I had serious self-esteem issues in high school. Didn’t we all. (To those people who say high school’s the best years of your life, I say, “Couldn’t pay me enough to go back.”) Part of it was curable. I did eventually learn to fix my hair better. I learned how to dress in a way that flattered my body and made me feel comfortable. I learned how to put on makeup without getting mascara on my contact.
But you know what? I’m still the same height, aka, it’s hard to find clothes that aren’t too short. I’m still too skinny and lacking curves. I’m back to having to wear the glasses. I never grew Victoria’s Secret model hair. And I almost never paint my nails.
It’s not just that things are the same; they are worse. I’m pregnant with my fourth child. I’ve aged through the entire decade of my 20s. I have a prominent gray hair by my face and numerous scars on my legs from who knows what. And yet, I feel much more confident in my physical appearance.
Part of this is because it doesn’t matter. My looks aren’t my currency; they aren’t what I’m contributing to the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be supermodel gorgeous. I’ve just had to learn to deal with looking like the average human.
But the real reason I stopped obsessing about my appearance? My body is an instrument, not an ornament. It’s designed to work, and work it does. It walks; it talks. It hugs little boys. It makes food for our family. It tosses volleyballs in practice and turns the pages of my Bible. It helps little hands trace letters and it wipes dirt off feet. It hands out snacks and folds the laundry and sweeps the floor. It sings and serves the volleyball and draws the pictures and types the words on my computer. It holds my husband’s hand in the van, and it holds the door for the person behind me.
Your body is an instrument too. If you are going to show up and offer the world something, pick something besides your appearance. Show up and be kind. Show up and be witty. Show up and be helpful. Show up and be wise. Show up and joyful. Show up and be interested. Show up. Show up looking the best you can and let it be the last thing that matters.
You don’t owe the world beauty, girl friend. 1 Peter 3:4 talks about the beauty that matters and it’s the beauty of who you are in Christ. Now I care for the outside of me because I believe that the outside reflects the inside, but outer beauty means nothing on its own. I know people that the world would not consider beautiful but they are beautiful to me because of who they are.
When you get up one day and your hair doesn’t cooperate and your skin is broken out, do the best you can and then forget about yourself. I’ve almost cried over incidents like this in the past. I don’t enjoy them now but I have learned that my reaction is the only thing that can change. Go out into life that day with a “there you are” attitude and not a “here I am” attitude. Because this life really isn’t about you or me.
Can I let you in on one more secret? No one pays as much attention to you as you do. Sure, there are the critics, the gossips that will say bad things no matter what. But to them it wouldn’t matter if you looked like Audrey Hepburn. Ignore them. The rest of the world doesn’t notice all the flaws that grab your attention when you stare into the mirror. You don’t have to point them out either.
Your looks aren’t your currency. They aren’t your worth. They aren’t what you have to offer.