Permission to Feel Beautiful with Bonny Logsdon Burns

We are nearing the end of this Feel Beautiful series, but I definitely haven’t run out of favorite marriage bloggers talking on this subject. And each has something special to add to this conversation.

Today we have Bonny Logsdon Burns, who runs the Oyster Bed 7 site with lower-drive wives in mind. Her outreach for godly marital intimacy is amazing, and she has a compassionate heart for those who struggle with libido. She’s delightful in so many ways, and I can’t wait to share what she has to say on feeling beautiful. So here it is!

Permission to Feel Beautiful with Bonny Logsdon Burns

I love this series. I feel more beautiful already! The wisdom in each guest post is as unique as the author’s brand of beauty. Thank you, J, for allowing me to accompany all these great encouragers!

For a long while I was not in a good place with sexual intimacy and part of the struggle was trying to reconcile the inner beauty/outer beauty mindset. Scripture seemed to tell me inner beauty was the only thing of value. However, my husband likes me wearing makeup and nice things, which involved my outer beauty. And honestly, I felt better about myself when I spent time on my outer beauty. But, wasn’t this focus on outer beauty a sin?

Can I be both Mother Theresa and Marilyn Monroe (the faithfully married kind)? Is that OK with God? If so, how does that work?

1 Samuel 16:7, “…..The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

It is interesting to me that in verse 7 of 1 Samuel 16 (above), it says the Lord does not look at outward appearance as a man. Yet, just 4 verses down we read:

1 Samuel 16:12 — “He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.”

Then, I saw all of these heroes and heroines of God described as having physical beauty.

Sarah             (Gen. 12:11)
Rebekah        (Gen. 24:16)
Rachel            (Gen. 29:17)
Abigail            (1 Sam. 25:3)
Esther             (Esther 2:7)
David              (1 Sam. 16:12)
Joseph            (Gen. 39:6)

God is not against physical beauty.

1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment….rather it should be that of your inner self….”

Peter isn’t condemning a woman’s outer beauty. He is saying do not make it a pre-occupation. (Actually, the whole section is about how a believing wife can win an unbelieving husband over to Christ with the beauty of her way.) Christian women are encouraged to develop inner spiritual beauty. I don’t refute that.

However, God is not against outer beauty. He created original eye-candy! He painted lovely even in normal stuff. See?

Thistle for Bonny's post Beach for Bonny's post Rooster for Bonny's post

In the midst of trying to figure out the balance of inner beauty versus outer beauty, I realized inner beauty and outer beauty are like hydrogen and oxygen. Meld them together and create life giving water, H20. InnerBeauty2OuterBeauty. You see, the inner beauty needs twice the nurturing, but outer beauty is still important and a blessing from God. So, yeah, I think it’s okay to be both Mother Theresa and a faithfully married Marilyn Monroe.

Give yourself permission to feel beautiful.

Knowing that God created beauty, why is it still hard to embrace beautiful?

Saying that you feel beautiful does not mean that you are arrogant or vain. 

Vanity desires to be physically beautiful at all costs. There is no thought to serve any other than yourself. I would venture to go as far as to say it is similar to an addiction, being consumed with thoughts of the mirror and the desire to hear compliments.

Feeling your beauty, will not make you vain, unless you let it.

What if I start letting myself feel beautiful and rejection jumps out of nowhere to trample my heart?This is a real possibility. Your brand of outer beauty isn’t going to appeal to everyone. Just like your brand of inner beauty, having a heart soaked in Jesus, isn’t going to appeal to everyone.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18).

However, both your outer beauty and inner beauty are pleasing to God. He’s really the only opinion that matters.

Beautiful girls can feel beautiful, too.

Accepting that you have pleasant physical features does not mean you are haughty. It’s acknowledging that God is a better designer than Louis Vuitton, Coco Chanel, and

Christian Dior combined.

Beautiful Christian ladies who realize their beauty, may experience guilt, shame, or confusion because of it.

