When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you say about yourself?
“Oh, Lisa, you’re acne scars/blemishes are so noticeable–ew! Why is your nose so big? Aw, I wish I had smaller hips.”
Learning to be comfortable with ourselves and our bodies is not an easy thing to do when we’re influenced by social media, our friends and family, and pretty much the world that we need to look better–whatever what that means.
Most of the time this is related to women, but many men also struggle with their self-image also. I can testify that I struggled to be content with how I look like. Most of the time I do not even realize that I put myself down because it had become something I did daily. Isn’t that crazy? I would put myself down every time I saw another person, in particular a woman, with thinner legs or when I noticed that someone did not struggle with a lot of acne like me. I kept believing in the lies that I was never enough and that I could never be enough.
It was around this time last year (August 2016) when the Lord convicted me of my self-talk and how I saw my body. My comments I had in my head or in front of the mirror did not align with the truth that I proclaimed to believe in. Little did I know that throughout this past year, God was working in my heart to see my body as beautiful and to not be ashamed about what is on or not on my body. In addition, I also reflected on my overall appearance: make-up and attire.
I was not into make-up during high school. I explored it during middle school, but I got tired of it and I wanted to embrace my natural self. I told myself that I would not wear make-up until I became comfortable with my natural beauty. I realized that many girls would use make-up to hide themselves. I did not like that because it meant that girls were pretty much denying themselves and how they were created. (I am surprised that I had this thought as a middle “school-er”!) I had the mindset that “You don’t need make-up to be beautiful.” I still agree with that. I did not begin to wear make-up until after my first semester as a freshman in college. I had a lot to learn about make-up! Besides that, I am proud that I took about four-and-a-half years to just be my natural self. I have a lot of acne so you can only imagine the mornings and nights I would stare at the mirror and wish that I could just have clear skin! Eventually, I started to not care about how my skin looked.
The reason why I decided to wear make-up was mainly due to curiosity. I started to learn about the different types of products! Wow, is it an investment! I started to not have a negative perspective on make-up. I learned that it is not bad to wear make-up to enhance specific features or to want to look nice. Wearing make-up actually made me admire my natural side more. When I began doing my make-up, I started to notice the small things on my face and then it “hit” me: God thought of these small things when He created me. I was able to admire the way God made me. If I did not wear make-up and went on with my former thoughts, then I would have never took the time to look at the small features on my face and be where I am at now: to love my facial features (and body) for the way it was created.
Before I decided to buy some of my first make-up products when I wanted to wear make-up again, I told myself I wanted to still to be comfortable with myself even without make-up on. I am so glad that I can go out my door without any make-up on. Most of the time, especially during the school year, I choose to wear make-up daily and to special occasions. In addition, I can still make a grocery run or go in public without any make-up on. I think this is where all woman or men who wear make-up should be at.
I really enjoy shopping for clothes and to dress up! It is so fun! Many people will think I dress up for attention, particularly from guys, but I do not see it that way. I dress up because it brings me joy and I see it as a way to take care of myself. Dressing up also prepares me for my day since sometimes my days do not end until 10pm during the school year! I feel good and prepared in a nice outfit and confident in some good shoes!
So, when I go shopping, I always look for the small and medium sections because I am able to float between those sizes depending on the brand on the clothes. I will be honest with you and share that I get afraid when I have to look for a size bigger, especially when it comes to jeans! I have bigger hips and thighs, so I already have to get larger sizes than most of my friends. When I try on clothes or find myself in front of a mirror, I critique my body. Most of the time I am telling myself “I wish this and that”. I would listen to a lot of the lies in my head and then tell myself I need to eat less of something and that I need to work out more.
I am glad that I can say that I do not care too much about my diet, my exercise schedule, or what size I am. I still make sure I eat nutritious food and allow myself to splurge on something sweet and yummy quite often! I am patient with myself when I go work out. I am quite inconsistent on how often I go to workout. When I do workout, I do not push my body too much but challenge it just enough to do better than I last worked out. Lastly, I have come to peace about the size of clothing I have to shop for.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”— 1 Peter 3:3-4
So, as I embark on another school year, I want to commit to only saying positive comments about my body. I will rebuke any lies that will try to make me believe any negativity. Most importantly, I am going to make it a priority to examine my heart so that whatever is flowing from it is good and pleasing to the Lord. I want to invite God to continue His good work in my heart.
I do not share this area of my life journey to boast about myself and my achievements, but to testify that God is alive and at work in the hearts and lives of those who choose to follow and remain faithful to Him. Personally, I would not choose to work on this area in my life, but it mattered so much to God that in the midst of my other “heart work” that He sent individuals and truth my way so that I can believe that my body is not ugly or disgusting. I am wonderfully and beautifully made simply because God loves me so much (Psalm 139:13-14). I want to live a lifestyle that honors the way that God created me.
So, I will ask you again: When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you say about yourself?