Define Beautiful.

 defineYesterday at Walmart I stood in the hair aisle for an agonizing amount of time. I had already made up my mind on the way over there. I was buying an electric razor to shave my head. Well not totally shave, but pretty close. Yet as I stood there in the aisle, comparing all the razors I couldn’t help but be bombarded with opposing thoughts. My mind raced. Was I sure I wanted to do this? Isn’t my hair already short enough? Won’t I be even LESS feminine  How will people even know I am a girl? What if it’s ugly? What if, what if, what if…..

What if I’m not beautiful?

That’s really what this comes down to. What does beautiful really mean? Well according to dictionary.com, beautiful means “aesthetically pleasing, wonderful, gives great pleasure.” Hmmm. Gives great pleasure. What a cool definition. I’m learning more and more what it means that I give my Father great pleasure. I am beautiful.

Now I may not fit the world’s definition of beauty. I am not a flawless size 00 with perfect hourglass curves and luscious long flowing hair, perfectly sculpted eyebrows  and designer clothes. But I am loved, and accepted, and worthy, and beautiful.

I am writing this because I know that there are people who will read it, who, like me, need to stop seeking approval in others for what they look like, dress like, laugh like, for what their talents are and what they have to offer. There are people who will read this that need to understand, like I did (and do) that they are valuable, not because they can tell a joke at the right moment, or because they can sing well, or because they are good at serving or giving or comforting, but because they are a human being made in the image of God. There are people who need to start understanding that they are valuable no matter how many times they have messed up or how many people have left them or how horrible their childhood was or how many other things have happened to them that have convinced them that they weren’t worth anything.

I have spent too much time hiding and apologizing for and trying to forget about who I am because shame has taught me that I am disgusting and guilt has taught me that I am awful and it’s a lie. It’s a lie. And some days, I still fight it. Some days I still try to impress and improve and win the approval of those around me because I don’t understand that God has made me beautiful and that I have His heart and His mind and His breath to offer. I don’t want to see my own value because I have been sold a lie that says that my value is in what I wear or buy or how I look. I have been sold a lie that says that I must objectify myself in order to be happy. Even now that I know it’s a lie, I still sometimes choose it. I still look in the mirror, and even though I can now acknowledge that I AM beautiful. That God has made me courageous, funny, kind, and honest, there are still days when I would rather be beautiful by the world’s standards, the unrealistic impossible standards. But at the end of the day, in the deepest parts of me, I know it is a lie. And when I have exhausted myself running from the truth that God speaks over me, I am able to finally rest in His opinion of me: that I am valuable.

Because value is determined by the price paid for something. I was bought by the blood of Christ. That is the ONLY thing that defines my value. And yours.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
– Psalm 139:14

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(Side note: this photo is a few months old. Hence the slightly longer hair…)
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