My personal story of confusion is from when I was a child. Because of my coloring; black hair, blue eyes, and fair skin; people stared at me. Occasionally, my mother would cluck her tongue at these people (usually boys) and yank me away. I thought they were staring because of something wrong with me. I didn’t know that people stared when something was good, too. It wasn’t until one of my sisters told me I was, ‘such a beautiful child people stared,’ I realized what all the yanking was about.

You may experience guilt over undue attention or guilt for enjoying the undue attention. The attention is a little nod from God. It’s okay to delight in it for a moment.

You may experience shame that men other than your husband notice or shame that your beauty was the (perceived) cause of sexual abuse (it was not your fault!).

Gorgeous Jesus girls, embrace your God given beauty! He wanted you to look the way you look. If you are actively nurturing your inner Jesus beauty, free yourself from the heavy thought that you are causing another to sin with your outer beauty. Their heart and lack of self-control is what is causing their sin.

Christ’s freedom will help you feel beautiful.

“Through faith in Jesus we have received God’s grace. In that grace we stand. We are full of joy because we expect to share in God’s glory.” (Romans 5:2).

He gave you your beauty so that you can use it to serve HIM more fully.

Admit you’re feeling beautiful, what’s the worst that could happen?

You’ll feel fabulous.

When you start to feel beautiful you might want to take care of that temple you’ve been hauling around all your life. Drink more water, less caffeine/sugar. Eat more fresh food, less processed. Get more sleep and don’t say mean things to yourself. Dance, or at least take a nice long walk. All of this will spill over into feeling beautiful and liking it.

You’ll feel empowered.

Satan uses our negative self-image and negative self-value as a hurdle to many things, including sexual intimacy. Owning your inner beauty and outer beauty chases Satan away and can improve sexual conflict. There’s nothing more attractive than a beautiful woman with beautiful ways about her.

Jesus will be heard.

The reality is, our society values outward appearance. Your pretty face and warmth of heart will help draw people to you. Once they pick up on your hope, you’ll be able to share the story of your favorite designer, Jesus.

..I have become all things to all people so that in all possible ways I might save some. I do all of that because of the good news. I want to share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).

Bonny Lodgson BurnsHi! I’m Bonny Logsdon Burns. I write to encourage the low libido wife at www.OysterBed7.com. I am passionate about empowering and equipping low-libido wives through God’s Word and practical tools. If you are a low-libido wife, please check out my book, Unlock Your Libido: 52-Week Sex Drive Transformation. It’s an easy journey that may have profound results.

My husband, Dave, and I are candid about struggles and victories in the sexual arena. We have three grown sons, two daughter-in-loves, and one sweetpea (granddaughter). My favorite thing to do is laugh at Dave’s corny jokes. We are currently relocating to south Florida, please pray for us because we’re living the notion that major relocations cause serious stress. Connect with me through Twitter and Facebook.

15 thoughts on “Permission to Feel Beautiful with Bonny Logsdon Burns

  1. libl

    Yes, there are many men who do not find me attractive. I have been called ugly. But, I have also been called gorgeous, beautiful, classy, stunning, cute. I am almost never called pretty. Pretty seems to be reserved for the button faced feminine types. Marilyn Monroe and Scarlett Johansson are pretty. Betty Davis and Barbara Streisand are not described as pretty. But all 4 women are beautiful.

    I believe men are more attracted at first to the pretty types in general. It takes a more open minded, adventerous, or unique man to be enticed by “alternative beauty”. I have also learned not to take it personally. People are wired to find different things attractive.

    I can accept my facial features, my figure, my hair as beautiful, and they are in their own way, but the absolute hardest thing to get around is my skin. It has a chronic condition that is scarring and ugly. No way around it. When it flares up it is ugly. I am not ugly because of it, but it is a HUGE hindrance. I have been praying and seeking healing for 2 decades.

    Reply
    1. Bonny

      What a great term, ‘alternative beauty.’ I’m so glad you’ve embraced your brand of beauty. I understand what you are saying about your complexion’s condition. It doesn’t define who you are but it is a hindrance. Makeup can be a way to hide skin conditions, but makeup can also irritate those same conditions. Hopefully, your flare ups will become fewer and farther between and you’ll find a new treatment or a new treatment will be developed. It’s good to hear from you, libl.

