This post will be a little more personal than normal, a little more transparent and a little more difficult for me to write. But, I have a pretty big suspicion I'm not the only one who feels the way that I do, and if my struggle can help someone else, then its well worth any embarrassment I might feel from exposing my insecurity. And this is largely what this post will be about - my insecurities!

Before I go any farther, I have to establish what I believe to be my inner-most desires. I have long known them, they are not something new to me - but they never cease to cause me trouble! I read this book a long time ago, called Captivating (by John and Stasi Eldrige) that not only validated my desires, but also showed me that these desires may not be just specific to me. In other words, it may be a girl thing! And that maybe these desires aren't bad, or wrong, but just need to be channeled or focused in the right direction.

So its time to bare my soul...
1) I desire to be beautiful, inside and out.
2) I desire to have someone notice my heart/beauty, and validate my worth.
3) I desire to be loved and treasured and pursued.
4) I desire to be a part of a greater purpose!

Okay, so I'm sure these all seem very cliche and well "duh.. you're a girl.. girls want to be beautiful, etc." but I don't think people really get how deep these desires run in girls (especially guys!) and how much they effect how we respond in daily situations and  how we view ourselves, etc. Maybe these just apply to me, and don't apply to all girls across the board, but I think in some way, every girl struggles with some aspect of this! I know in my own life, that these questions (because they really are questions... "Am I beautiful? Am I worth loving? etc) have often overwhelmed me. I think some situations in my life have caused me to struggle with my self-worth more than the average girl, but at the same time I would be very surprised to meet a girl that claims to have never struggled with her self-worth!

Like they say in Captivating,  its easier to see these desires in little girls - because generally, we want to dress up, we want to be the 'princess,' we want to show ourselves off and hear our dads compliment us - and then as we grow up we still want to be beautiful (which may translate for some of us to 'sexy') and we want the attention of guys, we want to fall in love, and we will often cause ourselves heartache by letting ourselves be controlled by these desires.And I am no stranger to that!

And its tough, because the world seems to tell us that if we don't fit the stereotypical model of beauty, if we aren't thin, if we aren't wearing the trendy or sexy clothes, then we won't be considered beautiful, and then consequently we aren't loveable. A lot of girls look at magazines and movie stars or even girls that more closely fit the 'ideal' and feel despair at not measuring up to those standards, and will try many different  ways to become like 'them.' Or they may simply give up, resigning themselves to being "ugly" or "unlovable". Somehow we have gotten it into our heads that only things/people that are beautiful are worth loving. And indeed, society seems to perpetuate this idea. And if you're like me, and you take that to heart, it can be heartbreaking! 

I don't know if its because of my parents divorce, or the general emotional absence of my dad, or what it is - but I have over the course of my life struggled with believing that I was worth loving. That anyone would take the time to truly get to know me and STILL love me after finding out all my flaws. If you really know me, will I still be worth your time? And what about my physical appearance? I am not thin, I am not the stereotypical beauty! I still remember the day that I stared at myself in the mirror and cried. And the day someone close to me told me that "no guy will ever want you unless you lose weight" - multiple times they told me that. It was like hammering in the nail. I am not sure of who I am on the inside OR on the outside. Loneliness is a girls worst enemy. And it scares us. We don't want to be alone. This has caused me to shed many tears!

And all this insecurity can lead to trying to fill those desires with the wrong things. For girls, we generally attempt to find our worth in a guy. If I have a boyfriend, that means that I must be worth it - but I better make sure I keep myself pretty, that I make sure I'm what he wants, otherwise I'll lose the one thing that I believe validates who I am. But a guy isn't the only thing we can use to validate our worth - it can be success, family, friends, etc. But at the back of our minds there is always that nagging question, "Am I really enough? Am I worth anything?"

