Now, more than ever, it seems easier to struggle with self-image, beauty and comparison. It's so easy to get wrapped up in comparing ourselves to each other -especially with the most beautiful and wonderful parts of everyone's lives displayed right at our finger tips.
It's so simple to get wrapped up in counting the number of likes and/or comments we get on a post. On the other hand, while we see all of these kinds of posts all the time, I find it especially difficult to not compare myself. I'd think "Wow, her skin is so clear; why can't mine be like that?", "I wish I had an outfit like that", or "I need to go buy that".
My biggest struggle when it comes to image is battling my eczema. Just today, I found myself crying after my shower, seeing all of the sores on my body, feeling so ugly and gross. I thanked God it was winter time and that I could hide it for now. I started scrolling through my feed and feeling pangs of jealousy and bitterness again. Why do I have to deal with this? Why me?
After I calmed down a little, I realized that everyone has their own image battles. Everyone has their own cross to bear. Some people struggle with their weight, anxiety, family life, depression, drinking in excess, the way they look, friendships, anything and everything else.
Struggling with self-image and beauty is so common; it's painful.
Who defines beauty and what does it mean to be beautiful?
Do we go by the standards the world has set for us? Tan, clear skin, full and shiny hair, thin but not too thin, and the list goes on... I get overwhelmed just thinking about this ridiculous list. Or do we go by the standards that the Lord has set? What even are those standards?
"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
The standards for beauty in Jesus' eyes are a beautiful heart, mind and spirit.
These are most definitely not the same standards of beauty the world wants us to maintain. Take comfort in this. While it's still a challenge to remind myself of Jesus' beauty standards, it's comforting at the same time. My eczema does not define or lessen my beauty. The purity of heart defines it.
Let us lift each other up and not compare ourselves to the world's beauty standards. Let's challenge each other to focus on our inner beauty that Jesus sees.