Jolene Engle of Christian Wife University is among my favorite gals on the web. She speaks honestly and biblically about issues wives face. Her website Christian Wife University is filled with great advice for marriage.
And I was privileged to participate in her amazing online conference, Wisdom for Wives, in which I got to talk about my favorite topic — marital intimacy.
Once again, Jolene gets real with her readers in today’s post about feeling beautiful. You’ll recognize the honesty of a wife who struggles like so many of us do, but also her godly response to those self-image concerns. I pray Jolene’s post uplifts you as it did me.
Any person in their right mind would think that what I’m about to share on the topic of feeling beautiful actually feels beautiful. But I don’t.
When I look in the mirror, I cringe.
When J invited me to guest post on this series of Feel Beautiful, I cringed.
Over the months as I’ve thought about writing this post, I’ve cringed.
As I’ve sat down to type out this post, I’ve cringed.
I’ve always had a distorted view of my outer appearance. Even when I weighed 112 lbs. standing at 5’7″.
Now I weigh more. Much more after giving birth to two kiddos, and I don’t mean yesterday. My sons are 14 and 16 years old, and for the life of me I still can’t get the weight off after all of these years. Insert: feels like a failure after all these years.
Just the other day my family and I were looking at old photos of the four of us. My husband remarked that he looks the same in all of them. I had a bout of discouragement that ran through my soul because it was quite evident that I did not look same.
He was growing old graciously and I was just… growing old. My waist is thicker and my hair is thinner.
When I look at those old photos, I cringe.
So, what on earth can someone like me who struggles with her outer appearance tell you about feeling beautiful when the majority of the time I do not?
Well, I do a few things so I’m not constantly consumed and drowning in my vanity sorrows and perhaps what I share will help you?
4 Ways to Feel Beautiful…when you’re not really feeling it
1. Define Who You Worship.
I fight to not make my outer appearance an idol in my life. When I want to hide myself from the world because I do not like how I look, I have a choice. I can either worship me (my insecurities) or worship the Lord and allow Him to use me to minister to others. This requires me to get out of the house so others will actually see me. And the idea of me taping and shooting more videos on YouTube, yeah, well that is never on the top of my to-do list.
But here’s the thing. I worship Jesus Christ. I bend my knee to Him, and when He calls me to share a message for the whole world to see, well, I want to please Him. I’m just hoping He won’t be calling me to get on Periscope anytime soon because that tool is like a video selfie! In my mind, I’m not even attractive enough for videos that I edit let alone videos of me in their rawest form!
2. Change What You Can.
A few weeks back I went to get my hair done. Afterwards, I felt like a million bucks just because I had a more flattering style to work with and my gray locks were now brown. Did I look like some hot beauty in her 20s? Nope. I looked like a woman who is in her 40s because that’s who I am. But a little change or effort in my outer appearance makes me feel beautiful.
Oh, and I don’t step in front of mirrors all too much anymore. I get dressed. Do my makeup and then I’m off to build God’s kingdom. Later in the day I might come across a mirror and I’m taken aback by what I see. I can’t help but think to myself, “Is that how I really look?” Disappointment creeps right back into my heart when this takes place, so I avoid it.
I also avoid the scale. Putting on a pair of pants that are snugger than usual is the indicator for me to cut back on my calories and exercise a bit more. I don’t need some object with numbers on it defining my self-worth.
3. Give Yourself Grace.
Accepting myself as I age is something that I wrestle with on a daily basis. Sure, I exercise on a weekly basis and I try to eat healthy and watch what I eat, but hormones and aging have changed my body. Therefore, I need to grant myself grace and so do you.
4. Accept the Compliment.
My husband will tell me I look beautiful, and most, if not all of the time, I don’t really believe he means it. Shame on me. I need to learn to accept his words and God’s words as truth rather than my words.
God has not called me to be a supermodel. He has called me to model Him. Whether I’m wearing yoga pants while I’m cleaning my house or getting all dolled up for a date with my man, what matters most is my heart. Does it reflect Jesus Christ?
People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
So what are the few things you do to feel beautiful? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Live a poured out life for Christ,
And yeah, don’t be fooled by the picture below. I don’t have that much hair anymore. This shot of me was taken a few years old. Taking a new one would require me to get in front of the camera. Again. And with that thought, I cringe.
Jolene was once an atheist who is now sold-out for Jesus Christ. Her heart beats fast for discipling women and you’ll find her doing just that at JoleneEngle.com. She is also the founder of Christian Wife University where she helps wives connect the dots from their reality to the Christ-centered marriage they long for and the one God intended. She is also the author of the book and bible study, Wives of the Bible.