My beloved Grandma is 82 years old now, and relies on a walker to get around. She is still trying to lose weight and spends a lot of time thinking about her weight and worrying about it and talking about it. Her reason for wanting to lose weight isn’t for health reasons, she’s just unsatisfied with her physical appearance.
Grandma has raised four good sons, has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and has been married to a wonderful, loving man for nearly 60 years now. She’s had an exceptionally good life with many blessings and few tragedies. She is well-loved by her family and no one cares in the slightest what she weighs.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
My Grandma has this unfading beauty and she is cherished. I wish that she could see just how beautiful she is to me, extra pounds and all.
Imagine a world where we all looked exactly alike. How boring would that be? The varying shapes of eyes and color, the shapes and sizes of noses, chins and jaws, cheekbones, straight or arching eyebrows, crow’s feet, laughter lines, straight hair or curly, are all features that give a person character. So, what aspect of your body do you dislike most? The shape of your legs? Your waist? Your backside? Your nose? Let it go. No one else is obsessing about that part of your body. They’re too busy obsessing over some aspect of their own body.
While the media portrays physical beauty as perfection only, the truth is that a person can actually be beautiful, lovely, attractive, cute, or handsome, regardless of any number of physical “flaws” they might have.
For all you know, that crooked smile is one of your most endearing physical attributes.
Now, comparing ourselves to celebrities and models is one thing, but it’s just as easy to compare ourselves to friends, relatives and co-workers. Even a day relaxing at the beach can be downright depressing if a group of pretty girls happen to waltz by with little bikinis and “perfect” figures. The same can be said of a trip to the mall: all it takes is one sleek female brushing by you in the clothing aisle to make you toss your armful of clothes back onto the rack in despair.
When you’re discontent with your body, it’s easy to find someone who looks better than you. It’s also easy to find someone who looks worse than you, too. And though it may be a guilty pleasure to spot a woman who weighs more, it doesn’t actually help you feel any better. As the founder of “The WeighDown Diet,” Gwen Shamblin, points out (and I’ve paraphrased), “A woman who is five pounds overweight is just as unhappy with her body as a woman who is fifty pounds overweight.” So, it doesn’t matter how many people we see who look “worse” than us; all it takes is seeing one person who looks better, to sink our spirits for the rest of the day.
This is called coveting and it’s no different from envying those who live in mansions while we live in cottages.
Sometimes we see women in public who have some physical aspect that we find unappealing and we might have vain thoughts like, “Boy, I’m glad I don’t look like her.” But here’s the thing: we do not know these women personally. We do not know if they are loving and gentle, sweet and kind, talented, smart, witty, generous, ambitious. We know absolutely nothing about them other than their physical appearance and perhaps their occupation. As such, it’s easy to believe that in the same way we find certain physical features unattractive in strangers, other people are finding those same features unattractive in us.
Let’s take a moment to analyze this:
Think about the women in your own circle of close friends and family who happen to be overweight. Do you think they are unattractive and unlovable because of that? Not at all. Next, think of the women you know and love who are slim but have cellulite or spider veins, for example. Do you think they are thus unattractive and unlovable? Of course not. These are women we love and respect and care for deeply. It doesn’t matter what they look like physically; we love them just the way they are. And because we know them, we also know their hearts and dreams and personalities. We enjoy their company and they enrich our lives. It’s who they are inside that makes them so lovely to us. See, that’s the difference between a stranger and a friend. My point is not that looks don’t matter or that people never judge each other based on outward appearance – they do. But once you’ve come to love someone, their looks will no longer matter.
Let me ask you this: Why do you believe that you are “unattractive” or “unlovable” simply because of being overweight or having cellulite or acne, or hair too curly/too straight, or a disability? What makes you any different from all the other imperfect women you know and love? Do these woman care that you are overweight? (I’m guessing you don’t care what they weigh!); and do they think you are ugly because you don’t have perfect features? Not a chance. In the same way that you love and accept them, as is, they also love and accept you. See, the wonderful thing about inner beauty is that it transforms a person’s outward appearance once you get to know them. In the same way, a lack of inner beauty can severely mar even the most physically-appealing face. As the old saying goes, “Beauty is skin deep but ugliness goes straight to the bone.”
It’s time to start treating ourselves with the same respect and consideration we so generously give to others.
Chances are, the most wonderful and beloved women in your life are not anywhere near model-material. They are normal women with normal bodies; big or small, short or tall. If we were to change these women into glorified caricatures, we would likely have to remove everything about them that makes them unique and interesting and truly exquisite. We wouldn’t recognize them anymore.
Anyone who has lost a loved one has felt the terrible pain of knowing they will never again see the face of the one they cherished, so long as we remain on this earth. We love the faces of those precious to us; we hold their images dear in our hearts. And if we lose someone we love, we long to see their face just one more time. You may not have the face of a supermodel, but your eyes, your smile, your face is precious to those who love you.
How can you continue to despise the face that is so treasured by those who love you?
Isaiah 53:2 says of Jesus, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Yet how we adore him! God, our Creator, could have been the most physically attractive man to have ever existed (he was, after all, perfect by being without sin). But when it came to his physical body, he chose to be ordinary. I ask you this: Who is more lovely than Christ?
You don’t have to be physically attractive to be beautiful to those who have come to know you.