Over the years, a little file of school photos that I took from my student ID file my senior year, has moved from one USB stick to another, to my parent’s PC and eventually, the file has ended up on my portable hard drive. I haven’t opened my hard drive for quite a while, but just the other night I was sifting through it looking for something specific, and low and behold, there sits the file of old school photos. I opened the file and literally saw the photos of myself with new eyes. It hit me like a ton of bricks. There was this pretty young lady with long wavy brown hair and a pretty smile. She looked happy! Alive! Comfortable in her own skin. She was in shape, she was vibrant, she was fun. My mind immediately traveled back in time to how I thought of myself back then. I hated my teeth and thought I had a cheesy smile. I thought I was fat because I was one of the tallest girls in class and didn’t wear a size 0. I thought my hair was scraggly and plain. Yes, I definitely did a great job hiding my lack of self-worth at all times. As my friend Sarah describes it, “You gotta fake it till you make it!” And that’s just what I did. I faked it till I made it. Why could I not see my charisma and my beauty then? I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of regret that I had not realized those things. I regretted not realizing that I was beautiful.
Fast forward three nights and I am in the process of trying to find something to wear to my company Christmas party. Why didn’t I go shopping to find something festive to wear?! I scrounged and dug, I threw every dress and pair of dress pants out of my closet trying my hardest to find something nice enough for a semi-formal Christmas party. I didn’t think I wanted to wear a dress, but I thought I would try a few on just in case. This one was a little too tight, and so was the next one and the next one after that. What in the world?! I know it’s been a while, but two or three years ago these dresses fit like a glove! Then I try on a pair of dress pants….nope, those are a little too tight as well, and so is the next pair. Words cannot describe my disappointment in that moment. I literally could not believe my eyes. What happened? I have been trying so hard. I was on the precipice of giving up on the whole evening when I just decided to invite Jesus into the entire situation. I just started praying that I would not lose heart and that I would embrace who I am. Suddenly He spoke to me in a very quiet thought, “You’re beauty is now, Sierra. It’s not sometime in the future. It’s now.” I suddenly realized that I was doing just what I had done in high school- losing sight of my beauty in a way that I would only regret. Soon I found something pretty to wear, put on my makeup and curled my hair. And you know what? I looked beautiful. Thanks, Jesus.
We cannot love our neighbors as we love ourselves if we have no love for ourselves. God has made woman to bare His image in her tenderness, mercy and beauty. We cannot bare His image if we believe we have no beauty to offer. Embrace who you are right now, ladies. Your beauty is now.
What a beautiful story Sierra and just in case you still doubt it……YOU are a BEAUTIFUL young woman inside and out!