Beauty in Perspective

There used to be a time when I was struggling with an issue that God would often speak through a friend, a song, or a book. I remember years ago when God was telling me that His grace was sufficient, and I was arguing because what I was going through was different to what Paul had experienced (as if what I was experiencing was worse than being imprisoned, shipwrecked, or bitten by vipers - what was I thinking?) and therefore that verse didn't apply to me, God kept giving me that verse through books, songs, and even a friend. Until I relented and realised that His grace was indeed sufficient.

Nowadays I often find that He speaks through blogs and articles I read online. Today with tears streaming down my cheeks from an article I'd read online, I clicked to my reading list and came upon this post from one of my favourite marriage bloggers. This in turn led me to another post where the writer had taken up Sheila's challenge to name five things about our bodies that we like.

Like me this blogger struggled to do it.

Perhaps twenty years ago I could have done it. Maybe even ten. Before a fall left me with misshapen ankles; before my hair started turning grey; when I'd manage to lose all that baby weight (and the 'baby' was close to his teens by that time); before my hair fell out by handfuls; when my muscles were toned - or semi-toned at least - rather than all ... well, you don't want to know; before my chin started resembling my maternal grandmother's and I still had cheekbones to be proud of; before I saw the movie "Ever After" and was for ever traumatised because I look like my father therefore I must be masculine looking; before age set in; and before my sons started marrying gorgeous girls (how dare they!) and I realised that I'm no longer young and beautiful.

But the challenge just wasn't for the young and the beautiful. So five things. FIVE. THINGS. THAT. I. LIKE. ABOUT. MY. BODY.

(Imagine I'm saying the following five points with a question in my voice because I'm not even sure I like them or if they're worth liking but I'm giving this a go. Because ... well because it might help me when it comes to believing my husband who says I'm beautiful and to ignore all the other voices out there - media, society, and sadly, even some well-meaning friends who imply I need a makeover - that make me feel inferior and worthless.)

1. My wrists. I have wrists on the small side. Strange because I have large hands for a woman but I have smallish wrists. (And I didn't even realise it until DH bought me a gold bangle for a gift one year - funny how we are so quick to see a perceived flaw but not to see the good.)

2. Actually my forearms aren't that bad either. I don't know if that's something to get excited about but hey, I'm grasping at straws here.

3. My legs. But only from the knee down. And not including the ankle of course. I think they are what you would call 'shapely calves.'

4. My waist. Six weeks ago you couldn't even tell I had one but with regular walking and work outs (thanks to Leslie Sansone) I can see it again. And it's good. Not great. Not fantastic. But I'm pleased to know it's there once more.

5. My skin. Yeah, it's showing signs of forty-seven years of wear and tear, but I've always had fairly good skin. It doesn't burn, only recently has let me down by becoming dry in winter, and I haven't used foundation since my first experiments with makeup as a thirteen-year-old (that doesn't mean I couldn't do with some - just that I seem to think - or have deceived myself into thinking - that I can get away without it).

Well, that's five. And now that I've started, I could probably add an extra one or two or even three (now that I've started). I could also easily match every one of the five with five things I don't like, but that's not the point of the exercise. And you know what, having done the exercise, I'm actually feeling a little better about myself after all.

Why don't you join me? Either post your answer in the comment box, or link up to your blog?


Sharlene said…
This is a good idea. It is so easy to let faults, or what we call faults, overwhelm us. Here are my 5.
1. My blue eyes. They are a very dark blue.
2. My right profile.
3. My fingernails I don't do anything to them other than keep them trim. They just look nice.
4. My hair A friend said that she was jealous of my hair colour because the grey blended in with the blond. Blond! I haven't been blond since I was maybe 10! Somehow the grey is making my hair a nice colour. I also like my current perm
5. I like my ankles. Forget the rest of the leg; there is no shapeliness there. The ankles are trim.

Isn't it funny what we like about ourselves? I also like my mouth - it curves up which a book from my childhood said was a sign that I was a princess. A nice thought. :)
Amy Black said…
1. My hair- I know loads of people wish they had curly hair and I have it and appreciate it. Also it has changed a lot over the years.

2. My ears- don't know why... I just always liked them!

3. My skin- have never needed make-up to hide spots or blemishes as it is just naturally clear. I also appreciate my olive complexion.

