The Need to Be Perfect
When everyone began to get into dating relationships, I convinced myself that I didn’t deserve love because I was too “fat.” As a result, I craved the attention of boys and eventually found myself dating a guy, not because I loved him, but because I loved the attention I got from him. As you can probably imagine, that relationship became hugely toxic. Looking back on it now, I realize how many mistakes I could have avoided, had I recognized my worth.
My whole life in high school began to revolve around how people saw me. I had to look perfect. No! I had to BE perfect. Anything lesser was undeserving of love. Or so I thought.
When my looks didn’t match up with the girls from the magazine, and I was on day three of not eating anything, I tried to overcompensate and gain attention by being funny. I made jokes that were inappropriate because I had observed that they made others laugh. If that didn’t work, I made fun of other people. If none of those worked, I found myself in chat rooms with strangers on the internet, allowing myself to become exposed to things that God never created me to be vulnerable to. It didn’t matter how miserable I felt, as long as I was getting the attention I wanted.
I became so focused on getting rid of the person I knew God was calling me to be; someone who was gentle, kind and gracious–someone who stood up for others and who radiated his love, because I was convinced that this kind of person did not exist, or could not exist if she wanted to find a place in the world.
Seeing Past the Stretch-marks
You see, that pattern of behavior never actually got me the attention I craved. I would always go back to my room in the evening, upset and sad and I felt like I was carrying a weight around with me everywhere I went.
But that brokenness that I was feeling also led me to believe that God could never want me back. Even though I was surrounded by people, I became lonely. Besides, if no human could love someone as ugly as me, why would God want to be bothered?
But the beautiful thing about the gospel is this, that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The Bible doesn’t say that God’s grace is offered to me when I’ve cleaned up my act or when I finally look a certain way. But instead, God’s love and grace are offered to me in my weakest and darkest moments. That means that Jesus saw my suffering and he saw my anguish and he didn’t turn away, but instead took himself to the cross and died a painfully excruciating death, all so he could establish a relationship with me, where he calls me his BELOVED.
In my darkest moments, when I felt the most unworthy–when I probably was the most unworthy of love, Jesus still extended himself to me, inviting me into an intimate space with him. Because he LOVES me! He does the same for you!
“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
Let that sink in–the creator of the entire universe took the time to make you and me, specially and uniquely. He loves EVERY detail about us! I’ve always loved the part that says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” but as I began to read more into that verse, I began to recognize the profound value there is to the second part– “Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well”–When we know that God’s work is good, that includes US! We praise him for how He made us too! He isn’t bothered by how many stretch marks I have on my body—in fact, He already knows exactly how many I have, and He STILL sent Jesus to die on the cross!
Jesus Is More Than Enough.
On our own, we are not worthy…not even close to perfect, but that’s the beauty of the cross—because of Jesus, God now looks at us, and sees His children!
1 John 4:4 says, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” That means that you no longer have to live up to the standards that the world has placed on you. You no longer have to look like that model on a magazine, because regardless of your looks or status, God still wants to welcome you into his kingdom with open arms! You are free—free to be loved fully!
Isaiah 61:3 says that God can exchange our brokenness for beauty–through Jesus, we are enough. This is something that I took a long time to believe–the fact that God could use a seemingly nobody like me, and I didn’t have to shed a pound!
Our identity is not in what we look like, but in who God created us to be. There are still days that I feel insecure and become uncomfortable in my own skin, but I’m gently reminded that even though beauty is subjective here on earth, God doesn’t look at my outward appearance. Instead, He looks at my heart. And right now, that’s really what I want to work on.
If you’re at a place where you’re doubting God’s love for you and you’re feeling unworthy, my prayer for you is that you recognize how immense the love of the Father is, and how freely He is willing to give you His grace. You just have to ask for it!
Kim Kim Andrews is an international author, lover of all things fun, daughter of the king, sarcasm expert, and adventure enthusiast. To read more about body image and God’s redeeming love check out her book But What about Love or read her other guest blog: How Perfectionism Drove Me To Pornography.