Beauty & Trust: More Than Skin Deep
This is the first post I've ever read on how to deal with skin problems from a Christian perspective, and yet I think it's an issue that occupies so many girls' thoughts and conversations. I think it's really important for us to be thinking about whether we're acknowledging God as our King over every single part of our lives - and this includes how we feel about the way we look, even down to our skin.
This is why I'm so glad to be able to publish the post below on More Precious this morning, and am so grateful to one of our writers for opening up about how her own particular struggles led her closer to our loving, sovereign God. I hope her encouragements might point you to Him too. Enjoy... - L xo
“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”
At its worst, my skin was a mess of spots, scars and red patches that left me feeling self conscious, despondent and upset. What had begun as a few spots on my forehead an “inevitable part of growing up” that I would “soon grow out of” quickly became acne that spread across my face and chest and threatened to stay, consuming the appearance I took such pride in.
I can clearly remember talking with a girl in my English class and watching her eyes snatch glances at my red, raw, lumpy cheekbones as we spoke. I chatted and laughed with her but inside I was painfully self conscious, desperate to leave the room before she could take another discreet look at the skin I hated. What was she thinking? I panicked that people would think I didn’t care about my skin when in reality I’d used every wash and cream on offer, had dutifully eaten my five a day, had been to the Doctors and taken different types of antibiotics yet still my skin remained the one part of my appearance that I simply couldn’t control.
Our culture tells us quite plainly to get rid of our blemishes; our spots are not what people want to see. Instead, TV and magazines present images of girls with dewy skin, they are pore less and perfect.
When I was struggling I found comfort in reading that whilst “people look at the outward appearance” God looks past our exterior – “but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) In a world where our image is so often judged before our character how great to have a God who is concerned only with our ‘inner selves':
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes. Instead, 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” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
We spend so much time agonising over, talking about and bettering our appearance, I wonder if we ever think to spend that time working on our “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit?” I know that I certainly don’t, yet God sees our unfading beauty to be of “great worth.”
It’s exciting too, to think of the new bodies we will receive in heaven, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Revelation 21:5). We will be made perfect like Jesus in heaven, given heavenly bodies that do not dissatisfy us like our current bodies as they inevitably change.
Medication has now cleared my skin up but looking back God has taught me many lessons through my sore skin. I’ve been humbled; I’m not in control of my appearance – God is and I must commit my appearance to him. My skin showed me how judgemental I can be towards people struggling with their appearances – it’s easy to judge those with problems you don’t have, much harder to be the one being judged.
Please don’t think that I’ve grasped all this and that my appearance is no longer an issue to me, of course it is. Once my skin was treated it didn’t take long for me to find other parts of my body that I was dissatisfied with rather than being thankful for the healthy body God has given me. I continue to struggle daily to trust God in every aspect of my life – including my skin but how great to know that we have a loving God who loves us whatever our appearance.