I was perusing Captivating (John and Stasi Eldgredge) this afternoon and stumbled across this paragraph:

“Shame makes us feel very uncomfortable with our beauty. Women are beautiful, every single one of us. It is one of the glorious ways that we bear the imag of God. But few of us believe we are beautiful, and fewer still are comfortable with it. We either think we don’t have any beauty or if we do, that it’s dangerous and bad. So we hide our beauty behind extra weight and layers of unnecessary makeup. Or we neutralize our beauty by putting up protective, defensive walls that warn others to keep their distance (74).”

How true this is!!

At least in my life.

Granted, I don’t wear makeup because I don’t want to rely on it for beauty (1 Peter 3:3-4). But still.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with the thought that I’m beautiful.

I just can’t get past certain aspects of myself, physically and psychologically.

I don’t like my legs.

My toes bother me, too.

I can never figure out the right style for my hair. Erg.

Sometimes I hate myself.

I once said out loud in front of a group of friends, “I hate teenagers.”

They looked at me and replied with, “YOU’RE a teenager,” and I said “Well, sometimes I hate myself.”

I can list more negative things about myself than I can positive things.

I do stupid things. There’s shame lurking just below the surface, always there, reminding me of my mistakes.

It convinces me that I’m not beautiful, inside OR out.

I was at a really low point in life around the end of 2008, and sometime that December I found OperationBeautiful.com.

That, plus a message from a relative, turned me around.

For nearly a year and seven months now, I’ve struggled.

For nineteen months, I’ve battled the whispers that I’m not smart enough, not nice enough, not pretty enough, not GOOD enough.

I told myself a year ago at a church conference that I was done feeling this way, that I was going to be secure in my identity in Christ.

And I was.

For a time.

But then the feelings came back.

My sneaking suspicion is that I feel this way because my walk with God is not where it could or should be.

I’m not going to lie: I’m still struggling.

But with help–memories, reminders, lessons from the past and present–I’ll get past my insecurities.

Someday.

Someday the walls will come down completely.

Someday the pain will be gone.

Someday, I’ll be comfortable enough to call myself “beautiful.”

For now, I’ll start with growing closer to God and trying to encourage others.

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