Lie #1: Love and Worth are Based on Physical Appearance

**Warning: A lot of rambling thoughts happen in this entry**

This lie has stumped me for weeks. I so badly want a bible verse that says, “your physical appearance is not what defines you, gives you worth, or love.”

The closest thing I can find (and it’s pretty close) is 1 Peter 3:3-4

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Ok, so this verse pretty much says that God doesn’t find worth in outward adornment, but in the unfading beauty of the inner self.

Basically, love and worth are not based on physical appearance to God…but what about humans?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “7 But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

Cool. So God doesn’t care about my physical appearance, but humans do. So, here is my issue: Now I have to decide if God’s love is enough for me. What about my what my husband thinks of me? My husband says he will love me unconditionally, and I truly believe he will try his best to do so, but he isn’t blind to the physical beauty of others or my physical potential. I often wonder if there is ever a tiny part of him that wishes I looked more like “her” or had less of “that” or whatever. If he came across a power to change my physical appearance without anyone knowing he did it, would he? And now I have to sit back and say, “that doesn’t matter to me, because God thinks I’m beautiful because of my heart and inner stuff.”

So much of me has a hard time with this. I want to be beautiful…physically beautiful.

Does God create ugly people? Are any of his children physically ugly in his sight? Or is he so beyond that, that he doesn’t even see it? He must see it, I mean, he is God, he sees everything. I don’t know! All I know is, I still want to be physically attractive! Part of me sees that I have physical beauty, but goodness gracious is my physical appearance a fragile thing. Every day I feel like I get 10 more gray hairs, another hint of a second chin, and about 50 dark and coarse chin hairs. The patches of cellulite grow. The varicose veins show. And I can’t help but feel sorrow over the little wrinkles and sags around my once very perky breasts. All things, that for some reason, I think mark my diminishing beauty.

So I guess the problem isn’t really that I’m believing a lie; I mean in the context of humans it’s partially true. Not ALL love and worth come from physical appearance, but we certainly do value physical appearance very highly. The problem is that I don’t believe that God’s love is enough for me. It WOULD be a lie to say, “God loves me and values me based on my physical appearance.” But that’s not the love and value I’m worried about.

I know God loves me. He says it a bazillion times in the bible. He shows it in a bazillion ways in the bible. He has shown me personally how much he loves me. And for a while it was enough. For a while I was completely lost in it (in the best way). I was immersed in it. I couldn’t stop talking about Jesus; I was like a middle school girl who wanted to talk about her crush all the time, especially since he like-liked me back!! And it didn’t matter if my husband thought I was beautiful (it still felt good to hear it), because I knew God was totally in love with me and that was better than anything ever. So when did it not become enough? When did I start worrying again? How did I let this amazing love evaporate?

The problem now is that I WANT love based on my physical appearance and I simultaneously dread it at the same time. But my brain knows that wanting to be loved for my physical appearance won’t bring me what I truly want: true, everlasting, completely sustainable, unconditional love.

I mean, is it even possible to truly love someone based on their physical appearance alone? I am brought back to this question once again, “what is love?” Maybe lie #1 really is a lie because maybe real love is only possible for God. So maybe love really doesn’t have anything to do with physical appearance after all. And the love that we humans try to be a part of is only love in part. We can’t get it quite right, not on this side of heaven, anyway.

1 Corinthians 13 (the love verses) don’t say anything about love being connected to physical appearance. Maybe my issue is that I give and withhold my love of others based on THEIR physical appearance, and thus perpetuate an incorrect belief about love. But who really wants to admit to something so shallow? I’m scared to even look for a behavior like that in myself.

Why is it every time I start to write a blog that should have a simple answer to it, I end up with more questions?

All I wanted was a simple bible verse I could memorize and tape to my mirror to remind me that my physical appearance was not what made me love-able. And now I see I need something so much greater than that! I need an attitude adjustment! I need to demolish some really ugly structures in my life all based on physical appearance.

Oh Lord Jesus come! Help me. I need you. I need to be more like you. I need to love like you. Help me to want to love like you. Help me to see with your eyes. Help me to stop judging others based on their physical appearances. Can you do like a “Shallow Hal” thing to my eyes and mind. Let me see my brothers and sisters as you see them? Thanks for loving me even though I judge your children. Thanks for exposing this ugliness in me. Thanks for thinking I’m special and worthy just because I am me. I love you. Amen. 