And for a good chunk of my life, and even now, I suffer from the "one-day-my-prince-will-come-syndrome" and it really is a terrible thing to base your self-worth on. Because if "he" doesn't come, if "he" doesn't choose you, then you start to believe what Satan wants you to believe: that your worthless, unlovable, not worth anything, not worth fighting for.And even if "he" does...insecurity will still hound you! What if you lose him? What if he doesn't treat the way you want to be treated? Its such a load of crap... but so easy to believe!

And this brings me to the good thing about these desires! I believe I have these desires for a reason. I believe you, whoever you are, have the desire to be loved, to be beautiful, for a reason. Because God gave us those desires - and He intends for those desires to be satisfied by Him.He gives you those desires, those longings, so that you will be drawn to Him. Because He is the lover of your soul. But Satan also wants to destroy this... he doesn't want you to realize this. He wants to keep you trapped in insecurity, fear, and self-loathing.

And this is the portion of the post where I begin to preach/talk to myself - because I know these things in my head, but I don't think they have really penetrated my heart yet. I still really struggle with this!

God loves me. LOVES me. ME.
God loves you. LOVES you. YOU.

And He made me the way that I am. He says I'm beautiful. He loves, He cherishes, He pursues, He values, He respects, He protects, He provides for, He challenges... ME. YOU. Even though the world/Satan may try to tell me that I have no worth a part from my outside appearance... God looks at the heart! And He loves us even when we don't feel pretty on the inside! Even when our hearts are full of sin and struggle and weakness. He still loves us. He still pursues us. He still is with us. He still has plans for us!

When I am lonely, He is with me. When I feel worthless, He shows me His love.

My desire to be beautiful is met by God.

My desire to be loved is met by God.

My desire to be cherished and treasured is met by God.

My desire to be  a part of a greater purpose is met by God.

And I desperately need to get the idea that "beauty" is the deciding factor of whether or not I am loved out my head and heart. Because that's a lie. And I need to get the idea that some allusive "guy" will solve all my insecurities out too. Because 'he' won't. He may even make them worse!

I don't want to live with my heart on my sleeve because I need someone to tell me that I have worth.
Thats a road that leads to heartache, and I have experienced it enough times to know that.

But my heart is slowly learning.... and I really wish it would learn faster!! These desires can be really burdensome!

Jesus loves me so much that He died for me. HE DIED FOR ME. I can never, ever experience a love like that any where else. His love is THE reason for me to live. His love makes me beautiful. And He delights in me! What does it mean to be delighted in?! I am not entirely sure, but I know that my heart longs for it!

This is an incredibly long post, but this issue is so central to who I am, so central to me as a woman, as a girl, as a daughter of the King. And I need to get it.

You need to get it. You are loved. Period. You are worth Him dying! Period.  And this goes for guys as well as girls! You don't need to be perfect, or beautiful. God delights in your quirks, the things that make you - you, the funny way you laugh, everything - because He made you! You don't need to hide who you are - and you most certainly don't need to pretend that you have it all together, or that you are something that you are not, or that if you make a mistake - the game is over and you are no longer worth loving.

Honestly though, I don't know if I am even getting it. Its too good to be true - but I firmly believe that these desires are not meant to tear me down, but are meant to build me up in my identity as a daughter of the King, as the bride of Christ.

I pray that both you and I get this... because the pain of believing we are not loved is not worth it.And not what God intended for us.

1 comment:

  1. Brie,
    There is lots to respond I will need to come back to this!
    But, that is a lot of stuff to be sifting through!
    I can understand where the lie that self-worth is found in physical beauty comes from...I think we can both put a face to those lies, however...we also know that our battle is not against flesh and blood.
    This week I found myself speaking to a youth the verse "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free"--and how the Truth is a person!
    I am reminded of two verses: "while were yet sinners, Christ died for us"
    and 1 sam 6:7 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”


    "The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace"

    anyhow, I will continue these thoughts later i must sleeeeeeeeep! love you, and you are VERY beautiful, inside and out!