Beautiful in God’s Eyes Day 3: Too Great Expectations
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV)
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14, ESV)
We’ve talked a lot about the standards that the world has set for us, but it’s not just society’s standards that we are up against. We are battling our own unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We’ve created our own ideals based on our views of beauty, and when we don’t meet them, we are disappointed. We think that if we “just lose 10 pounds” or “just get rid of the acne,” then we’ll be entirely content with our appearance. Our expectations for ourselves are unattainable. The truth is that unless you love and accept yourself the way you are, you will never be satisfied.
Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s cliché, but it’s true, and now more than ever our world is overrun with comparison. At any given moment we can be exposed to someone who has something that we don’t have. A friend’s post on Instagram can remind you that you won’t look like they do in a bathing suit this summer. An ad for the clothing company you like features a thin, fresh-faced woman with the blue eyes you always wished you had. The girl you passed on the street had clear, flawless skin, and it reminded you of the acne on your cheeks. Instead of admiring the person, we immediately compare ourselves to them. We notice the things they have that make them beautiful, according to our standards, and are ashamed that we don’t meet those ideals.
While these standards can be and most likely are formed by society, we take them to extremes. These high expectations can lead to anxiety, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, depression, and more. We set ourselves up for failure by setting unattainable standards, and when we fall short, it confirms our view of ourselves. This is the sad reality we face. The pressure of a “perfect” appearance is far too great of a burden to bear.
How do we change this flawed mindset? Change your expectations. For too long we’ve all tried to chase an ideal that isn’t applicable to everyone. We can’t all weigh the same, look the same, or wear the same clothes. Whether you’re a size 2 or 22, you are beautiful. I’ll say it again for the people in the back, you are beautiful! No comparison necessary. At 52, you can’t expect that you haven’t earned a few wrinkles from years filled with laughter and memories. At 15, you can’t expect to look like the 28-year-old model on the cover of that magazine. In fact, at 28, you can’t expect to look like the 28-year-old model on the cover of that magazine (often a digitally altered image) because you are not her—you are uniquely you.
End comparison culture—now! Find the things that make you uniquely beautiful and celebrate them.
My challenge to you today is that you spend some time away from social media, TV, and the like. Spend time with the Scriptures and with God. Divert your focus away from those unrealistic expectations and onto the expectations God has set for you. Remember once again that you are uniquely designed and formed according to His perfect plan. Remember that He has made everything beautiful in His perfect time, and that includes you.