      Reply
  2. anonymous

    Yes J I totally agree! God didn’t create ugly things! No matter what people say, we are beautiful in his sight. The more I go onto the internet the more I get discouraged. Women shouldn’t have to feel like they have to be popular or have a skinny waist to be beautiful. Nor should they have wear excess amounts of makeup or wear ultra expensive clothes. And we shouldn’t have to feel like we have to have a guy to be beautiful. A woman’s true beauty comes from within. Man looks on the outside but God looks at the heart. A beautiful looking person is not truly beautiful if they have an ugly heart.
    Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
    All His wondrous passion and purity
    O Thou Savior divine, all my nature refine
    Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
    – Albert Osborn
    ‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.’
    – 1 Peter 3:3-4
    Blessings J!

    Reply
  3. Kay

    Thank you for this. It reminds me of the scene from Mean Girls where all four friends are standing in front of the mirror and one by one they each start pointing out their physical flaws; when it gets to the main character, she was at a loss because she didn’t know this was a thing–to be so self-loathing of your own body. “Uh… I have bad breath in the morning?” “Ew.” And again, the mean girl tries to trap the main character into admitting she thinks of herself as pretty, because even when you are popular and considered a “plastic” (like a Barbie doll), you aren’t supposed to admit that you actually acknowledge your own beauty. It is “modest” to dwell on your physical flaws and not to delight in your physical strengths. I feel like this is even *worse* in Christian circles because of the emphasis on inner beauty, just as you said.

    I struggle then with feeling like a misfit since I do happen to think I am beautiful. I guess I feel like we as counter-cultural Christians should be the opposite of the world here; we should have the best body image of all! Yes, physically. Because we know and celebrate that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. In context, Paul is talking about our PHYSICAL body there, the same body used to have sex. This is holy ground! God designed each and every one of us according to his delight.

    And the funny thing about inner beauty; it absolutely shows in your physical beauty. Joy, peace, patience, and all the fruits of the Spirit look good on every body type and never go out of style.

    Reply
    1. Bonny

      Thanks for adding this, Kay! I like your insight that ‘modesty’ dwells on physical flaws. Let’s pray more counter-cultural beautiful Christian gals let their inner and outer beauty shine.

