The past two weeks have been bad weeks. I was in the hospital for a good portion of the past ten days or so. I was admitted for fevers and crazy bad joint pain, as well as blurry vision and headaches. It was pretty bad.
While I was in the hospital, I had an allergic reaction to a medicine they gave me, which caused my face to swell up to the point where I could barely open my eyes. And then I was dehydrated and had to be pumped with 4 liters of IV fluids; making me gain like ten pounds in water weight. Oh, I also had a butterfly rash on my face, and bloodshot eyes.
Basically, I looked horrible.
I was sleep deprived and in pain and my stomach was bloated beyond belief and I felt like total crap. And I knew I looked it too. I remember getting up to go to the bathroom and seeing myself in the mirror and thinking about how disgusting I looked.
And that was when I realized how wrong my thinking was. Heck, I realized how wrong society was too. Because here I was, in the hospital for goodness sake, my body was doing all it could to help me get better and I was worried about how gross I was.
But I realized something else too.
Beauty has to be so much more than skin deep. I know that's said a lot but last week it finally hit me what that actually meant. The beauty standards change all the time, and we as people change all the time. Things happen to us that are outside our control to change how we look; we get sick, we get scarred, we develop skin conditions, we grow old. So if we base our self worth off of something that changes, what will happen? We will destroy ourselves trying to hold together something that cannot be held. We hold ourselves to theses impossible standards all the time, when beauty is so much more than what we look like.
I hated how I looked in the hospital, but I had to learn to accept myself unconditionally. No matter how much weight I gained by laying around all day, no matter what the allergies did to my face, and no matter if I thought I looked like a potato in a hospital gown or not. I am not defined by my physical appearance. Neither are you.
Beauty is so fleeting. It fades and changes and dies. Clothes go out of style and trends pass. These things cannot hold our value. Your value is found in Christ and His love for you.
When I finally understood this, I was able to accept myself. I had to learn to be content with how I looked because it was out of my control. So I just faked my confidence until I believed it. I told myself I was beautiful and that this too shall pass. I reminded myself of what God says of me.
I'm not sure how to fit this in, but I did stumble upon one more epiphany. During the time I was still all swollen and stuff, I wondered what other people would think if they saw how I looked there. Would they still love me when I was sick or ugly or old? And I think the most beautiful thing I can think of is that the answer would be yes. My mom still loved me when I was in the ER, and my friends still supported me, and God still loved me without limits. And someday someone is going to marry me and he's going to love me when I'm healthy and when I'm not. Because my value isn't in what I look like. It's in who I am.
The same is true for you.
You are such a lovely human and you are so loved by God. It's nothing you do. Love is not something you earn. It's something that's given. And no matter what you look like, you are deserving of that love. There will always be things about yourself that you hate, but hating your body will never get you as far as loving it will. So I want to challenge you all to love yourself unconditionally. It is possible to love your flaws; it's freaking hard. But it's possible. Each time negative thoughts creep in, I challenge you to push them aside and replace them with truth. Memorize bible verses, repeat daily affirmations, find positive quotes; but don't believe the lies you tell yourself.
You are so beautiful. Some day I want you to believe it.