God's Word tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, that outward beauty is deceptive and fleeting while inward beauty is unfading and of great worth. It doesn't take long to look at today's media and see how the world is trying to convince us otherwise! Read uplifting and encouraging real life stories from Christian women about true beauty and health. Start seeing yourself as the women God created you to be!
At the end of my senior year of high school, almost everyone I knew was excited about heading off to college. A lot of my friends were staying in-state for school, but I had other plans. I was ready to get out of North Carolina and break free. Break free from friendships going downhill, people thinking I was only the quiet, shy girl, with low self-esteem and family drama. I had plans on going to school in Chicago. I got into my second choice school and I was pumped. The thing was, that extravagant art school in the Windy City cost way more than I thought. It cost so much more I couldn’t afford to go my first year.
At the time, not being able to attend school in Chicago my first year was one of the first things that ever “broke me.”
I had told so many people I was going to school in Chicago. I had told so many people how this school was so artsy and cool. I was so excited to get back to my city girl roots and shine in a new city.
After that, my thoughts consisted of, “So, what now?” and “What am I supposed to tell people when I am still here in September?”
I was really down for a couple of days and my mother could tell. She encouraged me to get back up and still attend school.
SEE ALSO: How to See God in Your Grief
For my first year of college, I ended up attending a local college in my city. I wasn’t expecting it, but I grew in so many ways. During that time, I got my first job. I didn’t have a car, so I got public transportation down to a tee. I made sure my grades stayed high. Most importantly, I grew closer to God, closer than I could ever imagine. I realized during my low point I had no other choice, but to cling to God, so I did.
Still, I couldn’t shake this feeling inside of me that I had to try harder to make it to Chicago. Who would have known that trying to make it to your dream school would not only be challenging, but pretty lonely as well. Through it all though, I knew God was on my side.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." -2 Corinthians 3:17
As I struggled to reach my dream, I realized something unexpected- not only was I growing closer to God, but I was gaining more confidence in myself. I was beginning to think more positively about who I was and I was beginning to see myself the way God saw me. As I was getting better acquainted with him on a personal level, his spirit started to surround me, and as his spirit was surrounding me, I became freer. I was beginning to be transformed into the Lord’s likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18) and that began to spark a change.
I wish I could tell you that from then on out, I saw myself as the most beautiful, amazing daughter of God ever, but I didn’t.
I knew the truth, but I still had my doubts, worries, and anxieties. Most of all, I compared myself to other people in the most unhealthy way.
If I noticed someone was a better writer than I was (in my eyes), I would often doubt my talent and my craft and wonder if writing was something I was supposed to be doing. If there was a guy I liked and he liked another girl, I would look at her and see what she had that I didn’t have. If there was a girl who was more outgoing and popular than I was, I wished I could be like her.
I thought I dealt with this low self-esteem, but I wasn’t totally set free from it, and I wasn’t seeking God’s truth about who he said I was.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14
Throughout the years, I have actively worked to stop comparing myself to other people. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve realized that when you are being transformed into God’s likeness, the keyword we have to remember is TRANSFORMED. When we are being transformed into someone so mighty, amazing, and all powerful, it’s going to take a while. That’s why we have to continue to commune more with God, so as we continue to be in him, he continues to free us to become more like him.
God made us the way we are for a reason. If we all were the same, God wouldn’t be the creative God that he is. We wouldn’t be able to be used for his glory in our own unique way. Whether you are a dancer, singer, painter, writer, African-American, tall, Latina, short, or a scientist, God knew what he was doing when he made you. He knew what your talents would be, he knew how tall you would be, he knew everything down to how many strands of hair on your head you would have. He created you for his glory, so why feel the need to want to be somebody else? You are God’s own masterpiece.
Through this journey, I have also learned about comparing myself in healthy ways to other people. If there was a friend who had an awesome relationship with God that I would one day hope to have, I would find out what that person does, see what fits me, and strive for that to be closer to God. If I had a friend who was striving for a healthier lifestyle working out and eating healthier, I would find out how that person works out and where he or she buys food at. Healthy comparison is all about wanting to better yourself, not change who God made you to be.
I’ll admit, I still have my quiet and shy moments. I am still sometimes the girl sitting quietly in the corner reading a book; but I now know that there is so much more to me than that. Back then, I didn’t. I have to have constant communion with God to remind myself of the truth, and realize when my thoughts are not thoughts from God. What I do know now is the truth. I am who God created me to be. I am Songine’ Alexis Clarke and I am one of God’s many masterpieces.
Songine’ Clarke is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelors of Art in Journalism. Songine’ is currently a volunteer with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and is the blogger of Fashion, Fros & Life. Things she loves: Jesus, writing, reading a really good book, fashion, hanging with friends, art, and on occasion, the outdoors. You can follow Songine’s blog Fashion, Fros & Life & on Twitter.