      Reply
  4. B

    Bonny, this is a really great post. I read it a couple times. I have had a lot of trouble with Js “Feel Beautiful” posts this year. I want to feel beautiful, to even know what it’s like to feel beautiful for a even few minutes, but it all seems so very wrong. I have a lot of wrong ideas, and I think one of them is that you are a much better person inside if you don’t just say, but actually believe you are NOT externally beautiful.
    As a child (and an adult), I was put down by the same relative since I can remember. She called me ugly and fat at least once a day. Anytime I felt good about anything I’d ever done, she told me I was prideful, conceited, stuck up, and no one would ever like me. I looked up to her and so desperately wanted her approval. So I tried so hard to do well at everything, AND I began to get really good at putting myself down and, even worse, believing it. This annoyed my friends, but I never understood why. Couldn’t they see how worthless and ugly I was? I had (and have) a lot of screwed up thinking. I have been saved, by the grace of God, for almost 15 years now – but I am just now, at age 40, beginning to deal with this deep, skewed way of thinking.
    For years we were in a “strict” church, where beauty was both encouraged and frowned upon. You were taught you need to be put together and beautiful at all times to keep your husband happy at home – BUT – you were NOT supposed to look attractive to any other man, ever. That made you sinful, and caused him to sin. Yikes! Talk about mixed messages! Those years I had a hard time just being a woman, and I struggled a lot. (We are in a healthier church now, thank God!)
    I started reading Christian marriage blogs about this time, and I had a horrifying realization. I had a much higher sex drive than my husband. I kinda knew this, but it had never been a huge issue. Until I read that I was abnormal, repulsive, broken. (Now bloggers may not have said this, but due to what “normal” is, and my skewed thoughts about myself) I quickly came to the conclusion that I was indeed fat, ugly, repulsive, disgusting, and a complete FOOL for initiating sex with my husband. I felt sorry for him for getting stuck with me. I saw every woman as far more beautiful. I stopped initiating sex and our sex life tanked. (I never took into consideration his 60+ hour work week, or the fact that we have different personalities.) I just saw it as proof of my head to toe ugliness and sunk even deeper.
    Now, many folks say “find three good things about yourself and focus on them”. I thought that was stupid. What if you didn’t have any? Or worse yet, wouldn’t that go back to being conceited and prideful?
    Now to be fair, objectively I’m probably not all that bad. But I would (and still do but I’m trying to change) focus on the negative. I’m 5’9″. As a child I was called “jolly green giant” and “Amazon woman” and quickly learned to slump my shoulders and hate my height. But is it that bad? I dunno. I still struggle with that one. I’m a little over 150 lbs. Sounds obese, but it’s really not. Not a supermodel, but not too fat. I wear a size 8. Nowhere near perfection, but not as bad as I think. I’m actually starting to feel anxious even saying these things. It really does feel bad to try to feel good! This is nuts. I have learned to focus on the negative, and it is HARD to do differently. I actually will read articles written by goodness knows who, and if they put me down, I run with it. Because I learned that feeling bad made you a better person. This is WRONG. And I’m trying to overcome it. I get a lot of compliments on my hair. It’s long, thick, and blonde. BUT I read that men actually prefer brunettes. So I decided to hate my hair. It’s almost a sickness and it sounds stupid as I type it out. I have big, bright blue eyes. And I’ve learned to be ashamed of them. There are a lot of articles (you can find anything online) that claim that all blonde hair blue eyed women are fake and shallow. Brunettes make better wives and mothers. Brunettes are smarter. And on and on and on…. It’s hurtful but it plays right into my low self esteem.
    Despite all of my issues, my husband still claims that he thinks I am indeed beautiful. I desperately want to believe him, but I have spent so much time convincing myself otherwise. I’ve even gone as far as to destroy almost every picture ever taken of me. I was trying so hard not to be prideful, that putting myself down became a pride issue. Does that make sense? It didn’t to me either, but it does now, and now I’m trying to overcome that and find a healthy balance.
    I need to work on my heart and commit this to prayer. Not just say it, but actually do it. But Bonny, your post was so refreshing! To even consider that it’s not a horrible sin to feel beautiful or to begin to like yourself. That I don’t need to insult myself constantly in order to be a good and humble person.
    And Bonny, I commented once on your blog about being a high drive wife, and your response to me and the following post you wrote about your higher drive sister was so sweet and loving. You changed my view. I always thought low or normal drive wives thought they were far more beautiful, far superior, and far more deserving of love than higher drive women. I was very wrong to make those assumptions. I have always felt bad about myself for having a high sex drive, and I feel guilty for wanting my husband so badly so often. I have been looking at everything, EVERYTHING, all in the wrong way. I have a LONG way to go in straightening this all out, but thank you for the part you’ve played in my healing.
    And J, thank you for tolerating me and my ups and downs!

    Reply
    1. Kay

      First of all, 150 pounds at 5’9″ is MEDICALLY considered normal according to the body mass index. Not obese, not even overweight, but NORMAL. Healthy. Where you should be. So you cannot call yourself anything else, because this is a scientific fact! 😉

      I’ve read before that our childhood critic (often our mothers) becomes the “voice” of the critic in our heads as we grow up. It has helped me tremendously to ask myself when I have a negative thought, “Wait, is that me talking? Or is that my mom?” If I hear my mom’s voice, I know Satan is at work. (I’m not calling my mom Satan, lol; I am just saying he loves to disguise himself using a familiar voice so it goes undetected.)

      The thing is, God is a Creator, and everything he creates is good. Satan can create nothing; he can only distort, corrupt, and destroy what God has made to be good–including our body image. It is not Christian modesty or humility to think of yourself as ugly; that is sin. (I hope that doesn’t come across as harsh, but I firmly believe that it is. If God says your body is good, then it is a sin to call it not good.) God commands us to honor him with our bodies. That means that our bodies are honorable, and how we think about them matters!

