Little known fact about me: I wish I was African American. I love their incredibly beautiful skin and amazing hair! But this blog post is not about race. That’s another discussion for another time.
At the camp where I work there is a different group of campers every week. This week the campers are a group of middle schoolers, and they are quite ethnically diverse. This morning while I was washing dishes I was admiring the beautiful African Americans, secretly wishing I had dark skin like them.
Later in the day I went into the bathroom on my break to find four of the gorgeous African American girls in there. I went into a stall, and the girls began to talk very negatively about their bodies. One would point out something she didn’t like (my thighs are huge,) and another one would try to one-up her (do you see my stomach?) They compared how much they weighed, and argued about if they were fat or not. As I listened, my heart was breaking for these beautiful girls.
It was odd to me. I wanted to look like them, with their stunning dark skin and amazing hair. They wanted to look like me, with my 5’3 1/2″ height and petite frame. None of us were satisfied with what we’d been given.
The girls left the bathroom, and as I came out to wash my hands my heart ached for them. I longed to make a big sister move and tell them how God sees them, but the moment didn’t present itself, and deep in my heart I knew that I struggle with a poor self-image just like they do. I don’t bemoan my thighs, but I do belittle my face. I don’t loathe my stomach, but I do lament my feet. How am I any different from them?
Then God hit me with a profound realization. Just as my heart broke for those beautiful middle school girls, God’s heart breaks for beautiful me. Soul punch right there! God “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13.) To him, I have unconditional beauty, and when I refuse to accept that, it breaks his heart.
I want to stop breaking God’s heart. I’m tired of my poor self-image. I know changing how I see myself will not be easy. I’ve fought this battle before, and honestly, I have yet to win. Our society likes to define beauty as something unattainable. To make matters worse, Satan hates beauty, and manipulates it in any way he can. The odds are not in my favor. And yet, this war is worth fighting. With God on my side, I may lose this battle, but I won’t lose the war.
I’m going to start with praying this prayer and end with finally seeing my beauty as it is: unconditional. Who’s with me?