I struggle a lot with feeling ugly.
Every day I am surrounded by posters and advertisements that remind me that my skin is broken out, or my thighs are too big, etc. These posters convince me that perfection is the norm and cause me to constantly compare myself to others to see how I measure up.
I struggle a lot with caring about my appearance.
I know that my focus is supposed to be on Christ. I know my body is merely temporal, imperfect, daily dying. I know that God is supposed to be my refuge, rest, and strength.
But it is easy to be distracted by how I look.
For several years, I’ve been convinced that my acne is all people notice about me. Sometimes, when I talked, I caught people looking at a spot on my face that I knew wasn’t my eyes or my mouth. Other times (including just a few days ago), for a whole week I will be given tips and hints about how to get rid of my acne (in just 10 days!) by neighbors, acquaintances, and random strangers.
Times like these really discourage me. These reminders that I am not beautiful, that I am not attractive, that my acne distracts from who I really am crush me. People noticing and pointing out my acne convince me that my face is all I will ever be – convince me even that I am not useful in drawing attention to Christ because people will only see my blemishes.
I’ve heard all the messages about “looking to your inner beauty” and “appreciating who you are,” but they don’t help.
Inside, I’m not beautiful either. My soul is blemished too. Both my inside and my outside seem unworthy of Christ’s or any other’s attention.
All I can see is my ugliness. All I can see is my need for my Savior.
This past week, completely discouraged by the constant attention my acne received, I went to my room and cried out to God. I told Him how I was tired of caring. I told Him I was tired of being ugly. I told Him that I felt all people saw when they looked at me was acne. And I waited.
I have given you an unblemished soul.
He turned my heart to gratitude. I thanked Him that He does not see acne when He looks at me, that He does not see the much deeper, uglier blemishes of sin that often hurt and people notice. Because of Him, I have a snowy fresh soul because He was willing to forgive me and bear the consequences of my sin.
He died to give my soul a clean complexion!
When my heart wanted to dwell on the temporal, Jesus turned my eyes to the eternal realities that will never change – His love, His sacrifice, and the assurance He gives me of salvation.
For the first time in my life, I was grateful for my acne.
When I wouldn’t run to God as my rest and refuge because I knew it was right, my worries about acne and my appearance drove me to His presence for comfort.
And at His feet, I found comfort. Comfort, not that I was “truly beautiful within,” or that I somehow met up with worldly standards, but the assurance that Jesus Christ holds and loves my soul, and that He died to clear it of its imperfections.
Jesus Christ lives in and through me today, and He wants to use me to minister to the people around me. He loves me, guides me, and walks with me through all my troubles. He promises me a future and a hope, not just here on earth but especially in heaven. And He wants to have this relationship with the people that I meet every day.
When my focus is on people seeing Christ, not on seeing me, I forget my self consciousness, and I am given opportunities to share the gospel.
People will begin to ask, “Why are you so confident?”
What will I answer?
“Because I am on this program that will get my face clear in UNDER 10 DAYS!”
“Because my inner beauty shines through and that’s enough for me,”
“Because Jesus Christ is my anchor and my support, and He has saved me from all of my sin. My confidence and my hope is in Him alone.”
Only one of those answers will take others’ focus off of me and onto Christ, to whom belongs ALL the glory and ALL the honor, and ALL the praise.
So the next time you find yourself looking in the mirror with tears in your eyes, leave it, go someplace you will be alone, and pour out your heart to God. He sees the true feelings of your heart, so don’t feel like you can’t share them with Him.
Trust Him to be your comfort and your sweet support. Trust Him to walk with you through every trial – even this one. Praise the God who cares for the little things. Little things like me. Little things like you.
Believe it or not, your acne, and how you respond, could open the door for you to introduce someone to our glorious Lord and Savior!
“How beautiful are the arms that have embraced Christ, the hands which have touched Christ, the eyes which have gazed upon Christ, the lips which have spoken with Christ, the feet which have followed Christ. How beautiful are the hands which have worked the works of Christ, the feet which treading in His footsteps have gone about doing good, the lips that have spread abroad His name, the lives which have been counted loss for Him.” – Christina Rossetti.
“If any soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.” – C.H. Spurgeon
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Sadly, I have the opposite problem. Sometimes I feel TOO confident in my appearance, and don’t rely on God enough.
I don’t have any experience with that, but my best advice is to pray, even if it’s just a short appeal up to God. Turning our eyes up to Him can both humble and inspire us. We have worth, but not in ourselves and not in our bodies or appearance that will not last eternally
I liked what you said, “When I wouldn’t run to God as my rest and refuge because I knew it was
right, my worries about acne and my appearance drove me to His presence
for comfort.” Often troubles are blessings in disguise because they draw us closer to God! Great article, Millie.
I love this!I struggled with this for a long time, and this is very similar to my story!
Hey there, Millie! I just wanna say thank you for writing this truthful article. By sharing what you have learned through your struggles, you can help others who struggle with the exact same feelings. I love the Spurgeon quote at the end, too. God bless!
Girl I’m in the same boat. My gma and about everyone talks about my face when really I just try to forget about it. And I can forget about it fine my self but then every 5 minutes someone makes a statement about it and it just makes you feel bad. Anyways thanks for writing this article Millie!
icky! that would drive me nuts! I would crawl into a hole and never come back out if people talked about my face to my face. Praying for you!
