What is it with women? Why are we so hard on ourselves? So critical? So unaccepting of who we are?
In this picture, I was 18 and I'm sure I thought I was fat. FAT! Oh, to be that FAT again!
That picture was taken 30 years ago and though some things have changed, the critique of myself has not.
I'm not sure when women started being so hard on themselves. Maybe it's gone on for all of time or maybe it started in the 60's when models turned into waifs.
Whatever or whenever - it's degrading, it's not honoring what God gave us, it's frustrating to our husbands and it confuses our kids.
True to God's creative nature, He didn't create one body type, one color of eyes, one type of hair, so we could all look alike. He's much more artistic than that!
God created so many looks that were pleasing to him and yet, we criticize ourselves and hang on to desires to be something that we're not.
For so long, I have struggled with not being pleased with my looks or seeing myself in pictures or my crooked tooth or my hair and always my weight.
I've bought clothes and sold clothes and criticized myself in the mirror more times than I want to think about.
I've become consumed with my looks, but not in the way that I glamorize myself and turn myself into something that I'm not, but more in the direction of being overly critical and overly concerned about all the little things that seem wrong to me.
You see, there are those who dress up, glamorize themselves so much that you don't even know what they really look like at the end of the day and then there are those who are consumed with their looks, but not because they desire glamor, but because they never like what they see.
Either way - both women are way too fixed on the outward appearance.
One is arrogance and one is insecurity. They are equally sinful, because they both focus on SELF way too much.
There. I've said it.
Yes, I have been just as sinful in my fixation on my insecurities as the woman who dresses herself up and flaunts around for attention.
Each one is trying to fulfill a need, but both end up in the same place at the end of the day - stripped down to the "real" woman. Vulnerable, looking for approval from men, instead of God.
Yes, we should be healthy, eat right, exercise, and take care of our bodies.
We don't need to be lazy or slothful or purposely ratty and indifferent.
But, we don't have to be all consumed by looks to the point of being discontent or fake and it shouldn't affect our relationships or the influence we have on our kids.
Do you really want to send that message to your own daughter? One that says, you're not worthy in the form that God created you? Would you dare to look at your beautiful daughter and tell her that she really should change her hair color or glamorize herself in order to get attention?
You can teach her to care about her image, but in healthy ways; not self-consumed ways.
Likewise, you don't want your daughter feeling so bad about her looks, that she's consumed and insecure in that way either.
So what's the answer?
And, it starts with yourself first.
If you want others to accept you for who you are, then accept yourself.
Be happy with your looks. Look nice. Look like you care. Don't be sloppy or lazy or messy.
But, you know what? When you are confident and groomed and clean and present yourself in a decent manner to the outside world, they will love you for who you are.
Quit trying to be someone you weren't meant to be.
You are who God made you to be.
And that should be good enough.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."........"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place."
(Psalm 139:13, 15)