Naturally Beautiful and Radiant and Shameless
You are beautiful. Mmmhmm! Actually, you are NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL! Not only that, but you are NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL AND RADIANT! Those words are rarely placed together. I have never heard them from anyone (except my husband). Especially without makeup, eyelash extensions, or a tan. You are RADIANT. Which means, you are “vividly bright, shining, glowing, and marked by or expressive of love, confidence, or happiness" (Merriam - Webster Dictionary). Considering all of that, you are NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL AND RADIANT AND SHAMELESS. Now, I know no one calls me or you that, but God does. And I agree.
Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
As true as that statement is, I know that doesn’t suffice for most of us. Even though we read that verse, we unfortunately read about what we lack more often. We are heavily influenced by Satan’s lies and worldly definitions of beauty. We constantly see the perfect Instagram posts, women with perfect abs, and the 5 star meals. Yes, it can motivate us to be “better”, but when the results of our efforts don’t match our high expectations, we break down. Hard. Traumatically. We feel shameful. Here is the secret that Satan is trying to hide from you: You were never meant to have shame.
Genesis 2:25: “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
When God created us, he intended for us to be shame free. Sin free! There are so many times I wish I could be wild and free in the Garden of Eden, living the life I was made for without shame, particularly the shame of how I look. But of course with the fall of man, that is no longer the case. I felt shameful today because my tan on my face doesn’t match my shoulder. Or that I messed up while preparing my baklava dessert, because I used puff pastry instead of phyllo dough. Or when I went to the gym and did only 20 crunches instead of 25. Even though all those reasons may be sufficient evidence for me to title myself as “shameful” or “ugly”, neither of those words are God’s words. Now, I don’t want to accept Satan’s lie as truth, but when I tell myself I am not naturally, radiantly, beautiful, I live in acceptance of Satan’s lie and the shame that follows it.
I, like many women, have been told I wasn’t beautiful. If you’re one of those women too, I’m sorry for all the people who pointed out a trait in you that doesn’t exist. Maybe you’ve listened to the moms who said you should wear makeup, or the dads who keep saying you’re overweight, or your coworker that says you look sick or tired without mascara, or even the husbands or boyfriends that only say you’re pretty with a full face of makeup. No matter how much time you spend on makeup, hours in front of the mirror, or even how many compliments you receive, it is never enough. One person says a negative comment to you, maybe even completely innocently, but you come up with hundreds of reasons in your head affirming that what they said is true. No matter how many negative things people may say about you, nothing is more soul-tearing than the awful things you can say about yourself.
I fall. Girl, I fall hard. I grew up in a small southern town where there were no other Asians, and I was different. I didn’t have smooth, blonde hair or elaborate braids. There was even one point when I thought I looked more like a boy than a girl. There were also times when I felt that if I looked “pretty”, it would attract people to me, and they might see past my differences. But here is the catch 22, the more I tried to look “prettier”, the more insecure I felt about myself. My overactive brain continued to create questions like: “Do they like you for you? Or just because you’re pretty? This person looks like that and look at all the attention they are getting! You’re spending all your money on another eye shadow palette??” No matter how much I tried to correct my supposed “ugliness,” it pulled on a deeper issue in my heart.
Let’s Dive Past the Superficial and Look Deeper in Your Heart
What is the depth of our superficial desire? I know there are those saying, “I just want my nose smaller so I look better. That’s all.” Here’s the thing about being human, we are complex. You are complex. There is a reason why we cannot accept our radiant, natural beauty. One of the key reasons is based on approval. We crave approval from others because we believe it will satisfy our lack of approval from self. (We gonna go deep, so grab some shovels and swords aka your Bible).
What exactly does the word ‘approval’ mean? Merriam-Webster says approval is “a favorable opinion or acceptance as satisfactory.” The desire for approval from family, peers, and strangers is one of the driving factors in our attempts to be “physically beautiful.” Our desire for approval can often take the shape of a desire for sex, praise, or money. Some strive for approval to hide their insecurities or the inner demons troubling their heart. Others look for confirmation of their beauty by lustfully attracting men. Or they feed on the approval of their peers on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook gives approval with ‘likes’ and Instagram sends you ‘hearts’, but you need to find what is breaking your heart. Do you ever realize that when you spend hours getting ready and taking selfies that at the end of it, there is still the emptiness? Despite all the ways we look for approval and fail, we forget one truth: God approves us. He fills the emptiness within our hearts. He has a favorable opinion of us. We have been accepted as more than satisfactory. All parts of you. Not only your face, eyes, or hair, but also your sorrow, your regrets, the things that people seem put off by. Yes, sister, we need approval but from the right source. We need to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).”
Stay with me, friend, because this is something you need to hear. Instead of being overwhelmed and turning back to old habits, you need to fight, girl! Fight against the lies of Satan. And when you feel like you’ve made some progress, it doesn’t mean Satan is going to stop following you. Fight for your peace and joy with yourself. Fight against the discomfort that comes with believing new truths. Throw off the shackles of false beauty definitions and fickle opinions. Listen to the Almighty Creator that made your natural beauty. He has proved time and time again that he is the Truth and his opinion matters above all else. You are not alone in this battle, God is fighting with you! Fight this mindset that you are not beautiful. It is not true. And God made sure to include it in his word, because he knew that 2000 years later, you and I will be needing his truth.
