Obviously, I am a girl/female/woman and a common thing within the female gender is to care WAY to much about outward appearance. Insecurity in how you look or image obsession is something that controls so many women of all ages, and it’s something that has controlled me in the past.
Image obsession began to take over me at a very young age, probably starting around third grade. However, the worst time for me in my insecurity was definitely fifth and sixth grade. I can just remember not liking anything about myself, and it all included my hair, my face, my legs, my arms, my hands, my weight, my glasses, my clothes and about everything else. I mean you name it and it was probably on my list.
I think that most of it started with comparing myself to other girls. There were pretty girls in my grade, and I had pretty friends. But I just didn’t think I was pretty like them. I didn’t look like the girls that I thought were pretty and that really bothered me. I tried to look like them, to do the things they did and pretty much try to be them. I can remember looking at one girl and seeing that her nail polish was chipped and I decided that my nail polish needed to be chipped. So, I made sure that my nail polish chipped because I thought that then I would be pretty.
I had heard over and over from my friends and my family that they all thought I was beautiful. To be quite honest, I didn’t really care what they thought. I wanted to feel beautiful, and I didn’t want anyone else to tell me. I just wanted to know it myself. Nothing seemed like it would help, but obviously something did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this right now. So, here’s 3 things that helped me overcome my battle with image obsession.
This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s super essential! Communication to God is so important and is a huge part in growing a relationship with Him. Telling God you desire and need help to overcome your insecurity means that you’re already taking steps away from insecurity. God answers prayers, and when you pray to Him about your insecurity, He will answer you.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.
We hear all the time that we’re made in the image of God, we are beautiful in God’s eyes, women are daughters to the King of Kings, charm is deceitful, beauty is passing, a woman who fears the Lord will be praised, beauty comes from a gentle and quiet spirit, and that beauty doesn’t come from your outward appearance.
Somehow though, we still ignore all these thing to the point that it seems overused and cliché. We all need to get over the fact that it seems cliché because these things come straight from the word of God! He himself says these things to us! They are TRUTH. That is something that we all need to grasp. When we understand what these truths mean and live them out, we can know who we are in Christ and not feel insecure anymore.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
“Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
1 Peter 3:3-4
I can’t tell you the exact day that I stopped letting image obsession control me. As I got older, I knew that I needed to grow my relationship with Christ. So, after lots of time, I started to work on that. I’ve spent more time with him by being in the word, by prayer, and by listening to him.
After starting to grow my relationship, I stopped focusing on my appearance. I didn’t realize it at first, but then I noticed that I didn’t hate who I was seeing in the mirror. My outward appearance stopped ruining or making my day.
I also read about another lady who experienced the same thing. She focused on Christ and forgot about her image. This is what she said in the book Lies Young Women Believe, “You’ve got to be more focused on your internal beauty than your external looks!” That is so true! When you put your time and effort into your internal beauty rather than your external beauty, that is when you really change. Your life will no longer be consumed by unrealistic expectations and be consumed with a wonderful, loving God, who is worthy of honor and praise. I can not tell you how much better it is to fill your life with God! When you do this, 1 Peter 3:3-4 and Proverbs 31:30 are really proven to be true!
So, those are just 3 things that helped me overcome my image obsession. I’m not claiming that I don’t still question how I look in the mirror sometimes. I still wear makeup, fix my hair, and spend time on creating outfits. I actually really enjoy all of those things, but I don’t let my worth be determined by them. I can leave the house without makeup, messy hair and not my favorite outfit.
Some days I feel and say that I look really bad; however, I know that my appearance is not who I am. I can go through a day with really bad eyeliner and my hair pulled back and have an awesome day. I don’t need to look put together to have a good day anymore. God has changed that.
Pray and ask for him to help you work through your insecurity, know who you are in Christ and grow with Him. Image obsession can be defeated, and it doesn’t have to control your life.
Some books that have helped me through my struggle:
Lies Young Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh
Salvaging My Identity by Jennifer Mills and Rachel Lovingood