Tag Archives: feeling beautiful 2015

4 Ways to Feel Beautiful…When You’re Not Really Feeling It with Jolene Engle

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.

4 Ways to Feel Beautiful...When You're Not Really Feeling It with Jolene Engle

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,

Jolene Engle

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 Engle

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.

Adiós, So Long & Get Gone, Insecurities! with Beverly Weeks

Not only is Beverly Weeks a wonderful advocate for wives, marriage, and marital intimacy, she’s also a gal who cracks me up. If you want to find a wife who fits, “Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come” (Proverbs 31:25), look no further than Beverly.

Married to her husband Rick for 20 years, they experienced great struggle in their marriage and 03redemptive healing from God. Now they reach out to other couples, along with their ministry partners, through the Intentionally Yours website and marriage events. I hope you enjoy Beverly’s authenticity, humor, and godly message about losing our insecurities and feeling beautiful.

Adiós, So Long & Get Gone, Insecurities! with Beverly Weeks

I can hear his heart pounding as he pulls me closely to his bare chest. His hands begin to caress my cheek and glide through my brown wavy hair. He pulls my body closer to him, and for a brief moment we embrace. I can feel the sweat on my husband’s brow as his fingers begin to crawl up my back like a brown recluse spider. I know without a doubt that there ain’t but one thing on my man’s mind, and honey child, I can tell you at that moment he’s NOT thinking about Christmas shopping with me at T.J. Maxx!

With great hesitancy, I crawl under the bed sheets in an outfit that seems to have less material than the average Kleenex tissue. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how I even managed to slip it on my imperfect figure without displacing a hip or causing a serious neck or back injury.  I lean over to whisper in his ear what I have been agonizing in my mind. Anxiously anticipating what I am about to say, my husband sits up in bed. Without regard, I recklessly blurt it out…Honey, hold on just a minute, we gotta turn the lights out!”

My insecurities and low self-esteem begin to attack my mind. I imagine that my husband’s eyes are drawn to the stretch marks, the extra tummy fold. There’s been no time to apply the fake tanning spray, for my day has been consumed with laundry, work, and two high school basketball games. What if he is blinded because my bare legs are glowing in the dark? It is then that I don’t feel pretty enough or feel that I even come close to measuring up to the beautiful women on the magazine covers or the billboards.

For a moment, a horrifying, hilarious thought comes to my mind. Just what if, I am on top and lose my balance and fall down. I could possibly squeeze the life out of him! My neighbor is a funeral home director, and I envision the chuckles and what would be said as our friends and family walk by my husband’s funeral procession. “Here lies Rick…Poor fellow he never had a chance. He was smothered to death!”

I lie there frustrated, disappointed, knowing that once again I have allowed my large-sized insecurities (LIES straight from the enemy and the pits of Hell) to become a hindrance to a passionate night of intimacy with my husband.

Have mercy. Somebody pass me a jar of crunchy peanut butter and a chocolate bar. I am about to step all over my hot pink polka dot painted toes, and I’m gonna need a pedicure by the time I am finished!

You see, for many years I found myself trapped, in the bondage to low self-esteem and my insecurities.

I allowed my pessimistic attitude and negative thoughts to take up free rent space in my mind and dictate my performance or willingness to make out with my husband in the bedroom. It was not until God restored our marriage many years ago and began to do a healing work in me emotionally and physically that I was able to recognize this. I began to cry out, Father God, I need you to set me free! Heal my mind. Help me to enjoy this intimate gift of pleasure with my husband as you intended.

There were days that I would have to look in the mirror and say, GOD, help me to change my attitude. I want to love the lady in the mirror the way that You do.

I want to love the lady in the mirror the way that You do. - Beverly Weeks Click To Tweet

My friend, I found my healing in the cross. I began to read God’s Word and learn His perspective of beauty and how I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I began to repent of my negative attitude which among other things was filled with coveting what other women had. Maybe you can relate to what I am talking about… If only I had her legs, her waist, her eyes, her hiney… If this makes any sense, I had to get rid of my toxic victim attitude and rise above my self-pity! I began to confess to GOD that I needed healing and some permanent fixing!

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and willing to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. “  

God has done amazing things in my marriage and for our sex lives! The chains have fallen, and I am learning to enjoy this great gift that God intended for marriage. My husband looks at me like I am a precious diamond. He holds me in his arms, and there have been times that I have even seen a tear fall from his eyes. He pulls me close, and the first thing he says to me is honey, you are so beautiful.