Do not belittle yourself by believing that you are defined by how you look. You are more than your skin color, the opinions of others, and more than your own opinions. When you believe the lies of Satan, he is actively disabling you for spiritual battle. Satan is distracting you from your greatest adviser, God, and amplifying your own wrong opinions. The devil knows the power that is within you, and he will do anything he can so you don’t utilize it.
This is not an issue that will go away when you get older as some may believe. Nor is it something that ‘will take care of itself.’ Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” He will not stop reminding and rescuing you, because he has fearfully and wonderfully made you! Jesus Christ loves you, no matter what you believe about yourself.
The Words You Need to Hear Over and Over
You are GORGEOUS! You were made in the image of God, and he is GORGEOUS.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Psalm 50: 2 “From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth”
You are PRAISEWORTHY!
Psalm 30:31 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
You are an UNFADING BEAUTY and WORTHY!
1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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.”
You are RADIANT!
Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
You are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE!
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
You are superficially ALTOGETHER BEAUTIFUL!
Song of Songs 4:7 “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
You are PROVISIONED BY GOD!
Matthew 6:28-29 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these”
You are DESIRED!
Psalm 45:11 “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.”
GOD KNOWS YOUR HEART!
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
God has given you beauty. He gives you acceptance.
Full of Grace and Truth
As with all things, there is a balance. We can’t talk about how beautiful you are without pointing out truths about pride. Our beauty does not come from us, so no one should be boastful. No matter how much time or effort you spend on your appearance, it’s a blessing from God. After all, he did make us. Our God is gracious, no doubt about it. Just as equally, he is also truthful (John 1:14). He not only tells of our beauty, but he mostly focuses on the purity of our heart. Be cautious about how much importance you place on outward beauty. Our sovereign Lord stated in Ezekiel 28:17, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.”
God’s definition of your beauty is what is in your heart. Your character, ambitions, convictions, morals, goals, desires, prayers, beliefs, and attitudes all contribute to your inner being which ultimately makes up the true beauty in your heart. Most importantly, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us to be righteous and shameless.
Being a Christian woman is hard work. Overcoming our worldly mindset is difficult, especially if you’ve lived with that mindset from a very young age and carry that burden with you every day as you look in the mirror. But you are stronger than how you perceive yourself. More importantly, God is stronger than your opinions. The belief that you are not beautiful is a mindset, a perspective, and a lie from Satan. It’s not truth. The Bible is the truth. Nowhere does it say that how you look determines if God accepts you. Be on guard when you feel yourself slipping into the dangerous pit of self-doubt, my sister, because as hard as we try to better ourselves, Satan is working just as hard for us to fall into the pit with him. We still live in a sinful world and multiple arrows will be aimed at our insecurities. Your fight is not yet over. There will be (not maybe) evil comments and schemes against you, but persevere, sister. God has greatly equipped you with his word and Son, so take courage that we have the gracious and beautiful Jesus Christ on our side.
Fight for Your Beautiful Heart
1. If you are struggling with comparison, jealously, or low self-esteem, take a break or limit social media. We are prone to jealousy so “do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27). It’s easy to say, “Don’t compare yourself” but when you are constantly surrounded with Instagram perfect photos, you can become self-conscious and doubt the beauty God has created for you. Choose to surround yourself with encouraging friends who build you up rather than comparing yourself to others.
2. Trust the Creator and his ability to create. He created the stars, the mountains, and all creation. He has a special artistic vision. Especially when he created you. You are a masterpiece. Even though some things may not be to your liking, God is not finished yet. Wait eagerly and watch the master at work.
Romans 9:20-21 “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”
3. Dive deeper to understand what God has designed you for and the value we have through him. This is not a rare topic among women. Look for different insight and perspective rather than what you know. These books have been turned into my coloring pages with all my highlighting during hard times:
Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
Radiant by Priscilla Shirer
4. Surround yourself with encouraging sisters and encourage others! Look for wise, God fearing women to help you fight though this topic together, especially during lowly seasons. There is a power in numbers.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
5. Envelope yourself in Jesus Christ and his Word constantly. Constantly can sound like a daunting word, but time with Jesus Christ is refreshing. Yes, whenever you spend time with Jesus, it can bring up discouraging truths and convictions about yourself, but Jesus is good. He is our advocate. He gives us rest and peace when we are overwhelmed with worldly troubles. We are constantly bombarded with Satan’s schemes, so we must be constantly be enveloped with Jesus.
Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
You are beautiful, and you don’t have to worry about losing it. And when you forget. God will remind you. You are sacred. Because you are God’s best creation. Even with all the beautiful mountains and stars, God still prefers you.
By God’s design, you are naturally, radiantly beautiful before him. Believe it, because it is God’s written truth.