Thinking back to being an athlete, one may assume I would be filled with moments of joy and memories of winning and pure laughter shared with my teammates. Yes, I certainly did have these moments, however, my initial thoughts when associating myself with being an athlete, makes my spirit ache. It aches because it reminds me of the times when the enemy did everything to come after my confidence and lead me to believe my weight somehow determined my worth and purpose.
I remember this one specific morning, like it was yesterday, between high school and training for college. Our team showed up to practice at 5:30 a.m. to be weighed, while yes, this is a very normal concept for higher level sports, it unfortunately has become the determining factor of “worth and value” within the rowing atmosphere. For this sport, the lighter you are, the better because once you hit a weight over 130 pounds, you no longer were in a place to race and almost seen as purposeless. I remember this one Monday reallyyyyy clearly, I stepped on the scale and our coach looked at me saying, “you can’t race tomorrow because your weight is over.” I walked outside and now remember being fed a lie from the enemy, “I was unworthy of a place on this team because of my weight.” To be really honest, I believed that lie for years. It took until graduation from college for me to take a step back from the competitive atmosphere and surround myself with truth. The thought hit me, how often do we do this in culture?
You don’t even have to be a part of a competitive sport for the enemy to try to convince you of your lack of worth. Beauty and purpose aren’t determined by your outer appearance or a number. What about the likes on Instagram? Have you ever posted a photo on Instagram and received more likes than usual, allowing yourself to then classify yourself or photo as “worthy” or on the other hand, didn’t get as many likes? Isn’t it funny how when we get less likes than normal or don’t hit a certain number, the enemy has a funny and dark way of convincing us that we aren’t pretty enough, gifted enough or worthy enough of likes or worldly acceptance? To be very honest, for the longest time, whenever I heard or saw the word “beauty”, I instantly would think of an individual’s exterior appearance which pushed me to believe that my worth was somehow wrapped up in how I presented myself to the world. The more beautiful a thing or person was, the more they seemed to be “loved and accepted”. But if we look around, determines society’s definition of beauty? We turn to magazines, advertisements, TV shows, and social media posts. These platforms can feed us the image of flawless women with the “perfect wardrobe and dreamy lifestyle”. How often we believe that once we achieve that, we will THEN be seen as beautiful.
Why is that? Why are we so focused on outer beauty as a culture? We hardly ever take the time to look at our inner beauty, our talents, gifts and purpose. Psalm 139 tells us that the Lord “formed our inner beings and knitted us together in our mothers’ womb.” This is no secret! He loved us, called us His, called a good work within and wrote our life story before we were even born and fully developed into our physical bodies. This has nothing to do with our physical appearance.
In fact, that same chapter says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Oftentimes, we like to apply this to physical beauty, but it turns out that when translated in the Hebrew context fearfully means “with heart-felt interest and reverence,” and wonderfully means “to be set apart”. So, what this verse really tells us is that God made each one of us with deep intention, to be set apart to complete a good work only YOU can complete. The point of our existence isn’t to be liked, either by the world or a little button on Instagram nor to look a certain way or live a certain way chasing numbers. Why do you think it’s called Insta-gram? It gives you an instant gram, each “like” can be thought of as a hit of the comparison drug, as I call it. The more we scroll and like, the more we get addicted and keep coming back for more, only lowing our self-esteem each time we double tap. And just as physical beauty isn’t the focus of Psalm 139 neither should Instagram be in our lives. You’re already beautiful, you don’t need a large number of likes from people you don’t know to confirm that. I definitely have fallen short and found myself captured by this imitation of beauty. This image and promise of being or feeling beautiful has also been whispered to girls and women all over the world. The promises of the beauty industry have led us to chase a false type of beauty that leaves us feeling degraded and less than enough.
Can we stand against that? To fully stand up to these false images and speak true beauty over our lives?
TRUE BEAUTY IS… knowing from where your worth comes. Knowing we are made, known, and loved by our Maker. It’s believing you were called to live a life of love and holiness. The result? We achieve beauty. True beauty will point us back to the original source – our Creator – and lead to the development of a beautiful heart and soul.
With this said, I want to be very sensitive toward the real struggles with self-esteem and body image, I have been there too, and you aren’t alone. However, despite the standards that society has set for us, God is still and always will be the greatest artist and sculptor. When He made our physical bodies, His work was detailed and intentionally crafted for a good thing within because when He was done, He called it very good. I am also not saying that we shouldn’t take care of our physical bodies because we have been given the gift to move and function with such purpose, but so often we get caught in the trap of comparison about our outward appearance or on a number vs someone else’s. We forget our true reason and purpose for existence – to partner with God to bring Heaven down to earth, to the hands and feet of Jesus, to share the good news.
I’ll ask you the same question God whispered to me last year? “If you try to be like them and they try to be like someone else and so on, guess how many gaps you are leaving in My plan and purpose for creation?”
So, if you walk away from this post with only one thing, I pray you believe that your purpose isn’t based on your appearance or number, but rather that you believe you are worthy of every wonder and blessing you have been provided because you were BORN ENOUGH, ARE ENOUGH AND ALWAYS WILL BE ENOUGH! xx
“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
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