The word beautiful always makes something inside of me, push back. It’s a great word, and even though the content of beauty is entirely personal, the fact that everyone sees beauty is universal. Because beauty is only in the beholder’s eye, I find it ironic that I have struggled most of my life to look a certain way. Like every other human, I live out what I believe, and even though my belief system is being changed daily by God’s word, there are some deep-rooted ideas that I’m not enough. As a young child, I was given this tiny box and asked to stuff myself into it because being a specific size is the only way to be beautiful, and being beautiful was the only way to be loved. I wasted so much of my life angry and defeated, believing I was unworthy of love.  That one belief created a trajectory for my life that could only lead to destruction, and it did. Every day, I am thankful for my rescue and the changes in my life and thinking, but this beauty issue challenges me.

I will start with the sweatshirt. A few years ago, I bought a sweatshirt online. It is white with gold letters that say beautiful; I didn’t know it said anything when I ordered it, so that was a surprise. It is truly the most comfortable shirt I own, but I have worn it a total of two times. I put it in the Goodwill pile a couple of times, but I always take it back for some reason. The crazy thing is when I have worn it by the end of the day; I find myself unable to look up and make eye contact with people. I’m sure that every generation creates a plan to fight against this idea of outward beauty, yet the problem seems to worsen. Why would He pick me and give me a desire to encourage and strengthen other women? I certainly do not have all the answers or even most of the questions, but I know I’m not alone. God has called me to be beautiful. I can almost hear the gasps, but this is not a place of vanity or looks, or even size. The most beautiful people I have ever seen are the ones I love. It’s like a domino effect where the more I know someone’s heart and hear their hopes and dreams, and I begin to see them differently. Others become beautiful because they become confident, secure, and able to be silly and play. To be known is what it takes to be loved, and to be loved is what it takes to be beautiful. My God is beautiful, and I have never seen Him. He is the light in me, and He has given me all the beauty in the world because He loves me.  It will take me some courage to step out from behind my life, but He calls me Beloved.  

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