4. My feet- I remember a cousin telling me once what nice feminine feet I have and I've liked them ever since!

5. My breasts- Maybe too much information, but I just think it's amazing that God created women with breasts and they have served me well with feeding my two boys while they were infants!
Jules said…
Sharlene and Amy, awesome answers.

Sharlene I'm envious of all your answers! I once had nice nails - the French polish look naturally - but alas no more. Still, I guess they're not too bad. And I'm trying to accept the colour my hair is becoming with its addition of silver.

Amy, not too much information. Some of us aren't so proud of them after a few times feeding - but as you say, it is incredible the way God has created us and I was always thankful to be able to nourish my own children. BTW, I've seen you in person and I know how gorgeous you are. I suspect it runs in the family!

I've been thinking of going back and changing one on my list. I was working out the other day and I thought, "Nah. Forearms not so hot." Not from that angle anyway!

I've been told so many times that I have a beautiful smile yet I don't readily see it. Perhaps because when I see myself I immediately see everything that I think is a flaw. So perhaps I should replace forearms with smile?
Amy Black said…
I think you have a nice smile!
Amy Black said…
I've been thinking further about this post of yours.... As you will know I was brought up by a mother who had little focus on outward beauty and make-up was never worn at all... for a growing female it was a wonderful way to grow up! As a result outer beauty (or shall I say "false" outer beauty ie. make-up and hair dye etc.) has no 'power' over me I guess. Occasionally I will wear make-up, but I don't feel as though I have to be 'made-up' all the time to feel better about myself. While you may struggle with deep feelings of insecurity (which I believe we all do in different areas of our lives) I admire women (like you and my mother) who stand against the crowd and do things differently.
You are a naturally attractive woman (and I'm NOT just saying that as a "make you feel better" comment!!!) AND I've seen you in real life!
For myself, the beauty of having been brought up in a home where outward beauty was never highlighted of paramount importance it has allowed me to be have a greater focus in growing in the area of inner beauty (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Jules said…
Amy, I'm really appreciating your thoughts and comments on this post. You and your mother and sister all have that inner beauty that 1 Peter 3:3-4 refers to. I cannot tell you the number of people who, having met my DIL for the FIRST time, have said, "She's so lovely." And she is - inside and out. You have that too - as does your mother - and it's a beauty that goes beyond dye and makeup and even clothes. It's the kind of beauty I long to have.

I wonder how things would have been different for me had I never seen my mother applying hair dye or makeup. Not that I'm judging her but it does send a very strong message. I've often thought that had I had daughters I might have been more up with the play when it came to hair and makeup and all things feminine, but now after reading your thoughts, I'm thinking that maybe it's just as well that I didn't.

Again, thank you for your comments. You're really giving me something to think about.
Amy Black said…
I probably rocked the boat a bit more for my mother in the area of outer beauty coz I desperately wanted to shave my legs to fit in, as well as other things, which she gave in to after two years of my pleading! Had I been brought up in a home where outer beauty was important I probably would have been quite different.

I think I can understand where you come from as far as having sons are concerned (I may be wrong).... Since becoming a mother of sons I have a desire to be more feminine (ie. wear dresses or just dress in a way that is more feminine) also I do wear make-up occasionally which I previously didn't do. I even went to a make-up consultant to just get a few tips on how to "do" make-up. I think make-up can be nice if it is used sparingly and enhances natural features and beauty.

Interesting topic. It's a shame we can't talk in person about it!
Amy Black said…
Oh and my sister is beautiful! Mum and Dad were going to call her Beth, but she came home as Grace and I'm sure there is no one more suited to their name because grace and gracious are the two words that would best describe her! In everything she does it is laced with graciousness. I remember even when she played sports... she never stood out as a flashy player (which are the ones that tend to be more noticed for their playing) yet she was an EXCEPTIONAL player that graciously moved around the court. I am very different from Grace, she is so much like Mum I think. I'm the more emotional and outgoing one in the family. It's quite interesting that our parents are both the shy and quiet ones in their families (ALL their siblings are outgoing and bubbly) and then they had 3 quiet introverted children and then there is ME! Hahaha. I feel so blessed to be brought up the way I was, I think they all keep me grounded... I'd probably get carried away with my emotions otherwise.

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