As man who has grown up very much exposed to popular culture and modern day media, I have seen a precedent among aspiring young women to try and maximise their physical attributes in order to achieve fame and acceptance. I’ve had female friends who believe that they aren’t good looking enough because of what people tell them, which has lead them to experience low self-esteem, amongst other things. I just want to say this isn’t true! Women (and men) are inherently beautiful, no matter what someone tries to say about them!
Last weekend, I went on my churches weekend away. It was a great weekend, sharing valuable time with over 200 people who I feel privileged to say are my brothers and sisters in Christ. As part of our weekend, we had Tre and Tori Sheppard come and speak to us about a range of different topics, ranging from heartfelt testimonies about what they’d seen God do in their lives, to analogies involving all of us getting up and beating up the gate to the centre!
On the Saturday afternoon, Tori led a session called “Who Do You Think You Are?”, which was all about our identity and self awareness. Towards the end of the session, Tori showed a video by the personal care brand Dove, which basically showed women turning up to work and having a choice: to walk through a door with the sign “Average” or “Beautiful”. As the ladies walked towards the doors, a lot of women initially chose “Average”.
It broke my heart seeing it, and a tear came to my eye.
Not for the first time in my life, I became very aware of what popular culture tries to tells us, that we must look a certain way or have certain ‘assets’ to be classed as beautiful. It’s become so much a part of our daily lives and routine, that it fuels a beauty product industry worth £17 billion in the UK alone! People spend crazy amounts of money to correct what they believe are their flaws, they spend hours preparing themselves so they think they look at least presentable. Many women fall pray to a juggernaut that says ‘unless you look like this, you are not beautiful’.
But that just isn’t true! Woman are beautiful inside and out, not matter what they look like.
It’s something I’ve believed for many years but not done much about. This is mostly because in my younger years people called me ‘gay’ or ‘f*****’ for having such views, which as you can imagine didn’t encourage me!! But I feel it’s about time I take a stand, as a man, against the standards the world imposes on woman, and in turn encourage people to look at what God says about us.
Woman Are Certainly Beautiful!
Right at the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1:27, it is declared “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”. If we are the physical embodiment of an all powerful, perfect God, how can we not be classed as beautiful?! Knowing we are created by God in His image shows that we, and so obviously women, are beautiful. Let me explain.
First, if we look at the google definition of beauty, it says beauty is “a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.”. From this, we understand that the quality of beauty is mental response to a physical thing essentially. This can be anything from the way we look, to the way we act, to the way we think. We can think someone is beautiful, both on the inside and the outside.
Now, if we look at Matthew 3:17, God says about Jesus “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased ”. In this passage, God is looking at Jesus being baptised and he is pleased by the sight. Put this in the context of the definition of beauty we just looked at and it’s easy to deduce that God sees Jesus as being beautiful.
If we then acknowledge the fact that we look like Jesus, bearing in mind Jesus is also the human image of God, we can also know that when God looks at us He also sees beauty! And if this is what the creator of all creation says, then it surely must be a quality that is constant in our being and so is wholly true about us. We are beautiful, women are beautiful!
One of my all time favourite sayings is “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I’ve wrestled with it in my personal relationship with women, it explains so much about I will see beauty in certain women when others don’t. But if we take myself out of the equation and replace me with God, then it’s easy to see again why we are beautiful: because He created us and loves us, so therefore He beholds us in His eye!
Believing You’re Beautiful Is A Life Changing Choice
So, if we now know that women (and men) are fundamentally beautiful by their very nature, then why do so many women not believe this about themselves? I want to say it is because there is a choice of whether or not to accept to believe that we are in fact beautiful.
In having free will, we have the freedom to choose our own actions and think our own thoughts, this includes the choice of whether we choose to acknowledge the fact that we our beautiful.
In support of beauty, we have the truth that is spoken over us by God, that we are beautiful, no matter what we look like individually because we are made in his image. He looks at us and says categorically that we are beautiful and loved!
However, on the other hand we are bombarded with adverts that say we need their products to achieve beauty, we have magazines critiquing every aspect of women’s appearance, and we have mindless misogyny that says women aren’t any good if they don’t look good. Combine all these things together, as well as many other earthly opinions of beauty, and it starts to become a heavy argument that can cause women to question their beauty.
And so we are posed with a choice: do women believe that they are beautiful because God says they are, or do they not believe they are beautiful because of what the world says about them?
With all my heart and soul I want to urge you ladies, believe that you are beautiful in every single way! Not because I say so, or your boyfriend tells you, or your friends say so, or you parents say so, but because God says so! He loves you more than you could every imagine, and believes you are inherently and constantly beautiful! And really believing that will change your life for the better.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s really hard to do. It took me years to begin to love a body that was overweight and wrecked by poor eating habits. But I know that it is possible to choose to believe you are beautiful and loved, because I have to make that decision every day, every time I get up and look in the mirror. It can take a lot of time, a lot of support from loved ones, maybe even some therapy, but it is possible to make a positive change. We are the products of our environments, but I believe God has power over it all, and so can change things for the better.
And men, stand up for the woman in your life! Don’t let anything or anyone tell you they are not beautiful because it simply isn’t true. You have a duty to help cultivate a world that glorifies each others qualities, and this includes encouraging the mentality that woman are beautiful, inside and out!
I hope and pray this becomes something you know and believe about yourselves, because you have the choice to believe you are beautiful and no one else has the right to make that choice for you, not after what God says so amazingly about each and everyone of us.