By Beth Winze
I wish I could remember the last moment when my reflection in the mirror was no longer my friend, but my worst enemy. If I could pinpoint that exact moment, freeze it and talk to the little girl I once was, I don’t know what I would tell her. Because if we’re being honest, I still don’t know how to tell her to love herself – how to let God’s Word scream louder than the deafening roar of the World. The truth of the matter is, I still feel my heart painfully twist inside my chest every time I walk by a reflective surface. I am 21 years old and I somehow still manage to be my own worse enemy. I go longer between moments when I feel undeniably beautiful and absolutely free.
I could blame my painful lack of self-esteem on the girls in middle school who verbally reminded me of how unworthy I was of popularity or good looks; I could blame the guys I so deeply desired but never had; I could blame the tabloids I read in line at the grocery store that inform me that there are better ways to be a human than I am currently being – “21 Things You are Doing Wrong in Your Love Life.” But as C.S. Lewis said, “The patient continues to believe that the problem is ‘out there’ in the ‘broken system’ rather than recognizing there is a problem within himself.”
So the problem is within myself, sin nature. Desiring something that others have, chasing worldly things over heavenly things, and abandoning the truth that I am good enough for Christ alone if no one else. I think Jesus put a brick wall in my path in order for me to look up at Him just long enough to hear what He has to say to me.
“Here you are Beth, broken and falling apart, limping along. I have offered you my help, love and healing touch, but you have convinced yourself that limping along in your brokenness is somehow better than walking whole and healed again. So here I am offering you my hand, will you finally take it?”
So I tried. I thought I was taking God’s helping hand. I went makeup-less for days, ignoring the panic that rose every time someone made eye contact with me. If I could just bring myself to make eye contact with a stranger and smile without having to be covered in Mary Kay then I could finally gain confidence. I bought Christian self-help books about building confidence and true beauty. But those are only pretty bandages to help conceal the real injury. The fact that I have a gaping hole in my soul that needs to be filled daily by Jesus alone. No paraphrased Bible like Jesus Calling or self-help devotional on “10 ways to know you are beautiful” will help me exterminate the hatred towards to myself. Because it begins with a broken Beth and a whole Cross.
But I have had to come to realize this. I am tired of apologizing to people because I am not wearing makeup. You apologize when you have made a mistake – and Christ didn’t make a mistake in giving me a skin complexion that houses more acne than some. Why would I apologize for something My Creator has given me? Is that not the highest offense I could offer Him?! A mother doesn’t apologize to house guests for the out of line coloring page her three-year-old made her, because it doesn’t have to be announced that it was made with love, no matter the imperfections.
So if you, like me, apologize for how God made you, or shutter every time you think of your reflection, I urge you to deeply evaluate the way you treat yourself as an unfortunate effect of sin nature. But also realize, that Christ died on the Cross so that we may live. And living fully for Him doesn’t consist of living in shame of ourselves. Living in Him is living in boldness and the knowledge that the world will never count us as enough, but we are enough for Him alone.