A couple of months ago, there was a disturbing newspaper article about a new YouTube trend. Young girls are making videos of themselves and asking the world "Am I Pretty?", and people are responding. Predictably, some people responded with such nasty comments that the poor girls who read them had to feel even worse about themselves. So, I wonder, why did they put themselves out there in the first place?
The first thought that ran through my mind was akin to desperation, because I saw in those girls an example of what my daughter could possibly do one day, and it breaks my heart to think that she would ever doubt her beauty. The second was sorrow, because I could see myself in their eyes, asking for someone, anyone to fill their cup full of confidence and security. The third was this: will this insatiable need of girls to feel beautiful ever go away? It's like this ravenous, unquenchable desire that we can touch on but never really fully identify or satisfy. When will we feel beautiful enough?
Is it only our young, sweet girls that feel this way?
I ate my dinner alone this evening, since I got home after everyone else had already eaten, so I just grabbed some mail that I had sitting in my bag and sat down. As I looked through one particularly popular lingerie catalogue--boasting beautiful, toned, tanned and perfect women--I found myself asking the same question: Am I Pretty?
My head is telling me that no, compared to what you see here, you are not pretty. But God says that I am. So how do I move from a head knowledge that yes, God says I'm beautiful to a heart knowledge and receive His gift of true beauty?
I've tried to convince myself that what I see in these catalogues isn't an exact representation of the real woman, but when it comes down to it, I am processing what I see on the pages of these magazines and catalogues as real, no matter how Photoshopped they are. It's common knowledge that all of the images in print advertising are altered (see this really interesting video on Photoshopping), and so in my head, I'm comparing myself to the altered image, and I will never, ever live up to that. The models themselves can't even live up to that! But even though I know this in my head, my heart still wants to be that beautiful. What's a girl to do? Kill herself trying to achieve the impossible or accept the inevitable and stop caring? Give up? Turn to YouTube?
Turn to God?
I read somewhere that when you finally realize God has shut down all other avenues of escape from Him, when you realize that He's the only game left in town--this is when you will finally decide to turn to Him.
So I turn to Him. Then what?
Seeing as how I am currently a work in progress, I don't have the ending all tied up in a pretty bow for you. But what I can tell you is that I am learning day by day, moment by moment, and thought by thought, to turn to God for my confidence. There are wounds from my past that caused me to start doubting myself a long time ago (some I'm not even fully aware of), and it's gotten to be quite a nauseating habit. I'm sure that it breaks His heart to think that I have ever doubted myself. By turning to God and opening my heart to His healing grace, I can allow Him to heal those wounds that I have tried to Band-Aide all these years. As my heart is healed, I begin to find my confidence, my worth and my purpose in Him, and I am filled with His love and beauty.