One, splendid morning, my team and I were all sitting together outside of our guesthouse having “team time”, a time in which we sit down together and point out one another’s strengths and shortcomings with the intention of helping one another grow into the young women God has created us to be. During this particular meeting, my leader, Sierra, decided it was the perfect time and place to tell me how beautiful I was; that I needed to start embracing this natural and raw beauty God has granted me, and start walking with confidence. I know, not your standard feedback.
However, the moment Sierra began this flattering series of compliments, I felt myself shutdown. My cheeks were burning with heat, and I was silently resenting God for putting me in this situation, because I was convinced that my entire team was observing me and thinking, “Hmm, I just simply cannot see what Sierra is talking about.” After she was done, I politely thanked her with a smile, but immediately started creating a mental list of reasons as to why she was wrong and why I am far from beautiful. Then, suddenly, my teammate, Alex, jumped into this mortifying conversation, and told me that she agrees with Sierra, but that instead of hearing these compliments and moving on, I needed to believe these messages, and for once, truly see myself as beautiful.
Alex was right, and I spent the next few days consciously choosing to see myself through God’s loving eyes. It felt unfamiliar; to look at myself and not pick out every imperfection. It was uncomfortable; to confront the way I had chosen to perceive myself since I was fourteen years old: through eyes of criticism and hate. But, what came from it was joy I’ve never experienced before. As I let my perception of myself be transformed, I experienced a new closeness with God. Along with showing me how uniquely beautiful He created me, He showed me the beauty all around me in my everyday life: the people I encountered, Chiang Mai’s underrated sunsets, the Thai culture.
I understand that when someone tells me that I have a beautiful spirit, I can confidently say that they are complimenting God, the one who created me. I’m not beautiful because I grace the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine, or because of the number on a scale. I am beautiful because the Holy Spirit lives within me.
I challenge you to look in a mirror and tell yourself “You’re Beautiful.” Of course, you’re sitting there thinking, “Sarah has absolutely lost her mind in Thailand.” But really though, try it, do you believe you’re beautiful? Most likely, you have your own list of “improvements”. If only you were more tan, or had less freckles, or finally lost that last 10 pounds, then you’d be beautiful, or at least semi-attractive. Think of the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen. What if I told you that the same God who created that scene created you? The same God who created the striking colors of the sunsets of The Florida Keys created the colors of your eyes. The same God who created every grain of sand on the beaches of Phuket, Thailand created every hair on your head. The same God who created the depths of the Pacific Ocean and the uniqueness of every single jaw dropping mountain landscape of Colorado created the depths of your heart and the uniqueness of your mind.
You’re beautiful. Because you are wonderfully and fearlessly created by God.