I’m sorry about that Laini – one of my grandmothers is the same way. But always know that they are trying to be helpful. Whether Christian or not, we can share Christ and be a testimony to Him when we find our confidence in Him in the face of all of this – your grandmother and the others around you will be able to observe that. Here’s another good verse – “They looked to Him and were radiant” Psalm 34:5 People will be able to see God’s light and love shine through you as you lean on Him. I will pray for you in your walk with Him on the path He’s set you on.
Thanks. I guess i exaggerated slightly but whenever my face flares up someone notices. But my face isn’t who I am ( well sorta it is but yanno)
Amen! Thanks for reminding us of these important truths Millie! I will definitely be sharing this article.
awesome article! and very applicable. I have struggled/still struggle with this. I love the truths you shared!!
You are truly beautiful inside and out!!! I am a 48 yr old mother who started reading these posts when my son was a teenager. Although, he is now an adult and has drifted away from God, I have continued to be blessed with the thoughts, as well as writings here. I raised my son to love God and to have Faith in our Heavenly Father so I pray constantly for God to send someone into my son’s life to help guide him back onto the right path. I know that God will do so, in His own timing! Thank you for blessing me by the sharing of your story. I know without a doubt that you are VERY loved by your family and friends, also that they are SO proud of you! Please continue to seek the One that matters the most, He will always love and protect you!!! Just a bit of reassurance to remind you to keep your chin up – I had bouts of awful acne when I was around your age. Once I became an adult, it all cleared up and only on rare times do I have a slight breaking out, which always goes away soon afterwards.
Thank you very much! Your words are extremely encouraging. May God lead your son back in the right direction too!! I know God will answer your faithful prayers.
Just thinking of you today and hoping that you’ve had a very blessed week. Most of all, I pray that you’ve been able to feel how “adored” you are by our Lord Jesus! Thank you for your kind words about my son, I know that God has a plan and that I just need to be patient… I do have to admit that patience is my absolute worse quality, lol….
Thank you so much Angela, that is so sweet of you! His mercies are new every morning, and even in the hardest times we see His blessings!
I’m so sorry about your son, I know in part how hard that can be. I’ll be praying for you both!
Thank you Madison… your prayers are very much appreciated!
I am too!
This is really encouraging! Thank you! I struggle with this all the time. What a great reminder that our identity and purpose is outside of our limited, human viewpoint. It’s good that we have a solid foundation to lean on instead of blowing back and forth in the winds of people telling us what they think about us, whether good or bad.
That is so awesome and so true! Thank you for posting this! You are beautiful!
This is so encouraging!! I struggle with self confidence all the time, and I know how hard it can be. This is a great reminder that the Lord gives peace and comfort. Honestly, I haven’t been as close to Him as I know I could be, because I’ve been more focused on what others think of me, instead of what He does. Thank you so much for this story!
I struggle with this sooooooooo much every single day. This article was very encouraging. I always feel that my acne or weight is all people see about me. This article was a great reminder of the TRUTH.
Thank you all! Kate and EmilyD: I am thankful that God’s words of encouragement to me could encourage you as well. I pray you both will be able to focus on Him and His calling for you, not your outside. But I know it is hard! Don’t get discouraged on the especially hard days. He is our strength. Lean into Him more than ever.
I wasted much of my life worrying about what others (and I) thought about me…my weight, personality, acne, whatever. I didn’t listen to my mom and her constant “you’re beautiful, or this will pass, or …enter whatever lovely thing mothers say.”–I was SELF absorbed. I was so worried about what others thought that I couldn’t focus on anyone else. Now that I’m a mom and have the slack tummy to prove it (LE SIGH), I am the happiest I’ve ever been with my body. I could. care. less. It’s been liberating and also saddening, because I feel like I missed out on opportunities to help others. Culture doesn’t dictate worth–Christ does. We are ALL made in his image. Let us rest in that, and gain many years back what we might lose in self-loathing. God bless, and thanks for your blog.
Many are like you all girls have felt that way at some time or another. But it is a lie! Jesus loves you BILLIONS of times more than anyone could ever love you!!! he is your rock and your fortress! You are a Child of God (1John 1:12), a friend of Jesus Christ(John 15:15), You have to know your identity in him and he will sustain you. Don’t be afraid to stand out! Jesus does not call you ugly he calls you beautiful. he loves you with a mighty passion and he never will love you or forsake you. His spirit is in you and he has paid for every one of your sins on the cross(1 John 2:2). And when you sin you have an advocate with the father and his son Jesus Christ (1John 2:1). He sees you as a beautiful pure child of God and when you sin he does not look at that he looks through the eyes that shed blood on the cross to cleanse you white snow. Look to serve others and your eyes will be off yourself.
Hope this helps any Girl who does not see herself in a good light! It helped me when i felt that way!
i totally understand
I’m autistic and I suffer with depression and anxiety. And when a good portion of the world thinks your existence is a burden, that doesn’t exactly give me good self-esteem, nor does it make me feel beautiful. But I like to believe that God created me to be autistic. I’m trying to work towards better self-esteem and self-confidence, but without crossing over into arrogance.