Yesterday, I had a bit of an awkward moment.

Now, it’s not the kind of awkward moment that you have when your pants rip and your bright green underwear is showing, or when you make a fool of yourself in front of the guy you like.

It was the kind of awkward moment where someone says something to you and you just don’t know how to respond, so you stare blankly in their general direction, thinking, “Come on, you idiot! Say something!” Yet nothing comes to mind…

But the thing is, this should not have caused an awkward moment. This particular situation should not have made me blush; it should not have made me uncomfortable; it should not have made me want to disappear. But it did…

See, what happened was this: I was in the studio talking to my boss, Dani, right after they finished recording a radio show. We were talking about random things for a few minutes, and as I turned to walk out of the room, she said to me, “You are shrinking so fast!” I smiled and said, “Thanks!” (Is that what you’re supposed to say? I never know… But that wasn’t the awkward part…)

She then went on to say, “You have a really beautiful figure. Your body is going to shock you. You really do have a beautiful figure.”

I said nothing. I felt my face get red, and my heart started to race. Everything in me wanted to fight and argue with the statement she had just made. As I stood in silence, biting my lip, struggling to find the appropriate words to say in response to her comment, I had plenty of other words going through my head. Words I wanted to say. Words I wanted to scream…

“You’re wrong! My figure is NOT beautiful. I’m disgusting! I’m fat! I’m ugly! There is NOTHING beautiful about me.”

But of course, I could not expose the thoughts that went through my head in that moment. I couldn’t let her know how I really felt. I couldn’t expose the fact that in that moment, all I wanted was to disappear. So I stood there in awkward silence with a sheepish half-smile across my face until she went on with the conversation, changing the subject.

As I said earlier, this should not have been an awkward moment. It was not an oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-she-just-said-that kind of comment. Or at least it shouldn’t have been.

But for me, it was.

Because here’s the thing… If you have never been told you’re beautiful… And I mean beautiful. Not that your hair looks nice or you did a good job with your makeup today. I mean beautiful… Then being told that your form is inherently beautiful is quite shocking.

I experienced this yesterday. As I stood there in awkward silence, searching for the socially acceptable words to say while trying to hide the thoughts that were fighting to become words, I realized something inside of me that I do not like. That is that I am so quick to fight against positive comments regarding my outward appearance. Even comments about my figure, which my Father in heaven gave me; that’s not even something I can control! Yet I so quickly agree with the negative thoughts I have about myself. They are comfortable to me. It seems that is all I have ever known.

Sure, I’ve been called beautiful before. But I always just immediately accepted the fact that they were just trying to be nice, or it was a pity compliment.They couldn’t possibly mean it. How could they? Look at me…

Beauty is a tricky thing. There was a time in my life when I starved myself for days or weeks at a time, or I threw up after every meal, just so I could hear the words, “You are beautiful.” I craved those words. Those words were life or death to me. Those words determined how I thought about myself, how I treated myself. I put myself through hell, all to hear those words. I so desperately needed to be beautiful.

I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “Lord, why did you make me this way? Why have you done this to me? If you loved me, you would have made me beautiful.” I hated myself, and I hated God for making me this way. I cursed my body. I cursed God.

What a slap in the face to my Creator!

There’s a verse in the Bible that is thrown around so much, it seems to have lost its meaning. It says that God created man in His own image. God created people in His image. God created me in His image.

As I walked out of that room yesterday, this truth hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was created in God’s image. In His likeness. To resemble Him. (That’s what the word means in Hebrew…)

And yet, there I was, wanting to scream, “You’re wrong! My figure is NOT beautiful! I’m disgusting! I’m fat! I’m ugly! There is NOTHING beautiful about me!” There I was, demanding an answer from God about why He made me the way He did. There I was, carrying so much shame because of my outward appearance.

This revelation broke me. I had to get on my face and repent for the evil thoughts in my heart. I had to repent for the evil things I had done to my body. I had to repent for the judgment I had against myself, other people, and against God. I had to repent for the evil things I have said over and over again to my God, my Creator, my Father. I had to ask for forgiveness for all of those things, and more.

I have heard all of this before. It’s nothing new. (Trust me…when you are a “good Christian girl” struggling with an eating disorder while attending a Christian university, you’re going to hear these things a lot…a lot, a lot…) We are created in God’s image. He calls us beautiful. He doesn’t make junk. Blah, blah, blah… We’ve all heard it a thousand times…

But the truth is the Creator of the universe, who hung the sun, moon and stars, calls YOU beautiful. I never realized how powerful those words are. If God spoke and the world was created, then His words clearly have immeasurable power. If God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, then if He says you’re beautiful, then you are.

He says you are altogether beautiful. He says there is no flaw in you. He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says you are His workmanship. God saw all that He had made – including you – and it was very good.

This is a hard post for me to write. This is an emotional post for me to write. This is a healing post for me to write.

I know what He says about me. I’ve read it. I’ve heard it preached. I’ve read books about it. I’ve told others what He says about them. But my reaction to Dani’s words yesterday showed me that I do not believe what He says about me.

So today I am choosing to believe, even when I don’t feel it. I am seeking God in this and asking Him to dig out the roots, the mindsets, the beliefs, the habits that come out of my wrong belief system. I am choosing to walk in the TRUTH that because I was created in God’s image, I am inherently beautiful.

I cringed as I typed those last words – I am inherently beautiful. Those are 4 words I never thought I would say. 4 words I never thought I could say. 4 words that are extremely uncomfortable to say. But 4 words that are true. They are true about me, and they are true about you.

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11 thoughts on “When Being “Beautiful” Is Uncomfortable…

  1. As someone who has struggled with being overweight my whole life, I completely understand and empathize with you! Thank you so much for sharing!
    -Joycelyn

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  2. Sheesh. Mary, I have PM’d you because this confirms something for me…but WHAT A BEAUTIFUL piece of raw, honest, vulnerable and POWERFUL writing!!! You need to reach out and encourage others MORE with your writing skills and your beautiful heart x

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  3. Mary! I am beyond excited to see you writing this article… and I know you do not know this… but I remember the first time I met you… I told you that I thought you were beautiful and the spirit let me in on your secret! I said nothing as you politely said thank you and I could see that you did not believe it. I have been praying for you ever since! It has been years and I am beyond blessed to see this answer to prayer! This step in your healing and your coming to wholeness and seeing yourself as the stunningly, and yes inherently beautiful woman that you are! Whoohoo! sending ❤ to ya! Blessings!

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  4. Thanks for sharing. My story is so very close to yours that it is uncanny. The whole Christian college scenario while dealing with an eating disorder: ditto. I remember sitting in my dorm room and realizing that God loved me no matter what size I was. That was so freeing. I still had many more years to struggle with an eating disorder, that was the first big step. Thank you for your powerful and truthful words.

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  5. Mary, thank you for sharing this! You are certainly BEAUTIFUL both inside and out! But what I find more beautiful is your HEART! You are such a precious spirit and a gifted writer! Please don’t ever forget that my BEAUTIFUL friend! I love you!!! Xoxo 🙂

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