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The way you look

How do you deal with insecurities about the way you look? I always feel no matter how thin I get that if I were a little thinner I would be more loveable and I always feel like I am not pretty enough. Can you give some Scriptures about dealing with this?

Robin's Response

Satan has long attacked women in the arena of beauty, tempting us to use our beauty as a gauge of whether we are desirable and/or lovable. I explain in Secure in Heart how as a young girl, I competed in baton twirling and dance events, which kept my body in shape. However, once I stopped, I gained weight to the point where my dad even made very hurtful comments regarding my body. It created in me a deep insecurity over how others view me. To compensate for my pain, I would over-perform and seek perfection in every way.

It wasn’t until many years later that I realized the unhealthy view I had of my body and appearance. At the very root of my body image insecurities was a false belief that beauty equals love and acceptance (primarily from my father).

Our culture certainly doesn’t help us in our pursuit! We’re constantly told that we need to be a certain weight, shape, size, etc to be accepted. The lie is reinforced and plastered all over magazine covers, televisions and movie screens. It also subtly comes up in relationships. It’s easy to think that men will only have an interest in someone who is "attractive."

When we listen to Satan’s whispers — You’re not pretty enough. He won’t like you unless you lose weight. Why can’t you look like her? Nobody will love you if you don’t dress provocatively. You aren’t sexy enough! —  the truth of how God views us begins to quickly fade.

Ultimately, our true hope, confidence and joy come from having a relationship with Jesus. Even he, as Isaiah says, "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:2-3).

Jesus can definitely relate to the temptations you’re experiencing. And even though he literally had no physical beauty or majestic appearance that attracted others to him, God chose him to be the Savior of the world! Jesus' attractiveness came from his spirit. It was his purity of life that drew others to him. And it’s this kind of beauty that we’re promised in an ever-increasing measure as we follow him. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

Like me, you might need to look back to when your feelings of insecurity began and see if there is anything important there to address. See if you can figure out how you came to believe that being pretty or thin makes you happy. I’ve found that it’s difficult to change my thoughts without digging deeper to understand why I bought into a lie in the first place.

We are bombarded by these lies each day, so for many of us, we also have to daily (or even hourly) renounce false and damaging thoughts and choose to believe what God tells us is true. Sometimes it takes writing Scriptures on note cards and placing them on your mirror, in your car, wherever they would be helpful to remind you of how God sees you.

He sees me as a beautiful jewel in his crown (Zechariah 9:16).
I am the apple of HIS eye (Psalm 17:8).
You might even write your own name into certain Scriptures that encourage and uplift you.

Ultimately, what I keep going back to is that my creation was special and personal to God. I am treasured. I am valued. God uniquely created me for his glory and praise. Psalm 139:13-16 says, "For you created me in my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body."

It also helps me to remember that as women, our beauty goes all the way back to the creation account, where God made (or fashioned) woman out of the side of Adam (Genesis 2:22). In the Hebrew, the word translated "made" in the NIV means literally to build a temple, or create a masterpiece of art. As women, we each have a beauty that comes from our depth of emotionality, from our unique vulnerabilities, and from our physical makeup. Each of us is literally God's masterpiece.

Not terribly long ago, I was in a woman's locker room where a bunch of women were running around completely naked. (I am modest by nature, so I was just a little surprised at first.) However, allowing myself to take a glance around, it struck me that although every woman's body was completely different, every woman there was beautiful. Every woman had soft beautiful curves that a baby could snuggle into (although they were arranged quite differently). Every woman was strikingly feminine in her own unique way.

Remember, that in this area, like every other arena of security of heart, we need to fight for our security. This means refusing to let Satan shame our "ordinariness," and instead embracing the breathtaking vulnerability God has given each one of us as women.

Note: If your desire to be thin translates into an eating disorder (bulimia/anorexia), it's time to seek professional help. Eating disorders are physically and psychologically damaging and require more in-depth treatment and counsel.


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