Funny how being in a relationship, engaged to a man with tender strength, can bring me back to ten years ago, can trigger all the brokenness inside me and drag it to the surface, can make me feel a heart scraped raw.
Back to square one. Craving beauty. Hating my face. Dissatisfied with my body. Flashing back to a very different man I wanted to marry ten years ago, who told me I was never enough. If I didn’t dress “right,” didn’t fit into size 2 clothes, he turned away from me, his smile slipping off his face.
All through high school and college, it killed me—my perceived lack of beauty. I couldn’t see the beauty in myself; I only saw the defects, the flaws. I longed for the kind of face that could keep a man occupied forever, just staring into it. So I starved myself, emotionally and physically, almost disappearing in my longing to be seen.
To be honest, I felt like the essence of a woman’s worth came from her skin, rather than from the spirit inside. And no matter how much my mind said that wasn’t true, it still felt true.
Some days I’m still tempted to think that way. It’s gotten much better over the last ten years, and I’d say 90 percent of the time now, I like what I see in the mirror, because I see myself as someone who is my heavenly Father’s beloved. But some days, the “beauty craving” returns and I have to remember: This world is not my home.
This earth is but a film-strip negative of what’s to come. It’s not my home. It’s not what defines me in eternity. It’s not where my value comes from. It’s just right here and right now, not forever. The home I’m going to is the one that will last, and in that place, value isn’t earned through earthly beauty; it’s given by my Creator.
Colossians 3:1-4 tells us to set our minds and eyes on the things that last forever, on our heavenly home. But how do we do this when the beauty craving overwhelms us? Here’s what I do:
- I run straight to our heavenly Father, reminding myself: He is the only One who can fill this hollow craving.
- I open my Bible to Psalm 139, letting its life words slip into me, washing away the brokenness and filling up the emptiness with value.
- I open my diary and let my hands write, write, write, as I process through the pain. Sometimes I skip the diary and instead process through music or art, yoga or escaping outdoors. Whatever it looks like that day, I find a healthy way to work through the emotions locked inside me.
- I make a list of things I am thankful for, for all that He’s given me, and I choose to think about those things over and over, soaking them in like the ground soaks in water.
- The next chance I get, I share my struggle with one of my mentors, someone older and wiser than me, and ask them to help me see the truth.
As I look up to the heavenly One who loves us like we’ve never been loved before, the hypnotic hold of the shallow beauty craving begins to slowly, slowly slip away.