It’s a Coverup

I just finished reading the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio and let me tell you it was AMAZING! The book just showed up on the suggested books page of my library app and it looked good so I checked it out. And then God spoke to me throughout the entire thing! I laughed, I cried, I felt ashamed, I felt validated, and it all revolved around physical appearance.wonder_cover_art

The main character, Auggie, is a fifth grader who is starting school for the first time (outside of home school). Auggie has a cranial-facial abnormality that caused his face to be severely deformed. Auggie spends a lot of time wishing he had a different face, and as I got to know Auggie as a character, this desire broke my heart. I don’t want to say too much, because I want you to read this book yourself. I want you to fall in love with Auggie for yourself, not out of pity but out of genuine love for who he is as a character.

Auggie used to wear a space helmet everywhere he went to keep people from gasping at the sight of his face. He felt it was so much better for them to think he was weird for wearing a helmet that covered his face than to look at him in fear because of his face. But what Auggie’s father said to him one day, got me thinking about how God thinks about me:

“’Come on, Auggie, please try to understand,’ he continued, putting his hand under my chin and tilting my face toward him. “You were wearing that helmet all the time. And the real, real, real, real truth is: I missed seeing your face, Auggie. I know you don’t always love it, but you have to understand…I love it. I love this face of yours, Auggie, completely and passionately. And it kind of broke my heart that you were always covering it up.’”

What do I cover up that God loves about me? I’m always making excuses for my weight. As if I have to justify myself to others or even protect others from feeling embarrassed or ashamed for me. I know this isn’t the same. I know I don’t have a deformed face, and I know I’m not morbidly obese, but the fact of the matter is, I have become a victim of my body.

I’m still trying to sort this all out in my head. Because part of my weight problem is an over-indulgence issue and part of it is a refusal to accept what God has given me. Could the over-indulgence issue be a symptom of a refusal to accept myself? Just like how Auggie used his space helmet to cover the face he did not want?

In a weird way I think I use my weight and beauty as a way to protect myself from rejection. Stick with me here, I know it’s backwards, but here it is:

I’m scared of what others think of me. I’m scared they will reject the real me: the goofy, silly, clumsy, creative, dancing like a fool and making up songs about nothing, me. I’m scared they will reject the me that has absolutely nothing to do with my body size. Right now if someone rejects me I can blame it on my weight. I can just be like, “Oh I must not look like the right kind of friend” or “my husband doesn’t think I’m pretty because my t-shirt is too small and keeps riding up over the little tire of chub around my belly and it disgusts him.” Just to be clear, these are MY thoughts. I have NO IDEA what anyone else is thinking about me. They probably aren’t even thinking about me at all.

But with these thoughts, I am aware of “why” I’m being rejected. So then I can explain away rejection in my mind and I can apologize to others for my weight. People don’t have to go behind my back and be like, “yea, I’m not her friend because she is fat and ugly.” Because, I “know” it already. But this is not reality! I’ve been living in a false reality and I have absolutely no idea how to get out of it. It’s like, when I don’t let people dislike the real me, I also don’t let people like the real me. When I protect myself from hurt, I rob others from the gift of me.

And if you message me and say, “just accept who you are” or “Jesus loves you the way you are” or “it doesn’t matter what other people think”, you may be speaking truth but you’re wasting your time and mine. It’s not that easy. I’m not writing this in search of compliments, I’ve done that for years, it doesn’t work. I’m not writing this to hear about the latest diet you tried, or the workouts you do, I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work. I’m not trying to be a bitch here, I’m just being honest with you. It doesn’t work because no matter what I try, I’m still the one trying it! I’m the problem and I’m gonna tell you this right now, YOU CANNOT FIX ME. Only God can fix me. Only Jesus can fix me.

Does this brokenness of mine make you uncomfortable? Good. It’s reality. Reality isn’t comfortable. Jesus isn’t needed in comfortable. Please, let me be broken right now, because this is what is driving me towards the only one that can fix me.

I know this sounds harsh, but let me try to explain this in a different way. It’s like when I had a face full of zits back in middle school. I had no idea that the best thing for my face was simply a hot wash cloth to clean it and olive oil to moisturize. My mom had her own skin care regiment that worked for her and so I adopted it as well. Only, I didn’t realize that my skin was different than hers so instead of removing the pimples from my face, I managed to dry out my face and get more pimples! What the heck?