You see when my spouse sees me, he does not see the flaws and imperfections. He sees me through the eyes of his Master, He sees me as a beautiful daughter of the King! At the same time I am recognizing that my husband is my perfect gift from God.

What insecurities are you battling with? I want you to know that there is healing made available to you, through the power of Jesus.

Beverly WeeksBeverly Weeks is an energetic, Jesus-loving “girl-next-door.”  Her inspiring, transparent messages are seasoned with a little laughter, candid real life struggles, and filled with Biblical truths. Often times people who hear her speak say the same thing: “She’s just so real.”  An evangelist at heart, she has a love for her audience that is fully evident both on and off stage.

Beverly is a trained Biblical Counselor and Executive Director of a Pregnancy Resource Center. Her greatest joy is being a wife to Rick, and mom to her two children Tyler and Macy.

Blog/Website: Dialog with Beverly through her blog post, and follow her speaking schedule. She would love to meet you at an event in your area. www.intentionallyyours.org

Booking Beverly to Speak: If you are interested in booking Beverly for a speaking engagement, beverly@intentionallyyours.org. Available For: Church Events, Women’s Conferences & Retreats, Marriage Conferences & Retreats, Banquets, Seminars, Pregnancy Care Center Events.

Hey, wait a second, who wrote this? I’m just a simple southern girl, tee-totally in love with my Jesus! I love chocolate, peanut butter with bananas, alfredo sauce, shopping, and consignment shops. Did I say I LOVE chocolate!

Feeling Beautiful: 8 Things I Learned While Shopping

Something you probably don’t know about me: I love cowboy boots. Like seriously love them. Not as much as I love God, my husband, and my children, but they’re right up there with beach days and cream gravy. And yeah, I’m a Southern gal.

I haven’t even worn cowboy boots my whole life; just the last few years. But they are so comfortable on my feet that I wear them with everything I can, including dresses. A few of those dresses I’ve worn so much, they were getting tattered. What’s a Southern gal to do? Go shopping, of course!

Feeling Beautiful: 8 Things I Learned While Shopping via Hot, Holy & Humorous

So I spent two days over the July Fourth weekend clothes shopping in my area. Rather than give you a play-by-play of my excursion, simply imagine a horror film with you shouting at the screen, “Don’t go in there, girlfriend! It’s dangerous!” Only instead of a dark basement with a serial killer inside, my threat was the dressing room with poor self-image lurking.

In the course of those two days, I looked through scads and scads of dresses and tried on over 50 items. Oh yeah, 50. How many did I buy? A whopping four, and one of those was a clearance T-shirt bought on a whim.

Why was it so difficult? Because my body sucks!

No, no, that’s not the reason. Yet I had several moments when self-doubt crept up and settled in my bones. “I hate my stomach.” “I look pudgy in this.” “My butt is flat.” “Have I always had all this arm fat?”

After Day One of 32 items tried on and zero purchased, I returned home and fell into a funk. I’m not proud, but there may have even been thoughts of buying a tube of Pillsbury chocolate chip cooking dough, grabbing a large spoon, and drowning my discouragement in sugar and chocolate.

However, I did not succumb!

In fact, I’m a few days out from that whole experience, and I want to share what I learned:

1. I continue to struggle with feeling beautiful at times. I still have my moments of frustrations with my body, struggling with getting older, and not appreciating the masterpiece God made me to be. I’m not perfected on this point.

2. Those times are fewer and shorter-lived than before. Since actively trying to feel beautiful, I’ve done better. I recently listened to a sermon by James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel, and he noted we often think of changing as a steady decrease of our brokenness; however, the truth is we usually struggle with the same things as before, but as intentional Christians they become less frequent and shorter-lived. We recognize our moments of struggle more quickly and respond better with godly answers. I see that in my own life.

3. The scriptures I’ve memorized come to mind when I need them. When I slipped into my body-image blues, Psalm 139:14 came to mind: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And principles I’ve learned about God’s love, His provision, His care for me were all present in my heart, keeping me from staying too long in that bad place.

4. My husband helps me feel beautiful. Hubby was with me on Day One (that trooper!), and we made love that night. He doesn’t care that my tummy isn’t getting fitness awards or that my body isn’t as young as it once was. He simply sees the woman he loves, God bless that man.

5. Fashion designers don’t always “get” real women. Or maybe rarely get real women. We ladies commonly complain that we don’t know who they’re designing clothes for, because it isn’t for our bodies. So why did I expect it to be easy? That said, it is possible to find clothes that fit and flatter you.

