Because of my wound of insecurity and my struggle with beauty already went so deep into my heart, George’s problem with lust literally knocked me off my feet and I felt like it ruined me. I stopped believing in the beauty of marriage, thinking romance could never exist. At least not the way I imagined. I believed no man could ever be pure and I would never be valued and loved just as I am.
But those things were lies—lies that I believed. And they almost ruined not only me, but my marriage as well.
Insecurities have a way of making us go crazy. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I put George through because of my own issues with pride and wanting to be the most physically beautiful woman in the world. My anger swelled when he accidentally looked at a woman. No lust. Just looking. I couldn’t deal with the fact that he saw other attractive women. I wanted to be the only one he saw, even if he wasn’t lusting.
Imagine how tiring that can be. At times I wanted to strap a camera to his shirt so I could see everything he saw and compare myself, in detail, to every attractive woman his eyes glanced at. This mentality broke me to pieces and caused me to ask questions that only further damaged my heart.
In my novel, Exposed, the main character (Ally) also struggles with this. Here’s an excerpt showing her tortuous way of dealing with insecurity:
“Ally, if something is bothering you, please ask.” He squeezed my hand. “The more you hold in, the more you’re going to run. Talk to me.”
I inhaled. The comforter rose with my body.
Somewhere inside of my head, my heart, and what felt like my entire existence, there lived an annoying woodpecker of desire. Desire to know things I knew would hurt me. He pecked and pecked and pecked so much that he made every desire feel like a need. An insatiable need that would only be reconciled if I gave in to the pecking, the constant, annoying pecking. And if I did, I knew, I just knew, the pecking would stop.
Or so I hoped.
“Was she prettier than me?” My words came out with a gush of air. Relief and nausea plagued me at once.
Jessie shook his head. “Who?”
“The nurse. Yesterday.”
After an exaggerated inhale, Jessie’s chest dropped. “Why do you ask questions like this?”
I didn’t even care if he lied. I needed a no.
“I already know the answer,” I said.
“If you already know the answer, then why do you ask?”
“Guess some part of me wanted you to say you are so captivated by me that you’d never think that in a million years.” My lips trembled. “But I know that’s not true. Can you just say it? I need to hear the truth.”
“Ally, she was more beautiful than you, yes. Physically. Just physically. Why does this matter so much? Don’t you understand how much I love you, all of you? Not just the physical, but every little detail.”
I bit my lip. Something about the way he said beautiful smashed my aching heart to pieces and made the woodpecker go crazy. I never said beautiful. I said pretty. Why did he choose that word?
I never wanted to hear the word again.
Now, I no longer ask questions like Ally did in the above excerpt. I no longer want to see everything my husband sees and compare myself. And believe it or not, I no longer seek the beauty this world wants me to seek. I’ve learned to seek the most beautiful beauty. God’s view of beauty.
Do you think there are women in this world who are more beautiful than you? Do you think there are people in this world who are ugly? Well, if so, you have a distorted view of beauty. And a distorted view of beauty is often a good cause for insecurity. We are seeking after things that are not attainable, so we will never feel like we are good enough.
When we learn to see ourselves through God’s eyes we realize that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, or the eyes of our husband, or the eyes of ourselves, or the eyes of Hollywood. Beauty is in the eye of God. Until we learn to look at the world and ourselves through His eyes, we will never know true beauty.
I like to explain this to women as though we are flowers in God’s garden. You are a rose, I am a daffodil. We are all different. Unique. There is no other flower that can be a daffodil, and no other flower that can be a rose. You are beautiful in your own and I am beautiful in my own beauty. There are no comparisons, only the living out of our own beautiful, unique ways. There are no ugly flowers. God smiles on all of us. We were all created to glorify Him, and in that, we are beautiful. He does not make mistakes. We don’t ask Him to add a few more colors to the sunset or tell Him that the sky should be red. No, we trust that as the creator of beauty … we are beautiful. Because we are crafted by the hands of God
I’ve stopped seeking to be the most physically stunning woman in the world to my husband and instead I rest knowing that there is no most. I am the most beautiful woman to my husband because I am his wife. This surpasses physical beauty, which is fleeting. And for me to even desire to be the most physically beautiful woman in the world is unhealthy, unattainable, prideful, and self-centered. It’s not something you would admire in me, and it’s not something I would admire in you. Yet, we keep getting caught in these cycles of trying to measure up, trying to be better, trying to be the most beautiful.
I love this quote from Thomas Kempis: “Whenever you desire anything inordinately, you immediately find that you are dissatisfied with yourself. Those who are proud and avaricious never arrive at contentment; it is the poor and the humble in spirit who live in great peace.”
My insecurities almost ruined my marriage, and Ally’s. My husband sought purity and his heart was truly changed. But I held him back—I held our marriage back—from true healing by focusing too much on my own pursuit of physical beauty. Now, I realize that beauty isn’t something to be pursued or attained—it’s something to receive.
God has given me beauty, in my own way. He has given my own heart to love this world. I have found so much freedom in receiving and resting in my own beauty, instead of pursuing something that will always make me feel like I’m not good enough. Humility focuses on things unseen and not so much on the things our eyes hold dear. That’s what I want. To seek true beauty, hidden from the eyes of Hollywood and tucked away in the treasures of God’s heart.
That’s what I want for you, too. Freedom. Freedom to stop striving, to stop trying, to stop seeking and pursuing, and just live with a humble and content heart that is so focused on the unseen things that it rarely stops to consider something as trivial as becoming the most beautiful woman in the world.
Rest is yours. Freedom is yours. And it all comes down to one question … are you willing to stop viewing beauty through the eyes of others and see beauty through the eyes of God?
My world changed when I said, “Yes.”