Beautiful

It’s 6:45am and I’m up, rolling around in the soft, squishy bed, but feeling restless. I’m either too cold or too hot and I can hear the baby moaning every now and then, which leaves me wide awake. Lemon is downstairs in her den, probably waking soon. Time to get up.

My plan is always to wake up, drink water, eat something, drink a cup of coffee and get ready to go to the gym. But as most plans go, it doesn’t always happen. This morning I am left with the small fact that the car keys are missing and I can’t find them. I have looked on the couch, in the couch, under the couch…I have looked on counters and in the mud room. I have looked under clothes and behind toys, but I still can’t find them. So here I am, writing instead because surely they will show up and then I can go later.

Writing is one of those places where your heart meets your mind. Your heart tells you what to write while your mind specifically expresses the need to write what your audience requires or wants. Now that we have ended our Trauma Series I feel at a bit of a loss on what to write about, so here we are, in a space of not knowing exactly what to say.

Yesterday was one of those magical days at the beach. The ocean always calls to me, because having longed for control over my life, it’s a place that I feel completely out of control in, while also safe. It’s as if I am standing near the breath of God; in and out, in and out. It’s powerful and as many have said before me, it’s such a wonderful thing to feel so small.

But our morning there was tainted; tainted by the hateful person that rises up inside of me and threatens the foundation of who I have become over the years. This voices looks straight into my soul and tells me that I will never be good enough because the simple matter of it all is that I am ugly.

So, there we are, me falling apart and angry because the pictures that Gabe was trying to capture of me reminded me of the lies I have spent my whole life believing. I am ugly. I am not enough. I don’t deserve to be in a picture. 

Now, it’s easy to say that’s not true. I know it’s not. And yet, I am still plagued by the irrational fear that if I don’t look a certain way, I’m undeserving, unworthy, unlovable. I think for many of us the desire to be beautiful is one of the most intense desires of our heart. And why is that? Why is it that more than anything else we just want to be beautiful?

Is it society that has engrained this desire in our hearts? Or is it something deeper? Is it because God put into our very beings a yearning for what is beautiful and perfect? I don’t know for sure, but I know that beauty has been sought after since the beginning of time, so while society has absolutely lied to us about a true standard of beauty…aren’t we created to admire beautiful things?

The Bible talks a lot about splendor and majesty; about clothing even the flowers in beauty (Luke 12:27). But when we read the Bible, maybe we can notice that the ones who obsess over the beauty of women tend to be men and other women, while the one who speaks of inner beauty as being most valuable is God (1 Samuel 16:7). 

I think we are created to love what brings joy to our lives, but as humans tend to do, we became confused on how to find the kind of joy that lasts; the kind of beauty that actually matters. While we have spent a lifetime praising outward glamour and charm, how many times have we overlooked the person who radiated an eternal, inner beauty that couldn’t be seen at first glance?

We so often believe that if we could somehow achieve the standard of beauty that society has created (because honestly, I think those of us that are fighting against that standard inwardly fight because it’s something we have personally felt victimized by) we might be accepted. We are still focusing on outward beauty, even now as we put body positivity on a pedestal (I am guilty too). We praise women for losing weight, yet rarely do we ask if they have found peace inside of their souls and with their own desire to be fed and nourished by the whole, God created foods that they are trying to sustainably eat. We have, even with all of our knowledge, biblical and otherwise, continued to grasp at the wrong thread of humanity and eventually it will all unravel, proving empty and meaningless.

I believe in loving your body, but I also believe in being challenged on the importance of loving soul over body. I believe in eating healthy and making yourself look and feel beautiful, but I also believe in creating lasting beauty that can’t always be seen by passerby. Your body is yours and it’s wonderful and capable and God created bodies to be enjoyed and cherished. But, that can’t be all that we see when we look at ourselves or another person. It can’t be all because it’s only a quarter of the story.

I didn’t choose my body. If I could pick any body to live in, I would not pick mine. And I probably will be angry at myself a many more times in this life for not looking a certain way. But, ultimately, I don’t get to choose what I look like and since I have been given this vessel, I will choose to love her and to grow stronger from the moments that I don’t. Your body does not define your personality or your heart. Love your body, but don’t forget to cultivate what is inside of you, because the beauty that can be found there is inestimable, while the beauty that glistens from your outward appearance is only here for a short time. 

Love and body positivity,

Sarah 

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