For my seventeenth birthday, I’d asked my mother for the one gift I most wanted – a week at modeling school. I was tall, after all, and this could be a life-changing opportunity.
The first day, I sat in the chair gazing at myself in the wall-length mirror. The instructor explained the intricacies of proper makeup application. She stopped behind my left shoulder, studying my facial features like a scientist studies a slide through her microscope. “What do you like least about yourself?” she asked matter-of-factly.
Her poignant question brought hidden insecurities bubbling to the surface. The answer was as plain as the nose on my face.
“My nose,” I responded. Wait a minute; did I just say that out loud?
“Then why don’t you get a nose job?” she continued. Without so much as a raised eyebrow, she carried on this conversation as easily as if we were discussing dinner plans. And for one brief moment, I considered her suggestion.
Comparison causes negative self-image, which affects our everyday lives. The story I shared happened a long time ago. But even today I have new frustrations of a mid-forties woman. No matter how many crunches I do each day, those extra pounds are still there. No matter how many seconds I plank, the skin behind my arms still jiggles!
Negative self-image can lead to a vicious cycle of discontentment if we allow it to invade our minds. Instead of sulking over jiggly arms, I discovered three truths in scripture that radically changed my self-image. Let’s agree today to embrace these statements from God’s Word. Hearing how our Creator feels about us will drown out those negative thoughts before they make themselves at home.
1. “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…” (Ephesians 1:11 NIV).
Each one of us was created by God for a specific purpose. Trying to change myself to mirror another person diverts me to a different path – one designated for someone else. Discovering the beauty in our uniqueness brings everlasting joy and satisfaction. We are predestined to do His will.
2. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalms 139:16).
God looks at us and sees unmatched beauty and unlimited potential. He ordained each day of our lives before we were even born. Yet so often we choose to view ourselves in comparison to others. When we put on our blinders and focus on God, He can use us to accomplish His plan.
3. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).
In conversations with other women, I’ve found many factors contribute to this compulsion to compare. Social media can be one of the worst. Sure, back in my teen days our temptation graced the covers of magazines on grocery store shelves. I loved spending hours flipping through pages, looking at the glossy pictures. Today’s women have an entirely different beast to battle.
I confess. I’m guilty of giving in to the picture-perfect ideal we create in our minds while scrolling through a newsfeed. My profile pic is photoshopped free of wrinkles and blemishes. I enjoy having a nice-looking picture. But we must remember; social media often shows a filtered version of our real selves.
So when the voice of self-doubt works its way into your heart, claim the truth of these three verses. Are a few extra pounds or jiggly arms threatening to damage your self-image today? Have negative thoughts caused you to question your value? The above scriptures will crush any insecurity we feel and give us courage to proclaim this statement: No condemning voices allowed. The only voice we will listen to is God’s.
And for the record, after a week at modeling school I decided to pursue a different career path. In fact, when I returned home a wise family friend told me an interesting story about the shape of my nose. According to English legend, this facial feature was a sign of royal heritage. The true nature of our worth can always be found beneath the surface.
Kristine Brown is a writer, dramatist, and teacher. She helps women and teen girls navigate the ups and downs of real-life. Kristine devotes her time to family, freelance writing, and her non-profit ministry, More Than Yourself, Inc. You can read more from Kristine at www.morethanyourself.com.
Publication date: November 16, 2015