Tag Archives: beauty

finding #peace with my hair: transformational thoughts based on God’s truth

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” Psalm 139.14

Psalm 139 is by far one of my most favorite Psalms and one of the most convicting.

You see, growing up, I hated my hair (among other things, but let’s start there). It was the bane of my existence.

Red.

Auburn.

It was wild and there were many days I feared it would never be tamed.

Blessed with natural volume, wave and curl…

Cursed with frizz, no thanks to humid Minnesota summers. I didn’t like summer either, but that’s beside the point.

My hair set me apart. It made me different.

And because I was different, I didn’t fit in.

I hated it and cursed it, every day.

Learning to genuinely like yourself is possible. Learning to have peace with yourself is possible.

In fact, the best foundation for changing something you don’t like about your body is accomplished when you learn to like yourself first. I’m not talking about just loving yourself. I’m talking about liking yourself.

Most of us get it backwards. We think, “If I can only change this one thing about my body/personality/looks/etc., then I will finally feel good about myself.” The problem with that is, even after you’ve lost the weight, get the nose job, get breast implants or liposuction, etc… the body hate does not go away. You move from that focal point to another and obsess over something else.

But how do we journey from body-hate to body-acceptance?

You first need to recognize the destructive power disliking your bodies has on your life.

Ask yourself questions like: “Do I avoid certain activities I am ashamed of my body/my hair/my face/etc.?” Think about what you spend on cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, personal trainers, diet plans, exercise equipment, etc. Are you afraid to go out in public without makeup? How many diets have you been on in the last year?

The solution isn’t found in fixing your body. It is found in fixing your mind.

“Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12.2a

Hollywood and the fashion industry spin lies about what we should look like, how we should dress, act, etc., but they’re wrong.

That redheaded, freckle-covered girl from childhood was surrounded by lies and her mind was filled with thoughts like:

American Girl didn’t have a redheaded doll so that must mean that I’m not normal.

No one in my class has curly, red hair. I’m a freak.

My teacher doesn’t know what to do with my differences. Why?

And those lies eventually wormed their way into my heart to the point that I believed them. I couldn’t wait until I was a teenager and could make decisions on my own about maybe dying my hair a different color or maybe even straighten it.

But, in the fall of 1996, God used an illness and the events that followed to change the way I saw myself.

but come the fall of 1996, God used an illness and the events that followed to change the way I saw my hair.

Prior to Halloween, the last of which I would be allowed to go trick-or-treating, I became ill with flu-like symptoms. Those symptoms lasted the better part of 14 days. The doctors couldn’t diagnose what was wrong. Dehydration set in and I understood the meaning of real thirst for the first time. At one point, I couldn’t muster up the strength to move from the recliner I’d been “chained” to during that time and I really thought I wouldn’t live to see the next day.  

Miraculously, I woke up one Saturday feeling better and very hungry. I ravaged an entire bag of Nacho Cheesier Doritos and felt no shame. I was twelve.

But it was the events that followed that illness (which they’ve now copped up to salmonella poisoning) that God used to give my adolescent self a huge wake-up call.

I had lost over 40 lbs. during my bout with that illness, leaving me incredibly weak, and since my body had been fighting that illness, my immune system didn’t know what to do with itself once I got better and, in turn, attacked my hair…much like chemo does to a cancer patient. I lost all of it.

Gone

As an adolescent walking around with a shaved head and wearing baseball caps because my parents couldn’t afford a nice wig, I was angry with God; I cried out him: Why?!

With the passing months, my hair slowly grew back – a shade darker and a lot more curlier.

Hello afro!

And I hated it even more than I did prior to my illness.

I was met with silence during many of my why-moments, but there was one particular Saturday afternoon that I remember his still voice entering the quiet corners of my heart:

I gave you your hair, didn’t I?

Yes…

Doesn’t it keep you warm during the long winter months in Minnesota?

Yes, but…

Every good and perfect gift comes from me, Anita…remember that. I blessed you with this hair, the color and the curl…all of it, because I love you. So much. I have set you apart for myself. Before I formed you in the womb, before you were even born, I set you apart. You were never meant to look like anyone else. That was never my intention. You have been called by grace for so much more…

He gently nudged my heart with the truth and began to transform the way I saw myself.

No matter what the kids whispered at school…

No matter what the models on TV proclaimed…

I chose to not let those words bring me down. I knew what God thought of me. That was all that mattered.

God says that you can have peace in your soul no matter what your body, or your hair, looks like.

We need to choose to let his truth sink in and confront the lies that bombard us every day and once your mind is focused on his truth, your feelings about your body, your hair, your face, will change.

The day God shined his light on the lies I had believed, I slowly began to find and embrace my beautiful in when it came to my hair. It’s what I like and love most about the physical attributes I was given today.

And when it comes to the things I struggle with about myself now, I trust that God, in his goodness and in his timing, I will come to a place where I will find peace just as I did with my hair. I’ll find my beautiful and I will embrace it in such a way that it will ultimately give him glory.