      Like Bonnie said, what would happen if you came to a place where you truly felt you were beautiful? If you could say, “Wow, God. My body is amazing. You are amazing!” Guess what, that’s called PRAISE. It pleases God to praise him for his creation. How many of the psalms talk about the work of God’s hands? (Hint: it’s a lot.) Your body is the work of his hands. To believe that it is bad or wrong or ugly dishonors God. Oh sweet sister, how I wish you could see what Jesus sees. Imagine that you are standing next to Jesus looking in a mirror. Would he be pleased by your current thoughts or would he be hurt? Would he instead cup your face in his hands and say, “My daughter, can’t you see? I made you beautiful. You are mine, and so you are beautiful.” (Picture your husband chiming in here, “See! I told you!”) You are the bride of Christ. No bride is ugly on her wedding day. Celebrate your body. Love your body. You are a stunning bride.

      I pray that God will lead and guide you as you seek to determine which voices are godly and which voices are sinful. Satan will do what he can to hinder your progress. I pray for strength and perseverance, because it sounds to me as if God is doing something big by uprooting all of these lies you have believed. God made you exactly as he wanted you to be. Embrace it. Delight in it. Your husband already does. And God did first.

      Reply
      1. B

        Kay, thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply. I struggle a LOT in this area, and you’ve given me a lot to think about.
        I compare myself WAY too much to everyone, and I always find myself lacking, and I always thought that was the right, proper, and humble way to be. I’ll admit though, this line of thought does NOT make one happy.
        Thinking positively and having a good or even decent body image are foreign concepts to me that feel wrong and weird. I am just now finally starting to learn and understand how wrong this thinking is.
        I’m not sure why this is such a struggle.
        In your sentence where you wrote “Like Bonnie said, what would happen if you came to a place where you truly felt you were beautiful?” That sentence actually makes me uncomfortable. Like, doing that would be a bad, egotistical, self-centered, not to mention delusional thing. On the other hand, I’ve never thought about looking at it as praising God’s creation. * sigh *
        It’s hard to feel beautiful in a world where unattainable beauty is thrust in our faces at every turn, even in the grocery store. I know that way of thinking is wrong, and I have to learn to stop comparing myself to everyone else. It’s a HARD habit to break.
        Anyhow, thank you for taking the time to reply. As I said above, you have given me much to ponder.

        Reply
        1. Kay

          David, the man after God’s own heart, writes: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

          “Your workmanship is marvelous.” What workmanship? David’s body. From the delicate, inner parts to everything bigger. Marvel at his workmanship in your body. Your body is marvelous. 😊 Know it. Believe it.

          You are loved. And you are beautiful.

          Reply
      2. Ellie

        Kay,
        While I know that you wrote this with Bonnie in mind, it was well written and ministered greatly to me. Thank you. I’ll be saving a copy of this for myself as well as for my daughter who also struggles with believing that she is beautiful.

        Reply
  5. Bonny

    B, I’m so honored that God has used me in any way to help you sort through His truth about your value as a beautiful high drive wife. I think a lot of us have dealt with the question, “If I don’t feel bad about myself am I taking Jesus’ sacrifice seriously?” Thankfully, God is never done showing us the truth of His word.

    Jesus said that thieves come to kill and destroy but He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). Abundant life is full of his peace and Paul’s contentment (Phil. 4:11). His abundant life is full of the Holy Spirit’s fruit and I believe that the abundant life is also full of self-value. The Freedom we have in Christ is the freedom from undue guilt. The freedom to feel that as we delight in God, He delights in us. There is no condemnation for those in Christ (Rom. 8:1).

    I am glad you are working on giving yourself permission to feel beautiful as the Lord made you and to lavish yourself in Jesus’ grace. I’ll be praying for you and cheering you on!!

    Reply
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  8. Robert Woll

    I like your article. Yet I’m wondering why The Song of Solomon’s Lover and his Beloved (or Christ and his Church) are not included. Their manifold beauties are described in more detail that anyone else in the Bible. Maybe that’s another article, Bonny, as you seem to be a prolific writer-and I’m glad!

    Reply

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