It all started with a simple quest for hair and makeup tutorials. My intentions were good. I was pretty much in a hair down, golden eyeshadow, and clear gloss rut and felt like changing up my beauty routine a bit. I thought I would quickly find a few new hair ideas, grab a recommendation for a good mascara, and then be on my merry way. Unfortunately, within just a few minutes I found myself in a far less than merry mood.
I, like thousands of other people in the internet, came down with Pinterest Plague. You see, every photo I saw featured gorgeous girls with smooth, glowing skin, sleek hair, and chiseled contours. Their clothes were flawlessly fitting. Their teeth sparkled so bright that I'm pretty sure the models on dentist billboards were jealous. Their muscles were perfectly toned. Their locks were expertly highlighted.
You get the idea.
I possess none of these traits. My skin is anything but smooth and glowing (hi there, teenage acne). My frizzy hair is far from sleek. My rounded cheeks don't come anywhere close to being chiseled. My muscles could use some work. My pores are very much in existence. And the list could continue for ages.
As I compared myself to the models I saw on Pinterest, I started to feel like a failure. In the coming weeks, I found myself nourishing these crazy notions that success, happiness, and joy only come to people who look a certain way. Desperate to meet that outward criterial, I was soon drowning in a sea of YouTube videos and beauty blogs, hunting for the perfect remedy for the body of which I was so ashamed.
What I failed to recognize is that the happiness and beauty I was seeking does not come from a contour palette or new lip gloss. It's not found in a makeover or a tanning salon. It's found in the gospel. In truth, the only way we can discover our true beauty is if we stop looking in the mirror and start looking heavenward.
I once heard it explained that God is a perfect being who does not make mistakes. Thus, I --chubby cheeks, visible pores, acne, and all-- do not need to be altered by outward cosmetics to have worth and value.
I love this quote (and the entire Ensign article, here) by Elder Lynn G. Robbins:
Now, I'm not saying that makeup is sinful or bad. It is fun to play with and can really enhance out natural features. My point is, I think it is very important for us to recognize that our worth does not change based on our mascara or lack thereof. Our value is not depleted when we wash off our foundation. We are still the same people with and without the cosmetics and the glamour; the same people who are loved, valued, and cherished by the most powerful and all knowing being in the universe-- our Father in Heaven.
I don't want to spend so much time caught up in the skin deep hoopla that I miss chances to develop real, lasting beauty. I don't want to be so worried about how I look that I'm too afraid to reach out and serve a neighbor. I don't want to spend so much time fretting about what the world thinks that I forget to remember the infinite love Heavenly Father has for me. In short, I want to spend less time looking in my mirror and more time looking in God's.
I love this video clip from Carmen Rasmusen Herbert at Time Out for Girls. In it, she points out that while makeup helps her feel pretty, it does not add or detract from her innate worth and beauty. It is a must see for all ladies. (Like seriously, I have a habit of skipping videos in posts sometimes. If you are a skipper like me, you don't want to miss out on this one. Grab your earbuds and watch it now. It is a total game changer.)
As Carmen so eloquently states, the way we look does not define us. Our value is not dictated by the models on Pinterest or the magazines at the grocery store. It is not determined by what the critics and the haters (including our own, often harsh, selves) say. What truly matters is what God thinks of us.
Want to know how He feels?
As He says in Doctrine and Covenants, 18:10, "the worth of souls (even those with crooked noses and frizzy hair) is great in the sight of God" (italicized commentary obviously added :P).
Notice He said great. Not just good or mediocre. Great. I think that is very significant. During the creation, we read in Genesis that after forming the stunning landscapes, animals, plants, and oceans, God "saw that it was good". I'm sure we can all recognize the majesty of the earth's beauty. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam (name that song!), it's hard to deny that our planet is absolutely stunning. Yet, the Lord says it is good and describes us as great. Wowzers.
This principle is put into further light from an economic standpoint. (Get ready for some math, people.)
The earth has an area of 196.9 million square miles. There are 640 acres in a square mile. Multiplying those together gets us 126 billion, 16 million acres. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average price per acre of land in the US is $2,950. Multiplying that by the 126 billion, 16 million acres of earth's total area, we get an estimated value of 371 trillion, 747 billion, 200 million dollars.
And that nearly incomprehensible number, is what God calls good. To him, we are great. What does that say about our infinite worth and potential?
Now we can quote scriptures and ramble off math facts all the live long day, but none of that will matter unless we know or the greatness of our individual worth for ourselves. What has made the biggest difference for me in my search for real beauty is praying to know how God feels about me.
If you haven't already done so, I challenge you to do the same. Ask Heavenly Father to help you see through His mirror. Pray for the ability to see yourself as He sees you and to know of His matchless love for you.
Truly, this love transcends any fashion emergency, bad hair day, or breakout.
P.S. Since music tends to speak louder than writing, here are a two of my favorite songs about real beauty. xoxo