My daughter Ivy is a ballerina who dances at a fairly high level. She is currently teaching ballet and is honored to dance featured roles in many local productions. She has chosen not to pursue ballet professionally, but she is all too familiar with the pressure ballerinas face—including the pressure to have a certain body type. Ballet has brought Ivy great joy and many rich opportunities—but it can also be a cruel world.
For many years, Ivy endured the scourge of a poisoned body image. She was deeply scarred by various encounters regarding her appearance. Ivy responded to these criticisms by developing an unhealthy fixation with food. This brought more tears. Deep wounds.
Today, however, Ivy is healthy and still enjoys ballet. What happened? George happened. George is her boyfriend and also a dancer. He came along at the height of all of Ivy’s struggles and began telling her she was beautiful. You are beautiful. Stop worrying. You’re beautiful. I think you’re beautiful. You look perfect. You’re beautiful.
Ivy lost interest in what the ballet world thought of her. She shut out the hurtful words of others and listened to George—she was perfect just as she was. With this assurance from George, Ivy began to enjoy dressing up and taking care of herself again. Five years later, they are now engaged to be married. Ivy still bears scars and challenges from her past experiences, and it breaks my heart. But she healing.
Most of us have struggled with a negative self-image at some point in our lives, or maybe even a negative soul-image. While we may not all have a "George" in our lives, we all have Jesus.
Jesus calls us beautiful. He calls you beautiful. As we draw near to him in repentance and obedience, we enter a joyful union with him. This is what we were created for. This is what the depths of our hearts long for. Do you believe it?
How would our souls be healed if we basked in this truth day after day?
If day after day after day,
as we drew near to the Lover of our souls,
as we bared our hearts in confession and repentance,
as we knew His forgiveness and grace,
as we sought His direction and will,
and we saw in His eyes
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! — Song of Songs 4:1 (NIV)
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. — Song of Songs 4:7 (NIV)
“I believe with all my heart that vulnerability and authenticity are the only way to find wholeness in Jesus Christ. … I believe in the holistic, healing love and salvation in Jesus Christ, who walks with us in the valleys and brings beauty from ash heaps again and again and again. I am here to tell you that I have been on the mountaintops and in the valleys, and I have discovered that we need a reset in our souls. We need to share stories so that others will too. When we’re free to be real, that’s when the real joy comes.” Read more.