On Striving and Lies

What if you have a genuine and captivating beauty that is marred only by your striving?

— Stasi Eldredge (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul)

A long time ago, a lie began to creep up in my heart. It was deposited there by a woman who meant very well, but whose words cut deeply. As a child, my grandmother adored me, but her love was a tough love that cut to the quick. Because of the things she'd endured in the past, she found the best form of love was to be blunt. For years she commented on my beauty. Too fat, too thin, why are you wearing that color! I like you must better with your hair down!

The comments fell hard on an eight year olds heart, and rushing in came the lie that I had no beauty. I spent years on crash diets and binges, in bondage to food and trying desperately to show the world I was beautiful.

But God. I love that phrase. But God spoke to me. It took years of Him speaking to me before I started to let His voice speak to the lies I'd believed.

Beyond make up, coiffures, and manicures....beyond primping, brushing, and powder dusting is the eternal truth that each of us holds a beauty that is all our own. The enemy would love to convince each woman that she is less than beautiful. That she must strive more, try harder, be better.

But God says just the opposite. What if our beauty could be found in resting in God? What if we laid down the trying and striving, and simply rested? I think that the renaissance painters were onto something when they consistently painted women at rest. A woman at peace with who God says she is, is a beautiful woman indeed. Striving to be something we're not only marrs that beauty.

I still catch myself striving every once in awhile. But in those moments, God is patient with me. The crash diets and binges get fewer and farther between, and my weight slowly but surely is dipping back towards healthy. Slowly, I'm becoming the person God made me to be because I know He thinks I'm beautiful.

The truth that God has been whispering to me daily is simply this: We are most beautiful when we are the most ourselves. Beautiful indeed.


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