A few weeks ago, I walked out of the podcast studio at church where we had finished recording both audio and video and greeted a woman who would be in the next recording. She was wearing a cute black dress and her hair was long and flowy. She was stunning and I joked that she had definitely known she was being recorded. I walked on to my next meeting and felt…ordinary. Not beautiful. Less than what I wanted to be.
A similar mental conversation has occurred several times lately. I’ve seen a picture of myself and been displeased. I’ve looked in the mirror. I’ve seen someone else’s cute outfit. This form of noticing has happened all my life. We are trained from a young age to see a standard and know that we don’t live up to it. We think if we were skinnier, better dressed, had clearer skin, or a deeper tan, we would be more valuable, more worthy, more content with ourselves.
This form of noticing has not gone away but my reaction to it has changed.
Now when I stumble across one of these well-developed paths in my mind, I just say, “That’s not my job.” It’s not my job to be beautiful. It’s not my job to look skinny in pictures. It’s not my job to have the best wardrobe. It’s not my job to be considered beautiful.
I actually mean that response. I’ve been practicing it for years now and it feels more real in my heart than it did when I first started. Rehearsing that answer does not mean that assaults about my appearance do not arise inside me. They do. It does mean that they don’t stay long now. I refuse to give my time and my energy to feeling bad about how I look.
When I stand before God one day, he’s not going to ask me why I looked so bad in that picture. He’s not going to want to know why I did not weigh ten pounds less. He is not going to ask why I was not beautiful. God made me in His image. He calls me to carry His name into the world, to be His ambassador. That has everything to do with who I am on the inside, with how I am being remade in Christ’s image. Though I want to steward my body because it is part of me and part of my life, being cuter or skinner will not call others to Jesus. It will not mentor anyone. It will not teach the Scripture. It will not make dinner for family and friends. In fact, pursuing being more beautiful or more photogenic could distract me from what God has given me to do.
I do not write this because I want compliments, “Ohhh, but you are beautiful.” If you think that, I appreciate it. Truly I do. But I’m not after compliments. I’m offering you my answer if you need it. When you are bombarded with criticism, internal or external, you can simply answer, “that’s not my job,” and move on with your assignment. It won’t feel congruent to begin with. But that will develop. Eventually, as you practice it, that answer will become something that you actually mean.