6. Learn what looks good and stick with that. It took me many tries, but by the end of the weekend I had some things figured out. Certain styles would not look good on my body (as it is now) no matter what, and other styles held possibility. Let yourself experiment and figure out what works on the (beautiful) body you have. Then you can avoid grabbing something off the rack to try on that will not flatter and choose styles that likely will.

7. Keep up the positive self-talk. It really does matter what you say to yourself. After a while, you start believing it. At first, I didn’t do this well during my shopping trip and beat myself up for not looking goh-geous in everything I tried on. By Day Two, I had a different perspective and stayed far more positive. I was a beautiful woman, and my goal was simply to hunt down clothes that helped me show and feel that truth.

8. Rely on godly friends. Just a shout-out here to my friend “L” who stuck with me on the phone as I hunted down the right look. She even let me text her photos and ask for her thoughts. She helped with opinions, but also keeping my spirits up.* You might do better shopping with an encouraging friend, a family member, or your spouse. It certainly helped me.

Do I feel beautiful? Not all the time.

But it isn’t always about how I’m feeling. I know I’m beautiful, because I was crafted by an amazing Creator. I want to take care of the body He gave me, and that includes appreciating it, even when a shopping trip isn’t going my way.

I am still on the journey of feeling beautiful, but I’m getting better and better.

And since I’m sure some of you are wondering, here’s one of the outfits I came home with:

Julie in dress and boots

*Just a quick note that Spock (hubby) was with me on Day One. He really tried to encourage me, but he’s not a wordy guy and didn’t know what to say. His reassurance when we got home helped me more than we were out and about. And that’s okay. Your husband doesn’t have to be and do everything for you. I let Spock be who he is, and seek out friendships to support me as well.

Feel Beautiful: Dust Off Your Exercise Shoes!

I’ve been sitting here for the last ten minutes trying to decide what to write about feeling beautiful this year. While also debating with myself about getting on the elliptical machine today.

My inner conversation goes a bit like this:

You should exercise.
But I’m tired.
Which is why you should exercise.
But I don’t have time. I have so much to do today.
And you’ll have more energy for all those to-do’s if you exercise.
I hate exercising.
I know. Do it anyway. You hate having not exercised and dealing with the consequences.
But . . . but . . . but . . . 

Woman tying athletic shoes + blog post title

It’s time to practice what I preach and just get on the elliptical already — right after I move the clothes hanging off it. Because while I’d love to be one of those people who can’t wait to exercise, I am not. I love being active — playing games, going dancing, hiking to see some great views — but anything that smacks of “working out” just feels like “work” to me.

So if you’re in that space, I’m right there with you. We know we should be taking better care of our bodies, we understand that exercise will give us more energy and confidence, and we feel more beautiful when our bodies are stronger, shaplier, sexier. But finding time — or rather, making time — and committing to an exercise plan makes us cringe and crave another piece of chocolate.

This is a call to both me and you! Dust off your exercise shoes and commit to ten minutes a day. Just ten minutes! Start small, and we can build on that. What can you do in ten minutes?

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood.
  • Do several push-ups and sit-ups.
  • Get on an elliptical machine, treadmill, or exercise bike.
  • Turn up the music and dance around the house.
  • Grab an exercise band or light weights and do some strength training.
  • Chase your kids around the house or outside.
  • Ride bikes with the family.

Or simply Google “ten-minute exercise” and see all the suggestions that come up. (I found a lot!)

Why should you commit to exercising?

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

“As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed” (Proverbs 26:14).

“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong” (Proverbs 31:17).

So first off, God wants us to take care of the body He gave us. He knitted it together (Psalm 139:13), and we shouldn’t unravel His handiwork with careless neglect.

But we also receive benefits in our marriage. Exercise increases feelings of attractiveness and gives us added energy. It’s related to a better sex life, the marriage bed being a good place to use some of that extra energy. Plus, research has shown that exercising couples report higher frequency and enjoyment of sexual intimacy.

You look and feel better when you’re in shape.

I’m not advocating you beat yourself up for how you look and then schlep yourself to the gym every day to beat yourself up some more. No way! I want you to start feeling beautiful right now — knowing God made you beautiful inside and out (Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 31:10).

However, we can do more to take care of our bodies. The best way to do that is to start with understanding how valuable you are, believing your husband when he says you’re beautiful, trusting the body God gave you is enough for your marriage. When you believe deeply that you are worth it, you’re even more likely to commit to taking care of yourself.

And you can start with just ten minutes. Come, y’all, exercise with me!

I’d love to hear from you below if you’re committed to dusting off your exercise shoes and taking care of your body better. And if you’re already diligently exercising, please share with the rest of us what has worked for you and helped you stay motivated!