What You Need To Hear When You Don’t Feel Pretty

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All day long she couldn’t stop saying it. “Pretty!” The pink sweater had a little tulle skirt. Cutest sweater ever. And she felt pretty in it. So she exclaimed it all day long. She is only 2. And, in her innocent heart, unmarred and secure, she accepted her beauty. Celebrated it even.

A little, unbroken heart can amaze you.

I think one of my earliest memories is of feeling unbeautiful. I remember my cousin pointing out my freckles. I was really little. And, yet, somehow my heart had learned to feel small and plain. They never washed off and I never stopped feeling it. I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. I wasn’t enough.

There are voices that need to be silenced.

This dialogue we have with ourselves about not being enough needs to be annulled. If we can divorce ourselves from this feeling of “not enough”, we might be able to hear the chorus of love spoken over us by our Creator, whose image we actually reflect.

Yesterday I burned the popcorn and hid in my room at supper time because I hit a wall. My body ached and my heart lamented: “You’re not a good mother today”. 

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I listened to my heart for a moment. But, I’ve been at this for too long to be fooled. Burned popcorn and aching hips don’t make a bad mother anymore than a well executed recipe and being in the kitchen make a good mother. 

“This is the best popcorn ever!” my 10 year old exclaimed. “What’s in it?”

I smiled. “It’s burned. I burned it.”

“Really? I don’t see the burned. It tastes good to me!”

Sometimes we need to look past what we see as failure so we can taste the goodness of this crazy, hard, amazing life. 

If you went to your closet and tried on a cute sweater, or dress, would you say it (even if it was quietly to yourself)? Would you say “pretty!”?

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The thing is you are beautiful even without the cute sweater or dress. But, in a sense, the pink sweater with the tulle skirt that made my little girl exclaim over and over “Pretty! Essie pretty!” was the thing that helped her see what was already there.

And our words? They can be the thing that helps us see the beauty that already exists. No need to try to wash off freckles or hide your body. No need to whisper to yourself that you’re a bad mother or a failure.

Burned popcorn happens. It will happen again. But, your words, they don’t have to be the dialogue that makes you feel like you’re not enough.

You are enough. Enough for God to love you. Enough for a saviour to give his life so you would know what it’s like to feel loved, accepted by your Creator. Just as you are. 

There are things we can improve. And, there probably always will be. That’s not what this is about. I’ve learned that I constantly trip over my weaknesses when I can’t see how wonderfully God made me. My dance through this life is so much more in step and in tune when I hear his chorus of love over me.

A few days ago, a friend gave me a booklet of verses and quotes on a keychain. They spoke to me profoundly, helping me change the harmful dialogue that shouts its way into my heart. And that’s what we need. We need others who love us and know us to join the conversation and help us drown out the negative talk. We need each other. We need a new verse, a new word to change the tune of our hearts and tune us into God’s heart. 

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So the next time that old voice comes creeping in, or shouts at you in a vulnerable moment – when you’re holding a bowl of burned popcorn maybe – listen for the other voice speaking love over you. Really listen because it might sound faint at first. But I promise it’s there; God speaking love, acceptance, beauty to you.

Because the thing is, He will always exclaim “Pretty!” at the sight of you. And it’s really true. Whether you burned the popcorn or not.

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Can you relate? What words do you say about yourself. How can you tune into God’s words about you? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Photo credits:
Tutus: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/imagemd/12013464313/”>ImageMD</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
Woman’s face: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/aztlek/8142121222/”>Aztlek</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

  • http://www.jamesprescott.co.uk/ James Prescott

    Another great post Julie-Anne, good work!

    • http://www.julieannemauno.com Julie-Anne Mauno

      Thanks James! Blessed by your support!