I was never very popular with boys in school. I had friends that were cheerleaders, and I had other great girlfriends, but I was never asked to the Homecoming dance or to prom. As a young teenage girl, it was crushing to think that I wasn’t thin enough or pretty enough to be asked to any of those big events.
Boys weren’t nice to me in school. They made fun of me and called me cruel names because I developed earlier than most. However, these wise words of my God-fearing grandmother have always stuck with me, “Beauty is more than skin-deep.”
Looking back at those years, though, I am grateful I wasn’t popular.
Why?Were you popular in high school? Sheila wasn't, and she's okay with that. Find out why in this post on Candidly Christian Click To Tweet
Because I understand the pressure so many of my friends were under to lose their virginity and give away such an important part of themselves. I heard their stories; saw their many tears, broken hearts and fears of pregnancy. I held my friends’ hands after their boyfriends broke up with them for some stupid reason, and I reminded them there were other fish in the sea even though I had never caught one.
After leaving high school I realized it wasn’t that boys didn’t like me, but that was how God protected me during those high school years. High school years were all about trying to find your place and being accepted into the “in” crowd but being part of that crowd made you compromise parts of yourself which left scars you would carry for the rest of your life.
I know how difficult life was when I was in high school forty years ago, and I truly believe it is even harder for teenagers today, to a great extent due to technology. I think it is great how we have empowered young women to love who they are, but there is only one way to truly understand who we really are and that is by understanding our identity in Christ.
Coming to Terms With True Beauty
It took me many years to come to terms with what true beauty was and what it wasn’t. The world was constantly telling me how I had to look, what I had to wear and how I should act in order to be accepted. I was constantly comparing myself to other young women, and all I could see was how I would never measure up.
We need to stop this madness and teach our girls what true beauty is in God’s eyes and help them to understand the identity they find in Christ is what makes them beautiful.
So, what is true beauty?
True beauty can’t be measured by your size, race or color, but by how big your heart is for God.
Beauty is often perceived by outside appearance only. That is a false reflection in a broken mirror. God tells us that He looks at the inward appearance of the heart. The Bible tells us that Satan himself was the most beautiful angel on the outside, but he deceived himself and his heart became dark and corrupt. A mirror can only show you what you look like on the outside. It can’t provide a reflection of your true beauty.
God Loves Us from the Inside Out
What a beautiful truth to know God loves us from the inside out. Proverbs 30 gives us a description of what a truly beautiful woman is and the character trait she possesses.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.Proverbs 30:31 (NLT)
Wow. True beauty is a woman who fears (honors) the Lord, and she will be greatly praised. I wish someone had explained this to me when I was a teenager. It would have saved me years of low self-esteem and heartache.
I thought I was missing out by not having a boyfriend, drinking, or having pre-marital sex, but the fact is the only thing I really missed out on was years of heartache that would have brought shame and guilt upon myself.
I’m not saying I was perfect or that I didn’t do some stupid things, but I’m thankful to God for protecting me during such a vulnerable time in my life. The teenage years are hard and can break us in many ways. I am grateful for the women who influenced my life during that time and tried to make my teenage years easier. My mom, aunts, and grandmother played a profound role in making me who I am today. Without their example and mentorship, my life would be vastly different. Every time I found myself wandering away, there was someone to guide me back to the truth of who God created me to be.
For every parent with a daughter, I’m praying for you because we live in a world that wants to take our daughters’ innocence away at a younger and younger age. As parents, we need to stand together and unite with one another to love, protect and teach our girls what it is to be a truly beautiful woman.
What Are Your Thoughts On True Beauty?
Have you ever struggled with your self-image? Do you have any tips to share or any experiences that stand out? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.Have you ever struggled with self-image? Sheila is sharing her story on #CandidlyChristian Click To Tweet
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