Normally, I would ignore a post like this. I'm not a fan of pass-it-along Facebook posts. They either make you feel guilty for not posting, or they're just completely ridiculous.
But this one triggered something meaningful within me, a feeling I couldn't quite figure out. I was afraid and curious and without words all at once.
To put it simply, I didn't know what it meant to feel beautiful. In fact, I've always been intimidated of the topic of beauty and I never felt comfortable enough to navigate its waters.
I always knew beauty went beyond outer appearance -- what the media loves to advertise beauty as -- but I also didn't want the cliche Christian answer that "inner beauty is the only kind of beauty that matters." I'm not a middle schooler in youth group anymore.
I thirsted for a genuine answer to the definition of beauty, so, being the avid blog reader that I am, I started hunting for Christian articles that discussed the topic of beauty.
I came across a blog that struck me on one of my favorite Christian women websites, The Good Women Project. The last few sentences caught me off-guard.
"It's hard to accept the fact that our point of view is not the only one that matters: there are people who love us and find us beautiful even when we cannot see our own beauty. We are too afraid to acknowledge that we are worthy of being loved, and beautiful because of that."Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on. Does the issue of beauty stem from a deeper issue? According to this blog, yes. It's saying that we won't feel beautiful if we don't feel worthy of love.
That brought me back to the beginning of this summer, when I was watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower on an airplane from Los Angeles to Taiwan.
"We only accept the love we think we deserve."That quote stuck with me the entire summer, and blossomed when a friend and I started discussing value and worth one day over coffee.
The root issue that I was facing was that I did not feel worthy of love. To give you some background, let me share some of my history with you. My father and mother divorced when I was 10-years-old, and because I lived with mother during my teenage years, I didn't have a father figure in my life to show love to me consistently. Because of this, I sought out love from guys -- in fact, any guy who showed interest in me. I didn't want to admit it, but I was hungry for what I thought was love at the time.
It wasn't until this summer when I realized that all these years I had been looking to fill a void in my heart with love that was less than perfect. Yes, I loved Jesus, but his love never took the first place in my heart. It was never enough. I always needed to quench my thirst for love from something or someone else.
When my friend helped me recognize that I was settling for love that was less than I deserved, I was speechless. She told me that because Christ is worthy and because he lives within me, that means I am worthy. Nothing I do makes me worthy but him. I am made in his image, and therefore I am worthy of the greatest love in the world. Now that's what you call a love story.
Since then, I've been reminding myself daily that I am worthy of love. I am worthy of Christ's love and I am even worthy of love from a man who loves the Lord with his whole heart. I won't settle for any less anymore.
Yet, here I am, still fearful of feeling beautiful.
So, I decided to do something. I decided that for the next 30 days, I will take self-portraits of myself expressing myself in my beauty. I don't do this in vain or to gain anyone's approval. Instead, I hope to boost my confidence in my own beauty and see my beauty more clearly.
Because that's what I think beauty is: confidence of who one is -- in both appearance and character.