So a friend of mine said, “I know what to do! Here’s some cover-up.” And so I began using foundation and cover-up on my face to mask the zits and give the illusion that I had a clear face. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still use cover-up and foundation for the occasional zit when I’m going out someplace nice, but I don’t use it as a solution anymore. In middle school, cover-up was my daily solution to zits, but the reality was that the cover-up was clogging my pores even more and exacerbating the problem. The more cover-up I used, the more cover-up I needed. When cover-up was my solution I still had a big problem on my face. The cover-up may have given me the illusion of perfection at first, but after a while the bumpiness, redness, and puss of my face could be seen even through the cakiest of cover-up jobs. I had to let go of what I thought was the solution. I had to let go of the fear that my face may become more zitty before it got better. I had to give it time to get better and I had to stop covering up the problem even if that meant people would see my imperfection. So when my imperfect, zitty face made my friend uncomfortable once again and she said, “Hey, here’s some cover-up.”I knew in the long run it wouldn’t fix my problem, and it would actually make it worse, so I was able to resist. But if she were to put it on my face and I saw how it helped my appearance jut the tiniest bit, I know I would feel just a little bit better, and risk starting the cover-up process all over again.

I seek the affirmation and approval of others. Every time you tell me, “but you’re so beautiful” or “what are you talking about? You’re not fat!” or “Just accept yourself for who God created you to be!” It doesn’t actually help me. It covers my brokenness with a thin layer of cover-up. I leave thinking, “Oh, I’m not that bad…” But I’m done being “not that bad” I want to be “radiant!”

I’m done covering up. And I’m done covering-up other people’s imperfections too. I’m going to start searching for the REAL solution and I have a feeling it’s going to look very different from what I’ve been doing.

Awww Manna, I Am Sick of Manna

Exodus 16:32-35

31The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. 32Then Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded, ‘Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”33Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.” 34As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony, to be kept. 35The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

Whenever I read about the Israelites wandering through the desert I get very self-righteous: “Dudes, just accept the awesome provision God is giving you! You’re in a desert and He is providing you with food, daily! Get over that boredom you have with it. It’s a miracle.” But I always seem to forget that these people have been wandering in a desert for decades!!!! I’m sure the Israelites were done praising God for his miracle of manna and had moved on to asking God to get them out of that stupid desert! I bet it was easy to lose sight of the miracle when the focus became the question: “Why, God, Why??!! If you brought us out of the desert then we would’t NEED the Manna anymore. Why are you keeping us here? Why should we keep following you? This is crap and not what I signed up for.”

I was reading more about the ark of the covenant and stumbled upon this quote from the-tabernacle-place.com  “The pot of manna was an uncomfortable reminder that despite what God had provided for them, the Israelites had rejected Gods provision.”

My first thought, “idiots…”

So of course I had to ask myself the question, “What does God provide me with and what do I reject?”

My answer: “His love.”

I keep having this thought, “If God loved me He would answer my prayers and I would finally be able to lose this weight. I would finally be able to wear high top converses with shorts and like what I saw in the mirror because my calves wouldn’t be ginormous. I would finally be able to wear those cute mid-drift tops with maxi skirts. I would finally be able to wear a bikini and stop worrying that my husband was looking at every other lady on the beach and wishing my body looked like that instead of what it does look like. I would finally be able to wear those slouchy, boxy, comfy tops without looking like I weigh 300lbs. I would finally stop wearing out the thighs of my jeans so quickly and splitting my pants all the time. I would be able to wear leggings in public without feeling like my giant ass was offending everyone, I would be able to drink a beer in front of women who weren’t drinking without feeling like they were thinking, “Oh, that’s why she is the size she is…”and the list goes on and on.

This is ridiculous! I know it’s ridiculous, but I can’t stop feeling this way. It doesn’t matter how many times I repeat the following verses in hopes that it will stick, because my heart isn’t in it. My mind wants to believe, but I just don’t feel it.

Do not let your beauty come from the outside. It should not be the way you comb your hair or the wearing of gold or the wearing of fine clothes. Your beauty should come from the inside. It should come from the heart. This is the kind that lasts. Your beauty should be a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great worth and no amount of money can buy it.” 1 Peter 3:3-4  Mmmhmmm, ok , but I want to be beautiful in my husband’s sight and my sight and other people’s sight. I want all those people who hurt me to look at me and say, “Oh, I was wrong about her.” 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16  But what about my outward appearance? Am I doomed to look like this forever? Uggggggg….

Instead of inspiring me these verses depress me. I know my motivations are wrong. I have had people send me verses about why I should believe I am beautiful the way I am, why I am thinking the wrong way, why I am striving after the wrong things,  and blah blah blah. But I’m blind, I’m blind and I cannot see. I need more than just bible verses and prayer. I need a miracle. It doesn’t matter how much I try to see my beauty if I’m blind. Because no amount of my will can make me see it because I’m blind! I need Jesus. I need Jesus to spit in some mud and smear it on my eyes and say, “Go wash the mud away in the spring” and then miraculously my sight is restored.