The title of this blog is "Confessions of Jenny." I titled it that because I often write about things here that are just ideas I need to confess to the world. It's often easier for me to write about something rather than talk about it. (Although to be quite honest, talking isn't all that difficult for me.) I also think there is a lot of healing that comes from confessing. So here is tonight's confession: I struggle with feeling beautiful. I blame a lot of things on the way I look. So if a guy doesn't pursue me or if someone is rude to me, I assume it's because I'm ugly. When people tell me I'm pretty, I think they are just being nice.
I wrestle with myself all the time. Am I beautiful? Who is to tell me that I am? Who is to tell me that I'm not? If someone comments on an Instagram photo of me saying that I'm beautiful, does that mean I am? If I go all day looking my best, and no one notices, does that mean I'm not? And why is it so important for me to know whether or not I'm beautiful?
Growing up, these questions plagued me. As I have gotten older, I've gotten much more confident in who I am. I've also learned a lot about the meaning of beauty. It has changed from being solely about my outward appearance to something much different. The reason I'm making this confession tonight is because I know it is a typical insecurity for women, and I want to bring it out of hiding and shed the light of truth on it.
I'm reminded of a Beth Moore study I did a while back in which she stated, "It's tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment." Ain't that the truth? Our world has a way of taking something wonderful and turning it into a process or goal that is unattainable. Society has a yard stick for beauty, and it's nearly impossible to measure up. We fall into a comparison trap. I look at my friends and think that I should be more like them. I look at photo shopped images and believe that it is reality. I see celebrities on TV and figure that is the way we are supposed to look. And I know I'm not the only one who thinks this. Every woman I have ever talked to has this same battle. They can all make the same confession.
When I was in college, I was president of a Christian Sorority. Every member had to memorize our verse which is, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Provbers 31:30) I use that verse all the time to remember that how I look doesn't even matter. As I get older, the looks of my youth are bound to fade away, so I must anchor myself elsewhere. One of my favorite Bible verses is Ecc. 3:11 which states, He has made everything beautiful in its time. Beauty in God's realm is not a treatment, but a destiny. Time brings about more beauty.
At my Thursday night Bible Study, we've discussed the attributes that make a person beautiful. We listed the qualities of women that we thought were beautiful, and we found that it wasn't about their dress size or hair style. It centered around their heart. The way they treated people. Their view of life. When it comes down to it, pretty is as pretty does. Meaning that you can look pretty on the outside, but if you aren't being pretty on the inside, it's not much use. And the only person who can change us on the inside is Jesus. He makes all things beautiful in its time.
I love what the writer in Song of Solomon says in 4:7, All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you. The American King James Version says, You are all fair, my love, there is no spot in you. I adore that translation because my name, Jennifer, means "The fair one." It's a much needed reminder for me that the Lord thinks I'm beautiful. And if God says I'm beautiful, then I must be, right?