Caravan Sonnet: Feeling Unbeautiful

1/18/16

Feeling Unbeautiful

“How beautiful you are my darling! Oh how beautiful!”
-Song of Songs 1:15-

One of the real aspects of womanhood is the issue of feeling unbeautiful. Many times events can cause us to question our beauty. Single gals who don’t have a husband to whisper sweet words to us, can question our looks.  Many singles have expressed that because they feel that they haven't been "picked" to be a girlfriend, fiance', or wife they feel ugly and unbeautiful. There are times when I have looked around at everyone I know who is married and thought "if I was just a little more pretty...maybe then I would be married"

And its not just the single gals who struggle. Just this past weekend I heard from a couple of my friends who are struggling with this tender topic of beauty. One thing that was interesting to me was that each of them qualified their thoughts by saying a version of, "I know it sounds silly" or "I know this sounds vain" and I realized that I do the exact same thing when I speak on this topic... and lets be real... if I speak of it at all. Why? Because there is a part of me that thinks that maybe I shouldn't feel that way... or that it is vain... or that there are more important things in life to be concerned about. And perhaps there are... but there is also nothing as important as our fragile hearts.

Several months ago I posted on instagram about this topic and said the following: 

 "Today was difficult in a way that is hard to share. It wasn't the 12 hour testing at the hospital but instead it was emotionally difficult due to a comment from a stranger about my weight. For many women the subject of weight and the topic of beauty is a sensitive subject. This particular comment brought me into a ton of tears and hurt. The truth is that Lyme has affected my physical body in a thousand different ways, including my weight. Different (and life necessary) meds have changed a lot of things and made me gain weight, making me feel like Lyme takes away everything including self-esteem."


What I didn't share because I was utterly embarrassed was that the comment from the stranger was heart-wrenching on many levels because it involved her asking me how long before my baby was due. I shared this with one friend and didn't receive the encouragement my broken heart was looking for which made the experience hurt even more and reinforced my feelings of ugliness. Even now typing this I feel embarrassed, fat, and ugly. Unfortunately it wasn't a one time event and has happened since then. There are a million little excuses that I could start sharing about the meds I am on, the difficult and physically taxing journey that the fighting for your health is, etc. etc etc. but the reality is that it wouldn't change the fact that I feel very unbeautiful right now and extremely self-conscious about my looks because of these comments...

My friends who are brave enough to share their thoughts with me are truly my heroes. When I am brave enough to be completely vulnerable, grace can be spoken in to this tender subject by women who love God and love be so beautifully. Because as we share our struggles and insecurities with trusted and Godly women we have the opportunity to share grace, love and truth with each other. When we rip off all of the masks and share our hearts and the struggles we are facing we have the opportunity to share our deepest fears and deepest longings. 

And in those moments... we can share with each other the truth of who we are in Christ. No matter how unbeautiful or ugly we might feel. When we invite people into our lives- our real and sometimes broken lives we are giving them a deeper glimpse at who our God truly is and the beauty that He creates out of all of the messiness and hard.

Life is hard and messy and can be downright ugly sometimes. Sweet friends, our struggle to want to feel beautiful is a natural and normal thing. We are surrounded and bombarded all of the time with the messages that the the world gives as what is one kind of beauty what is pretty. I know so many times I  struggle to cry out with the psalmist in saying: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, you works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) 

As we cry out to the Lord in our struggles with our feelings of not being pretty "enough" let us pray that the Lord would help us to remember that it is the things that come from our heart that are long-lasting and forever. The things that come from my heart that will outlast any pretty face or any earthly beauty. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)

My prayer is that I would be known as a woman who is of noble character more than a woman who is just physically attractive. Let us give and surrender our feelings of ugliness to the Lord and ask that He would fill our heart with the truth that He have made us. 

God doesn't make mistakes. He has made us and He knows our hearts. May our prayers be that we would be molded into women who know and feel beautiful in who He have made me to be: beautiful women of noble character. May we make that our prayer in what is most important to us. May we let everything else fade. Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be greatly praised.” (Proverbs 31:30) May falling in love with the Lord be the most important thing to us. Let us pray that we would keep this in the forefront of our minds and bind it on our hearts whenever we are tempted to compare this to what the world says is beautiful. 

Hold on to this precious hope friends. He is good and He is always with us and while it is important to recognize this struggle we can place this struggle in His loving hands. And to my single friends, feeling unbeautiful, even when you get married doesn't just "go away" and learning this lesson of making God our central focus and most important love now will only help to strengthen our marriages in the future. Unfortunately I have seen so many wonderful christian women enter into marriage believing that will be the "cure" for their all of their problems, including feeling unbeautiful. What an impossible thing to place on a human- something that only God can fulfill. 

And let us share this true beauty with others who are struggling. You are gorgeous friends. You have worth. You are important. You are beautiful. 

6 comments:

  1. You really are beautiful, Rebecca. I am not just saying that because it is the "right" thing to say. It's true. You are. Yes, on the inside, but also on the outside.
    I would also like to add (and you maybe know this deep down?), that even us married gals feel ugly at times. Depending on the man, married women often still long to hear "you are beautiful" much more often than they do. My husband isn't really a "words of affirmation" kind of guy. He shows his love and affection through flirting and little touches. That's nice, until I need to hear I am beautiful organically. All this to say that marriage won't solve our self-esteem issues, because a man cannot fill that. Only by seeing ourselves through God's eyes can we really get the confidence we need. I have an amazing husband, but I still have the same thoughts about myself that you do. We need a heart healing. I hope this is encouraging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristin,

      Thank you so much for your words! You are truly so sweet and encouraging! I TOTALLY agree with you that this is not something that is just "for singles" and that marriage won't solve any self-esteem issues. I am not sure if you saw this paragraph near the end or not but I said:
      "And to my single friends, feeling unbeautiful, even when you get married doesn't just "go away" and learning this lesson of making God our central focus and most important love now will only help to strengthen our marriages in the future. Unfortunately I have seen so many wonderful christian women enter into marriage believing that will be the "cure" for their all of their problems, including feeling unbeautiful. What an impossible thing to place on a human- something that only God can fulfill. "

      I totally agree with you that it starts with seeing ourselves through God's eyes that we can gain the confidence that we need.

      Thank you for sharing a little bit of your story and sharing your perspective, it was truly a blessing!!

      Warmly,
      Rebecca :)

      Delete
  2. I am so sorry that happened. It's hard when the medications that keep us going also change our bodies in ways we don't love. But you're right, it's also so important to talk about these things and be vulnerable. I can promise marriage won't fix those feelings, as you already seem to know. Sometimes it even makes the pressure to feel beautiful more intense. But God made us, even those wonderful parts we sometimes see as flaws

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LaurenJane,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment and sharing your thoughts!! I can't completely understand (as a single gal) but I definitely can see how the pressure to be beautiful might feel more intense after you are married. Thank you for sharing your perspective, for stopping by, and taking the time to leave a comment!

      Warmly,
      Rebecca

      p.s. I wish I could have emailed you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

      Delete
  3. I think so many of us feel unbeautiful at times. I agree with the hope you mention at the end- God is so good, and he loves us and finds us beautiful in his eyes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelsie,

      I definitely agree with you Kelsie! I think so many people feel unbeautiful at times! I love that we can encourage other ladies in this difficult and tender subject!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Warmly,
      Rebecca
      p.s. I wish I could have emailed you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

      Delete