Written by Jane Merson
Blogger at The Unrivaled Road
"Lust would take the body and discard the soul. Love deeply desires the soul, and gladly receives whatever body accompanies it."
I have always been chubby. Squishy around the edges, you know? I have flitted between four or five different clothes sizes since I left my teens and my weight has yo-yoed my entire life. But no matter what the number on the scale was, even at my smallest, I was always unhappy with myself.
I would look at other girls, girls who seemed to effortlessly look good, and wish I looked like them. Even the curvier girls looked better than I did. If only I had a different shape or a different metabolism, if only I made better fashion choices, or had stronger willpower...
I would look at images in magazines or on TV and compare myself to these girls, concluding every time that I fell desperately short. I remember on one occasion I was pleased to discover that I weighed around the same as actress Kate Winslet, only to discover that the red-headed star was heavily pregnant at the time.
But how did I even know how much she weighed? Well, there was a special magazine edition entirely dedicated to images of celebrities in varying outfits and a chart of their particulars listed next to them. This, of course, was helpful for me. Because now I knew the weight and measurements to aim for so that I could be attractive too...
Scary, isn't it? Shocking that this was my attitude and belief for so many years. Yet these are the lies that the media, and society in general, bombards us with. I held a belief system about myself that was so subtly ingrained in me that it has taken me over a decade to unravel and correct. I truly believed that, in order to be considered attractive by men, I had to look like the extremely skinny, pampered, photo-shopped women I saw in the media.
But more than that, I believed the lie that men are only interested in women that look like that. I wrongly perceived all men to be shallow and only interested in the external shell. I could never allow a man to see past my external shell, because I couldn't see past it myself.
But here's a little-talked about secret: no-one, I repeat no-one, is perfect. Not perfect externally, not perfect internally. Not perfect aesthetically, not perfect in character. Every single person is flawed.
Yet that is the beauty of love. Love overcomes imperfections and flaws, weaknesses and sin.
Instead of continuing to allow the media to poison our minds with the world's perception of beauty, we need to go back to the Creator: the only True Beauty, God Himself. We need to remind ourselves of what the Bible describes as beautiful.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)
"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”" (1 Samuel 16:7)
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." (Psalm 139:14)
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8)
"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3:3-4)
Beauty invites and attracts. People want to be around true beauty because it inspires and uplifts. How do you feel when you encounter a golden sunset? You smile. You breath deeply. You pause and drink it all in. A sunset not only looks beautiful in and of itself, but it makes everything its light touches more beautiful too.
When we bask in the beauty of our God, we are made more beautiful too. When we make Him our main purpose and priority, His beauty radiates from our hearts. That is the kind of beauty worth pursuing.
Isn't the creativity and diversity of humanity beautiful? Does His creation not just declare the beauty and glory of a loving Father? Why do we try so hard to all look the same when we were carefully and purposefully designed to be unique?
Instead of believing the lies the media throws at us on a daily basis, we need to retune our minds to God's way of thinking. We need to choose healthy. We need to choose Biblical. True beauty is only found in whatever and in whoever reflects Him.