The Fistfight for Our Beauty
Dannah says there is a fistfight going on between God and the Devil over our beauty. I’m sure you’ve felt it before. Maybe your insecurity is your hair; maybe your body type; maybe it’s acne… As girls, we listen to the voices of others; we covet the approval and affirmation of those around us. I know a little something about this struggle.
I’m a crowned beauty pageant winner.
And I have struggled deeply to feel beautiful.
Can I tell you what I learned on the pageant circuit?
Only God can truly inform our opinion of what is beautiful.
I recognize that many of you will have strong opinions of how these “beauty contests” objectify women. You can’t imagine a godly girl participating in such an event. I respect those opinions and would even agree with you in some cases! But let me bring you behind the scenes to look at it from a different angle: mine.
My experience was nothing like Toddlers and Tiaras! I participated in a series of scholarship pageants. These were heavily rooted in academic achievement, community service and interviews. I was strongly motivated by the scholarship money. Heading to an out-of-state, private college, any money helped. Using old prom dresses and clothes I already owned, I won $6,000 in college scholarships.
Yes, I modeled an evening gown.
Yes, I even stood in a swimsuit to be judged.
You can imagine that standing to be judged in a swimsuit was not an easy thing for me. My right hip is noticeably mangled. Scars cover the majority of my leg, muscle atrophy is highly visible, and I walk with a limp. Now add heels to that mix! I dreaded this portion of the event. In my first major scholarship pageant, I was determined to hide my “flaw.” I used an unrighteous amount of makeup to attempt to hide the scars and make my leg look normal. (Didn’t work!) I went out on stage unsure of myself. I hid from the other girls. I was angry at the God who “made a mistake” with me. Needless to say I did not do well in the competition and I missed a major ministry opportunity.
I found myself in the same position a couple years later; God had changed my heart. I chose to believe that there is no flaw in me. I didn’t cover the scars. I didn’t try to change my walk. I came from backstage radiating the confidence of Song of Solomon 4:7. When I reached the front of the stage for my pose, I angled my bad hip toward the judges. A few jaws dropped and I could hear the audience gasp as they saw my mangled leg. I smiled with more joy than I’ve ever experienced, feeling the beauty of the Lord radiating from inside. I placed very well in that competition.
And what a mission field it became! So many girls in the pageant struggled to believe the truth of their beauty. I was able to stand backstage with them and tell them about a God who doesn’t see a flaw (Song of Solomon 4:7). All the while, I was showcasing one they could see.
The other contestants were full of stares and questions. It was an open door to sharing the truth about beauty. I was able to pray with girls backstage and eventually, lead one of them to the Lord. Miss Iowa 2013, Nicole Kelly, has a similar story. She was born missing most of one of her arms. Isn’t she beautiful?
Girls should take pride in their God-given beauty. We need to walk in the confidence of it! I love fun clothes, cool makeup and awesome hair just as much as any girl. The danger is when self-image becomes a god; when we feed our flaws rather than feed our spirit. When we compare ourselves to other girls, or become discontent with our appearance, we are essentially telling the God of the Universe that He messed up. Be careful!
True beauty must start with God first – believing what He says about us. I believe so many Christian girls lose the battle for beauty because they are unhappy with the way God made them. If we consider Him to have made a “mistake” with us, it is going to be incredibly hard to honor and respect Him with our bodies.
We must believe that Jesus has already won the fistfight. He is enthralled with our beauty (Psalm 45:11). When we choose to see ourselves the way He sees us, our beauty battle turns into a victory.
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