Fighting the Lie That Beauty Is All I've Got

Breathe Christian Writers Conference was founded in 2007. 

This morning, in light of something that happened yesterday, I am trying to rest in a promise I was taught in a workshop at Breathe Christian Writers Conference: I am God's beloved. I am the one Jesus loves, and He delights in me.

We need to speak those words out loud, author Suzanne Burden said during her workshop called "Writing the Hard Things to the Church and the World."

Burden said claiming those words is the Christian writer's first step toward being able to tell the truth in writing.

In that spirit, I'd like to share a true story from yesterday, Day 2 of the conference. (It is Storytelling Sunday, after all, folks!)

The liar returns

I strode confidently into my second-to-last workshop of the conference, "Glimpses of God: Reading and Writing Theological Memoir," led by Martie Bradley, one of the Breathe conference organizers.

As I walked by a table full of women, one of them broke free of her conversation and turned to me to say, "You are so gorgeous. I love your hair, you're so tall, you've got the whole look going, great posture, thin and everything. Do you model?"

My heart sank to the floor. The blood rushed to my face and neck, my eyes began to throb and palms began to sweat. I sat down and began unpacking my book bag, pulling out my note-taking materials with my eyes downcast.

"No," I said, eager to change the subject. "I don't."

"Why not?" they all chorused, expectantly.

A little voice in my head whispered, "You missed your calling."

I answered the voice with a silent scream torn from the lungs and vocal cords of my mind: "You're wrong! I know fiercely and truly that a life spent fixated on the beautification and presentation of my body would miss the mark. I would be ignoring my gift and passion to write!"

Aloud, I said with an apologetic grin, "I like to eat too much." The women smiled or chuckled and returned to their conversations. Thank you, Jesus, for ending this quickly.

But the voice inside my head kept talking: "You're only as good as your looks. You've always known that."

I've been fighting that voice my whole life. It's a liar. It's a liar whom I think all women believe, whether the version we accept is "You are good enough because of your beauty" or "You are not good enough because you are not beautiful enough."

Both lies take our focus off the truth: fulfillment and acceptance in Christ and knowledge of our identity as His beloved children.

As writers, it is simply not acceptable for us to believe and peddle lies. We are keepers of words. It is our responsibility to speak the truth with clarity and precision.

"Beauty is fleeting."

This is my challenge to you

Christian women, I challenge you today. Before you speak, consider whether what you will say is helpful for the spiritual, emotional and mental edification of your listener.

Consider these passages. I have been immersing myself in them this morning, soaking up the richness of the truth and beauty therein.

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12).

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. ... Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Peter 3:3-4).

"Listen, my child, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck" (Proverbs 1:8-9).

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