I struggle with finding my identity in the way that I look. Sure, I want to say that I just look at the inside or the heart because that sounds a lot nicer but to be honest I really struggle with my appearance.
It's not even a really conscious thing that I choose to think all the time. I'm just going through my day and thoughts seep in about how I look--thoughts of dissapprovement and displeasure, thoughts of anxiety and shame. Constantly I am told the way I must look by the magazines, celebrity culture, and commercial campaigns. The way girls my age are portrayed seems to be one note and lacking diversity. Before I know it, I feel bad about how I look and want to make a change.
I wonder if you relate.
It's so incredibly hard to get out of that mindset. That sinking-down feeling of "I'm not good enough". Like I said, it's often not conscious. I realize it when I realize my mood is down and seek to identify why. Sometimes it's when I compare myself to someone on Instagram. Other times, it's when I compare to someone I don't even know. Like, "Wow she is so beautiful...look at her body...she's perfect..." then it goes to, " oh wow, she has ____...she has everything..." then the spiral continues...I look at myself and feel that I have nothing. This sounds really depressing, but it's just where my mind goes.
I wonder if you relate.
Do you ever feel like you just want someone to open your brain and take out all of the gross negative stuff and replace it with the positive and the truth?
BUT YAY this morning, I was praying about this and was reading this passage in 2 Corinthians 5. I don't know what you believe but regardless of where you stand, I hope you find this encouraging like I did!
Verse 1 says, "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
All of these earthly things--our bodies--will be "torn down"/they will be no more! It is not eternal! Our live is so short so why focus on those short and actually pretty meaningless parts of us? It's so easy for me to get caught up in the physical rather than the spiritual/my heart and mind perhaps because people don't really see those parts of me and I'm a people pleaser so I have this innate desire to "look good" to those around me. But, we have something greater! Something from God Himself! Something eternal! (Woah) That sounds a lot more long-lasting and worth my time than appearance.
Verse 6 says to "be of good courage...knowing that we aren't even at home in the body but rather in the Lord!"
"I prefer to be absent in the body and at home in the Lord." This is my prayer. I want to feel so focused on what the Lord says about who I am, that my body is just a being that I am in for the time. I want to be so focused on the eternal, that my fears like how I look compared to _____ or the fear I feel about a certain food because of my innaccurate fears of what they will do to me (lies) will not even be worth a sitting thought in my mind because I know the value of it is lacking.
Verse 12 WOAHH!!! "We are are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart." um WOAH! Ok cool, so when I feel the pressure to look a certain way, put my identity in my appearance, or feel fear and anxiety because of my appearance, I can look to THIS TRUTH! We have an ANSWER y'all!! How cool is that!?! When we feel those thoughts seeping in, when people tell us that what they say is truth and we must put our efforts and identity in appearance, we can look and FIRE THIS COMEBACK!
"Thanks, but no thanks. I don't need to fear or feel pressure in my appearance. It actually doesn't really matter to tell you the truth! That is passing away and before you know it will be dust! What I care about is eternal. That is not home to me."