A few weeks ago, I went to the movies with some friends to see I Feel Pretty with the one and only Amy Schumer. There is almost NOTHING I love more than a good night out at the movies with your people. Cookie Dough Bites, a few laughs, and friends you love… I mean, what else do you need? The movie was hilarious (me and my friends probably laughed too loud, it’s fine), but the best part about it was it had an incredible message for women on what confidence should look like that all of us can hold on to today.
After hitting her head at SoulCycle, Amy Schumer’s character Renee wakes up completely transformed into the beautiful version of herself she always dreamed to become. There’s one catch – everyone else sees her exactly the same as she’s always looked. But she sees a completely different Renee in the mirror. Her newfound confidence leads to her getting a job she never considered dreaming for, an incredible boyfriend, and zero insecurities to stop her from taking hold of living her best life.
The empowering take away from the movie is that the amount of self-confidence, self-love, and capability we have to achieve our dreams is not contingent on how we look, it’s based on how we choose to see ourselves and who we choose to become.
But I know what you’re thinking.
“That’s great and sweet Ana. Bravo. Let’s just all wake up and love ourselves and forget about every insecurity we have. Do you even know what’s out there?
Have you seen the ENDLESS ads on beauty products that will finally give us flawless skin? Or the diet that will finally help us fit into our perfect jeans?
Do you realize that every corner I turn and every swipe on Instagram, there’s someone tinier or prettier or funnier or more flawless than I could ever possibly be?
Have you heard how the world tells us that all that matters is how we look?”
The thing is, I know. I know because I see it all, and I feel it. Trying to love ourselves in a world that tells us we’re not worth loving unless we look perfect feels impossible… but I’m here to tell you it is possible. And I have one truth I want you to hold on to today that I’m holding on to myself:
We are not defined by how we look. We are defined by how we embrace who we are becoming.
Thankfully, as followers of Jesus, we have a remedy for self-esteem that is easily accessible and much more painless than hitting your head at SoulCycle like Amy Schumer. Here are three truths I grasp daily to avoid the feelings of insecurity, not enoughness, and the comparison trap.
1. Culture is not the boss of you.
Culture and advertisements say a lot of things about how we should look. That is crystal clear.
And most of it is:
1. Impossible to achieve, leaving us feeling like we’ll never have enough (this is their job, they are trying to fill a hole in our hearts to sell us products we need).
2. Outside of what God tells us.
I’m not saying culture is bad – there are a ton of good things in culture and positive messages we can grasp for our lives. But I am saying we need to compare culture with God’s truth, and make sure that HIS viewpoint is the guiding light of our lives. Culture is not the boss of you. And I think if Jesus were with us today, He would tell you culture isn’t the boss of you, either. (Check out 1 John 2:15-17 for more on this.)
2. God cares about your heart.
Culture isn’t our boss, and the good news today is the Bible reminds us that God doesn’t care how we look; He deeply cares about our heart. Check out 1 Samuel 16:7 (MSG):
“But God told Samuel, ‘Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.’”
God made you perfectly in His image, so He doesn’t care about how you look, He cares about your heart. When you’re tempted to take a few extra minutes looking at the mirror or you feel insecure about how you look, instead take that time to look into your heart and hear God’s truth. It’ll bless you, and it will bless the people around you. The overflow of your heart will be how you love God and others, and it’s worth investing time into.
3. You are God’s masterpiece.
What is a hobby you love to do when you have nothing else to do? Maybe it’s spending the day on the porch painting, writing, or being with people you love. Now, think about a huge passion project you could do and give to someone else. Maybe write a book, draw a painting, etc. And imagine you give it away and they HATE it. It would break your heart, and I think we so often do that to God when we don’t think we’re “enough”.
Psalm 139: 13-14 (NLT) says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
Hear me, friend: God knew exactly what He was doing when He made you. He has never made a mistake, and I don’t think He is starting with you. So embrace who He made you to be, and know that His purpose for your life can only be fulfilled by you, not someone else. Rest in the fact that you look perfect. Let that truth seep into your heart and be a foundation for confidence in who you are.
God is not upset with you and doesn’t want you to have shame when you worry about how you look or you make culture the boss of you, but remember that He sees you differently. He sees you as perfect. As His beautiful daughter made perfectly in His image.
So to whoever is reading this… I hope you wake up tomorrow and the next day and the day after that reminded that you are beautiful. Declare God’s truth about how beautiful you are until you believe it, and pray you see yourself as perfectly as God sees you. Then inspire others to do the same. I think if we all choose to do that, we can change the game on what culture says and who we choose to become.