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IBC Women’s Blog

IBC Women’s Blog

Defying Ugly

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… For many, that may mean extra time with family and friends which should also mean feeling loved and encouraged. BUT I know from past experience that extra time with family and friends can be discouraging to some-even dreaded.  We think others are out to steal our joy and we are disappointed in our time together.

Let’s be proactive this year in preparing for a MERRY CHRISTMAS for ourselves. The issue is more about self image than picking out or getting the right gift. Self image is what you think about yourself and your abilities or appearance. A good self image gives us confidence, enables joy. People really don’t have the power to steal our confidence or joy, we just tend to readily give it away with wrong thinking. We accept the cultural norm as a right definition of success or beauty. We base what we like or don’t like about ourselves on the cultural norm. In the western world, the cultural norm is set by media. And based on media, the cultural norm of success and beauty is not attainable without a really wealthy and generous relative, an air brush, some Botox, and intense food avoidance (no enjoying the holiday cookies). Look around, few fit how our culture defines success and beauty but we  beat up others and ourselves with these wrong concepts. We compare ourselves to others, and at Christmas as we gather together we may even do that out loud with one another. We say things like “looks like this year has been good for you (referring to materialistic gain)”, “I look so fat (in comparison to the slimmer relation)”, “My you look mature (acting shocked by someone’s aging)”… Comparing appearance, professions, progeny (kids), presents…this does not lead to a happy holiday.

Scripture tells us that we all have a beauty which originates in our Creator:

Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Psalm 139:14

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.

And that beauty is related to character:

1 Peter 3:3-4  Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

I talked to my favorite counselor, Sarah Wilder, about what hurts our self image. She said our self image is based in what we are saying (and thinking) about ourselves and oftentimes what we hear others say about us or what we perceive others think of us. We need to think about our thinking. Are our thoughts the messages that we want to keep with us? Are they keeping us from seeing the beauty in ourselves? Negative body talk does nothing to build up anyone. It can rid us of any chance of seeing beauty in ourselves, and each and every one of us is beautiful in Him.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I’m not talking about ignoring health issues that we need to address. Women of all shapes and sizes need to be healthy, honoring our bodies as a gift. But we don’t need to be hard on ourselves to make changes. I hope to avoid false humility, degrading comments, and discouraging digs to my fellow man this Christmas. You should too. Let’s remind others of the truth that we are created in His image and precious in His sight. And let’s give ourselves the greatest present possible, the reality that believing in His Son’s sacrificial death and life as covering our sin and giving us new life means we are perfected in the eyes of God. This message is worth celebrating!

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.