Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From Ugly to...

Are you acquainted with Mary Kathryn Tyson's blog Beauty for Ashes yet?  If not, you should be.  We found each other a couple of months ago and I have been so encouraged by her posts.  Often I feel like MK is reading my mind when she writes about a particular topic.  I hope someday our paths will cross in real life!

Recently she used a clever prompt.
I used to____.  Now I ____.  As in, I used to be this way.  Now I'm this way.

I quickly came up with a few:
I used to sit in the corner. Now I boldly dance.
I used to be blinded by tunnel-vision. Now I view my life with the eyes of Christ.

Then I came to the one I knew I needed to write.  I'd just posted about my self-esteem journey so it was fresh on my mind.  I used to believe I was ugly. I believed this for a long time and have grown so much in this area.

Still...

The opposite of ugly is beautiful.  Do I really believe that I'm beautiful?  My fingers froze over the keyboard.  I wanted to just write, Now I believe I'm beautiful.  But I knew that wasn't accurate.  I believe I have a beautiful personality.  When it comes to physical appearance, I think I'm cute, some days I think I'm pretty.  But beautiful?  I can think of a handful of times in the last 10 years where I've looked in the mirror and believed that deep down in my heart.

I've been coming to grips with the fact that God believes I'm beautiful.  I shared in my self-esteem post about "viewing myself as God's creation, the work of His hands.  When I criticized myself, I was actually telling God He screwed up when He made me."  It's not just that God created me but He created me well.

Even though no one who reads MK's blog would know whether my comment was true or not, I would know.  It forced me to consider what I really believe when it comes to my physical looks. 

I used to believe I was ugly.  Now I know I’m far from it.

This is true.  I know I'm not ugly.  I know that it was my skewed perception and that it was wrong.  I was far from ugly then and I'm far from ugly now.  I know I'm beautiful on the inside.  And I hope that someday I'll look in the mirror and tell myself, "Leigh, you're beautiful."  Beautiful, inside and out.  Believe it because God made me this way and He got it right on the first try.  Not cute, not pretty.

Beautiful. 

The day is soon coming.  I can feel it.



Other encouragement:
Another Mary Kathryn gem: The Ministry of Make-up
Sarah Markley: Writing Words in Journals
(In)courage: Has anyone told you lately how amazing you are?

4 comments:

  1. What an awesome post! It's hard for me to think of myself as beautiful too. I love it when my boyfriend says I'm cute. But beautiful? I feel like that does not describe me. But I love the way you wrote about. Great perspective!

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  2. oh, my sister... you are among the most beautiful, shiniest treasures of them all in every way. you are captivating.

    i have always identified as 'cute'. in my drinking days, i would not leave a bar before being told i was 'cute as a button'. i have a friend whose nickname for me is 'button' as a result. not my favorite thing, but i resolved it was better than being called 'butt-ugly'. and then someone at one of my family's conferences once said to me 'you must be the one who got all the personality.' i'm still not entirely certain what exactly he meant by that, but clearly i remember his comment.

    i think it's something that we all struggle with, don't you? no matter what anyone tells us.

    brennan manning tells a story about a man who wakes up in the morning and says in the mirror something along the lines of, 'look at you! you're beautiful!'

    here's to waking up and having days like that. :)

    and, p.s. you better stoppit! i am just now seeing that you linked to me! that is so, so nice, leigh! thank you! i am so thankful that you are my new friend.

    xo

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  3. Kim, Laura, Mary Kathryn...thank you! I wonder why we downgrade ourselves to cute- what makes it so hard for us to describe ourselves as beautiful? It's not a fear of vanity but it must come down to a fear or anxiety about something. I'm grateful I'm not the only one who has felt this way.

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