Beautiful Tension

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psalm 139:13-14

Beauty is only skin deep.
Beauty is really found in the heart.
Look like this, be this size, buy these clothes, wear a full face and you will be beautiful.
Being a person of integrity and grace is more important than how you look.
To be attractive.
To be desirable.
To be accepted.

The messages conflict. They are thrown at me from every side. Invest in your heart. Invest in a workout program. Invest in others. 

What is beautiful? At the end of the day, what is beautiful? I want it to be my heart, rather than my thigh gap. I want it be my personality more than personal style. I want to be seen as beautiful for who I am instead of what I look like. 

Off and on through middle school I struggled with an eating disorder; anorexia. I didn’t fully starve myself, but I did eat the bare minimum. Raw spinach was my food of choice. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was fat and ugly, the little girl all the boys made fun of. I hated my frame; broad shoulders, big boobs, hips, and lean legs. And the double chin, don’t get me started on that. I would suck in my tummy so tight. I worked out like crazy. I hated myself. 

Sometimes I still do.

I recently did a mini photo shoot to get some new pictures for the socials. I looked at the girl on my computer screen and all I saw was fat and ugly, the little girl all the boys made fun of. I was visited again by the self-loathing monster. 

I texted a friend and confessed how I was feeling. Bring the feeling into the light and it will be better.

She texted back and told me my eyes were popping in the photos. 

That is true. I love my green eyes, but no one ever compliments how I look. It is always my eyes, smile, dimples, sometimes hair. I can’t remember the last time someone told me I was beautiful. I can’t remember the last time I believed it. 

Beauty is both a perception and fact. 

Fact, everyone is a beautiful creation. It’s truth. God created man in his own image and said it was good. He knits us together in our mama’s, with his hands he molds and crafts us. He takes great care in creating us physically. I am beautiful, because God made me. You are beautiful because God made you. We reflect our creator. 

Perception, everyone has one. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone judges a book by its cover. We try not to, but we do. If it is not pleasing to our eye, we don’t want it, or to be associated with it. We avoid them. We avoid ourselves. Things that look good are easy for us to accept. There is truth in “easy on the eyes”. It is what we desire. It is in what we seek out. It is what we want to be.

Beauty. There is tension. Perception pulls me away from fact, from truth. I swing from one end to another. Maybe it is okay to feel the pull, because it is there I am reminded of truth. It is there I fight to believe that how I look and who I am is beautiful. All of it. Every inch. 

It is okay to feel the tension of what is beautiful. Maybe it is there we will find what is beautiful for the first time.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. Song of Solomon 4:7

- Hannah