I read a Hallmark card the other day that said on the outside: “Ever wake up feeling fat and ugly?” On the inside: “What does it feel like?”
I wanted to buy it for a friend of mine. She was and is one of those “irregular” people in my life that turns everything I say backward or upside down. I know everybody has one or two friends like this who are disagreeable no matter what. They are the irritants in life that develop good character, if we respond in love. Of course, I didn’t send the card, but the very thought showed that I was fat and ugly inside.
Still I know what it is like to wake up one morning and feel fat and ugly physically. Every person on earth experiences that from time to time–even men. The problem comes when you begin to feel like that each and everyday. It is a downhill spiral.
Yesterday I was reading a blog that I enjoy daily. I don’t want to reference it here because the blogger was almost too honest about her insecurities. I really had compassion on her situation and mental state while I was reading about her inner struggles. She admitted that she did not enjoy life to the fullest because she was waiting for the day that she would not be fat and ugly.
Much of her struggle is common and derives from a deception prevalent in society==that happiness and success are linked to outward beauty, achievement, or wealth. The message is if you don’t have these things naturally then you can buy them–whatever the price–just find them to enter the mainstream of fulfillment. People feel fat and ugly when they miss the mark according to culture.
My daughter’s generation, unlike mine, has figured out that to be rich and famous and gorgeous one doesn’t necessarily have to work hard. You just have to get lucky–like winning the lottery or a car or a vacation… it can happen in an instance if you are in the right place at the right time. They prefer to gamble and hit the jackpot. My generation’s attitudes toward these things weren’t any better really. We thought success came from hard work, and it helped if you were beautiful too. All of those thoughts are erroneous.
But back to the honest blogger: Part of her pressure is personal and comes from down deep. I love the thesis of the classic animated film, “Beauty and the Beast.” The message is timeless and can be stated in four liberating words: “Beauty is found within.”
Here’s the problem… when I look within, I don’t always see loveliness. I see the need to even the score to life’s injustices, greed, hate, unkindness, the list goes on… For beauty to radiate, a change must come in the center of the soul. You can’t pull out all the evil, but you can flood it with overcoming light and goodness and compassion and all the eternal attributes of LOVE. You wash out the fat ugliness within by rivers of living water that truly cleanse and beautify.
There is no one-step remedy for people like me who wake up feeling fat and ugly–for one day for a life time–for people who find ugliness inside. Those attitudes die hard, but they do die. It is the most engaging battle we will ever fight, and it is won by a transformation that comes through the washing of truth over the spirit.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised ~ Proverbs 31:30.
Everything in life starts with fearing God in the sense that we are in awe of his love and goodness, the price he paid for our inner beauty, and his overwhelming ability to change us into his image. Fearing that he is just and has not given us what we deserve–we deserve death for the ugliness inside.
Inner and outer beauty live side by side with an attitude of proper fear of God. And what’s really amazing is that the feelings of living fat and ugly fades into love for God and compassion for others. Like God, we begin to see the beauty in others–even our enemies–even the lowliest and ugliest, who need us the most.