© Anita J. Brands. 2014. Website: https://authentictruthseeker.wordpress.com/

15. true beauty

Beauty

Google the word and you get tons of images of models. Some dressed to the nines on the red carpet. Others showcasing the latest make-up trends (personal favorite of mine since I like to “dress-up” my eyes). A few are flaunting gorgeous hair.

After it’s all said and done and the airbrush and photo software is closed down for the day, you’re left with a perfectly normal person…who hasn’t had her body altered or “puffed up” in effort to make her more beautiful.

She is beautiful.

Just. As. She. Is.

A few weeks ago, this video made the news: a time-lapsed transformation of one model. That video has been all the rage and rightly so: It isn’t real. Make-up does the same thing (minus the photo-shop).

That is not the beauty I’m thankful for.

Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.
Psalm 45.11

I’m talking about the beauty of creation, the beauty that illuminates a person from the inside out, the greatest masterpiece he’s ever creation (you and me) and the beauty that can stem from the ashes of a lost life…the only beauty God supplies.

ColoradoHave you ever watched the sun set or rise, stood at the base of mountain or walked through a state park during the peak colors of autumn? I have and am still left in awe and wonder at the memory (or even the site since the latter is still fresh in my mind…just look to the right).

All of those things are reminders that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19.1). God is a great artist; there is no question about it.

But God’s greatest masterpiece isn’t some of the sunsets you may have had the privilege of seeing orFall Beauty the Rockies (as spectacular as they are), or the islands of Hawaii and Tahiti (as gorgeous and beautiful as they can be).

God’s greatest masterpiece of all creation is you. It’s me. Humanity is God’s greatest masterpiece.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2.10

The word “handiwork” could be translated “we are His work of art.” We are his poem; God’s masterpiece.

Man is God’s greatest creation. Man is his crowning masterpiece.

Psalm 139 declares this:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (vs. 13.14)

And God has a plan for his beautiful creation:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1.5

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 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 Peter3.3-4

That’s what God wants to do for you.

That’s what God wants to do for me.

If he were to reveal exactly how much he loves you and me today, we would be overwhelmed. It would be devastating to think of the love He has for us in light of the way we behave sometimes.

And that’s where His Spirit comes in. As overwhelming as that can be some days, His Spirit is our glimpse into the future glory we will one day share with Jesus. It’s kind of like a down payment.

I’ve always been a fan of nature and can easily see the beauty in others, but when it comes to me, not so much. I am my own worst critic and when I’m not feeling particularly beautiful, my opinion of myself can sometimes get downright ugly.

When I look at my life, I don’t necessarily see rhythm, order, or beauty. I see chaos, flaws, and a lack of perfection. I see things that need to change; parts of myself that I hate.

Enter in the comparison battle most of us face:

Why can’t my legs look like hers?

I wish my eyes were bluer.

I wish I could get my hair to curl that way.

Can I even attain a somewhat agile athletic body like the girl on the treadmill next to mine? Maybe, if I work a little harder.

It can also swing the other way, to talents and giftings rather than the physical:

I wish my prayer life were more like Jane’s.

I wish I played like him.

I wish my voice could do that.

I should volunteer more. Jenny’s life seems so much fuller with the things that she does.

Why can’t I lead like John does?

Not to mention the fact that I used to seek out words of affirmation in those areas.

I have been learning that I don’t need those opinions or statements to get out of bed in the morning. God’s opinion is the only one that matters and as long as I see myself through his eyes and lean into his opinion of me, my self-depreciation doesn’t stand a chance. I still have my off days, but I’ve been learning to humbly love myself even more and that’s all due to God’s Spirit dwelling within me.

He says, “You are my work of art. You are my masterpiece.”

He’s looking at me and he alone sees what I will become. And boy, has he been changing, shaping and challenging me to grow from the inside out. He’s making all things new and has been in that line of work since the dawn of creation.

In the last two years, I’ve dropped a chunk of weight and have kept it off. My energy levels are that of a person in her late 20s, and on some days, I feel younger. My feet don’t ache at the end of a long day (perks of not working in retail or the food industry). I’m a size smaller than I was when I graduated high school. I’m happy with my curves and overall, I love my body for what it can do. It is God’s magnificent creation and He gave it to me. I simply have to be a good steward of it and take care of by being active and nourishing it with healthy food. And I love my hair, bad hair days and all. They’ve actually become quite the amusement factor during my morning routine and I’ve learned to enjoy find a little humor in the situation. God loves humor too, you know.

I’m learning to love and adore the woman I am becoming. I pray for a gentle and quiet spirit and the heart of a Proverbs 31 woman.

As I like to put it, I’m a W.I.P. (a “Work in Progress”). We all bear that sign and it’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take all of your life here on Earth and will not be completed until Jesus either calls you home or returns to take you there.

Once you get there, you’ll see the whole picture. All of this will make sense. You can even look back over your life to where you started and where you are now and situations that didn’t make sense at the time make sense now.

So that’s why God brought me through that season…I get it now!

This is one truth I’ve been learning to embrace – to see myself the way my Father sees me:

I

Am

Beautiful

I am His

So are you.

beauty