If Beauty Becomes Your Greatest Enemy
I looked in the mirror and rubbed my fingers along the side of my face. Pimples. The dreaded face accessory I thought I’d lose by my late twenties. Nope. Not this girl. Pimples and breakouts have continued to follow me well past high school graduation.
Despite my best efforts to cover the spots with concealer, they still peeked through and seemed to glare like bright red lights from my face. I didn’t like it. But what could I do? Nothing.
Over the next few minutes, I just stood there and stared at myself in the mirror.
As much as I wanted to believe that my beauty had not become my source of identity, it really had. Deep in my heart I believed the lie that I was only as good as my outward appearance.
It took me awhile to admit to myself that I was guilty of this. After all, I run a ministry teaching other girls truth, yet I was struggling with defining my worth in something other than Christ. I didn’t want to believe that I was allowing other people to define my sense of value, but deep down I knew I had. I could see it as clear as the pimples on my face.
In those moments of staring at myself in the mirror, I realized that God’s incredible gift of beauty had become one of my greatest enemies. My very being as a woman was being reduced to a few pimples.
Put Off. Renew. Put On.
I’m grateful for the Lord’s kindness in opening my eyes to my wrong thinking. I know how much He loves me and cares about me. I know my worth is so much more than my outward appearance. I know my value has nothing to do with what other people think about me and everything to do with what God has already said about me. I know all these things because God’s Word declares them in passages like this:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14).
I know that I’m not the only one who’s struggled with beauty becoming an enemy. I’ve heard from girls just like you expressing similar struggles. Because I know that I’m not the only one, I want to share with you a few practical action steps I took to help me in this area. (If you’ve ever struggled with your outward appearance, I encourage you to consider taking these action steps as well.)
These steps were inspired by Ephesians 4:22-24, which encourages us “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
This rhythm of putting off, renewing, and putting on is how we free ourselves from our beauty enemy.
Put Off Unhelpful Habits
Here are the specific steps I took to “put off” my old self in the area of beauty:
-- Stop following people or brands on social media that encourage a wrong mindset.
-- Stop watching shows that encourage me to idolize my beauty.
-- Stop obsessing over my hair, makeup, and beauty products.
-- Stop making beauty topics a huge part of my conversations.
-- Stop spending hours scrolling through Pinterest.
Renew Your Mind
Here are the specific steps I took to renew my mind in this area:
-- Memorize Ephesians 4:22-24.
-- Recite Ephesians 4:22-24 any time I’m tempted to base my identity on my physical appearance.
-- Make God’s Word the strong foundation in my life.
-- Remind myself of Who created me and Who loves me.
-- Remember that Christ defines my worth.
Put on Truth and Act on It
Here are the steps I took to put on truth (a.k.a. take action!).
-- Listen to audiobooks and podcasts that promote God-defined femininity.
-- Spend time with women who will encourage right thinking in my life.
-- Get involved in Bible study and make that a priority.
Invest in younger women and help them understand God’s design for beauty.
Applying these practical put off, renew, and put on steps has been super helpful for me. I’m not claiming to have conquered this area of my life, but it sure has become a lot easier since renewing my mind with truth.
If beauty has been a difficult topic for you, I encourage you to consider making up your own list of put off and put ons. I would love to hear what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing. Maybe you have some additional ideas that would be helpful for the rest of us. Comment below letting us know how you plan to put off wrong thinking and put on truth.
By Bethany Baird