You Are Beautiful

By: Marina

My struggle with anorexia, an eating disorder, was precipitated by many events. I wanted to be beautiful – it was that simple. I thought that being thin would make me look pretty, and that this would boost my self-esteem and confidence. Even if you don’t struggle with an eating disorder, you may be able to relate. We all have a desire to appear beautiful. And we want to feel beautiful. Sometimes, no matters what others tell us, we just don’t feel beautiful. When I was thirteen, I had the biggest crush on a boy in school. Being caught up in this crush, I wanted to know if he had a crush on me as well. To my horror, he responded that he could never like me because I ‘had fat thighs’. This shocked me. At that moment, I vowed to lose weight. I needed to be thin. Then I would be beautiful. And then boys would like me. And no one would ever be able to humiliate me or taunt me.

In grade nine gym class, the fitness unit brought me more distress. We had to weigh ourselves and calculate our BMI. I clearly remember being weighed after a much smaller girl was. All the students praised the other girl because she was so thin and weighed very little. Then it was my turn. I stood on the scale and heard whispers about my weight. I weighed much more than the other girl. No one praised me for my weight. Once again, I vowed to lose weight. If I could be thin, others would be amazed at how small I was. Others would admire my figure and think that I was beautiful. And I would feel beautiful too, right..?

Unfortunately, the desire to be thin turned into an eating disorder. I became entrapped in the illness, desperately wanting to eat but being unable to do so. Even after losing much weight, I was a slave to the eating disorder. And guess what? I didn’t feel beautiful. I was sad and scared of dying. But I couldn’t do anything about it because if I told anyone, I would have to eat and gain weight. Why wasn’t I beautiful? Why couldn’t I be pretty? Why couldn’t I love myself?

I learned that beauty comes from within. Yes, that is a commonly used phrase. That’s because it is true. As I began my journey of recovery from my eating disorder, I realized that being at a healthy weight was critical. Feeding my body regularly and enough kept me strong. Having a strong body allowed me to perform daily tasks in life. Do I always love my new, heavier body? No. Do I always feel beautiful? No. But now I know that beauty isn’t what I see in the mirror.

God loves me the way I am. He created us in His image (Genesis 1:27). That means we are all beautiful. The world tries to measure beauty by telling us that we need to be thin and tall, wear certain clothes and have certain make-up. The world tells us that we need others to compliment us in order to feel pretty. But the world is wrong. True beauty doesn’t come from what you wear. It doesn’t come from a number on the scale.

Whenever I feel down about myself, I remember God’s amazing love for us. I remember how Christ died for us, to save us from our sins. And He loves us all unconditionally. Did you hear that? God loves you just the way you are. In fact, God sees you as beautiful all the time: “You are beautiful…you have no flaw” (Songs of Solomon 4:7). God doesn’t want to change a thing about how you look, dress, smile, weigh, etc. All He wants is your heart. He wants you to trust in Him, to lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). And He wants you to know that true beauty comes from the heart. Beauty comes from obeying God’s words, from being pure in heart (Matthew 5:8). True beauty is that which comes from a heart that is joyful, willing to help others, thankful and content with what we have, and being hopeful and faithful in God’s promises. Remember: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Are you beautiful? YES! You are. And the best part about this is that you are beautiful the way you are. You don’t need to spend money on make-up, products, clothes, or diets in order to be beautiful. You also don’t need others to tell you that you are beautiful. Because you know what? There is a God who loves you regardless of what you look like. God is always there for you with open arms. He loves you and wants you to love Him as well. He has an amazing plan for your life that you don’t know. His plans will make you prosper and be successful (Jeremiah29:11). And the best part is that Jesus Christ loves you the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 8:13). He will never leave you, and nothing you can do can make Him stop loving you (“Give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever! (Psalm 118:1)). God just wants your heart…are you willing to give it to Him?

Dear Lord,

You know that in this world today, differing standards of beauty haunt us. It is hard living in a world where so much emphasis is placed on my body, how it looks, what size I am, what clothes I wear, how my hair looks, what my smile is like, and what make-up I put on. There is always pressure to look a certain way. At times, Lord, I don’t feel beautiful. And this shakes me; it makes me feel inferior and sad. Please God, give me the eyes to see my true beauty. Help me realize that beauty comes from within. Help me to see that You love me regardless of how I look. Help me to see that I am created in Your image, and this means that I am beautiful the way I am. Give me the strength to appreciate my own beauty, to see how special I am, simply because I am Your child. Whenever I feel down about myself or my appearance, give me comfort and peace. Still the storm inside of me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit and comforting peace.

 Help me to feel Your presence at all times, to remember that You never leave me alone. Instead of focusing on what I don’t like about myself, help me to see what is good and beautiful about me. Help me to appreciate and count my blessings, to see that true beauty comes from my heart and personality. Guide me in my path and prepare for me what You see fit and suitable. I know that You are in control and have a special plan for me, a plan that is greater than anything I canimagine. And when I can’t see this plan, please give me patience, hope, and faith that You will always be there for me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.