My name is Tara.
For as long as I can remember I have been fighting an inner battle over my self-image and the temptation to compare myself to others. I am naturally attentive to the beauty around me. I notice the qualities in others but until lately I struggled to recognize God’s amazing work in me. My talents and my appearance were just never good enough.
One morning as I was studying Scripture God began to change my heart through one verse in Proverbs 31.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
In that moment, through that one little verse, God opened my eyes to the obstacle I was facing. My desire was to “one-up” people, my goal was to be “better” than the rest. I was making choices based on selfish motives to advance my own image. My constant striving for attention had me racing down the wrong path away from Jesus to advance my own kingdom. I was basing my worth solely off of my own rendition of other’s gifts and other’s appearance – and I could not be satisfied no matter the outcome. My eyes were not fixed on Jesus. I was desperately looking for myself outside of my identity in Christ.
Striving to be like someone else is a pointless effort. I will never be anyone but me. Living a life of constant comparison will never meet my standards and it absolutely will not meet God’s standards for me. Neither I nor God will never be fully satisfied with my efforts to be like other girls.
I ended up sharing my struggle with a friend of mine who gave me a simple quote from Sir Edmund Hillary:
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
At that moment I knew my sinful nature would never be able to conquer itself. So I immersed myself in the truth of God’s word, how else could I possibly win the struggle but to submit to the Savior Himself? It’s a childlike heart we give to Jesus in the beginning, and no one can take us from Him. But He holds that childlike heart and loves it into the image of His Bride. I had to look at myself and see The Bride of Christ. I had to accept myself as His own and be completely unashamed of His story for me.
I immediately stopped listening to music with lyrics that would tempt me to think about myself or others contrary to the thoughts Jesus has about us. I chose to listen to music that encourages me in my true identity not only for myself but so I can speak it into the lives of those around me.
I also wrote uplifting Bible verses on my mirror in my lipstick because words are powerful when we believe them:
“Strength and dignity are her clothing…”
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made…”
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all!”
Every morning I see and hear what God has to say about me as His Bride. I let His words encourage me; His Word is all that matters.
I am the best “ME” I can possibly be in Jesus. YOU are the best “YOU” you (or anyone else) could EVER be in Jesus! God made us exactly how we are for His specific purpose. Even though we may not understand what that purpose is yet… He not only sees who we are but who He has called us to be as individuals and as the body of Christ. You don’t need to be more because Jesus already sees you as THE MOST! His completely pure, perfectly spotless, and undeniably blameless Bride. You are the MOST beautiful you when you give yourself completely to Him.
We cannot want what God has to offer without wanting Him first. I have set my eyes on my savior, Jesus. In HIM I stand tall and confident that He is indeed all I need.
May you know this freedom I have found. May you always see Jesus when you see me. And I pray you never forget that there is no giant, no mountain, no storm powerful enough to stand against the name of Jesus.