Loving Yourself When You Don’t Feel Beautiful


By JMathis

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New Living Translation ©2007)

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

I don’t feel beautiful when I have my period.

In fact, I find myself feeling downright unlovable during this time. Plus, I’m not exuding that much love towards others during my “ladies’ days”, as all this self-loathing makes me grouchy and surly towards anyone who crosses my path that week (yeah, I admit—not my greatest WWJD moments). Every cycle just seems doomed to present itself to me in exactly the same way:

1)      “Huh??? My period is here?” (This is despite the fact that I am as regular and consistent as the rising and setting of the sun each day.)

2)      “What is on my face, and why is it growing a pair of eyes?”

3)      “To heck with my diet. Find Ben and Jerry and get them here—STAT!”

It is at this point that I feverishly calculate on my abacus-like fingers if my weekend plans to drink Bloody Marys will be ruined by the arrival of, well, Bloody Mary, herself.   

While New Agers would love to see menses as a time of cleansing, rejuvenation and meditation, it’s very hard for me to focus on all of that hooey when my jeans won’t zip up that week. Frankly, loving myself is just not on the menu during my period, especially when my face is covered in acne-fighting gunk and chocolate syrup goop (cut to pity-party scene from Bridget Jones’s Diary, where Renée Zelwegger is singing “All By Myself”…Don’t Want to be…All by Myyyy…Self…Anyyyy…morrrre!!!”)

Yet, without fail, the day after my period is done, there is an extra spring in my step (translation: doing the Running Man in front of my bathroom mirror) and a special song in my heart (“Oh yeah, Destiny’s Child!! Gimme some of that Independent Women!!”). The cramps and road rage from three days before are just a distant memory. I find that I’m in love again…with myself. (“Hey, baby, you come here often? Why yes, I live here–remember??”)

Bring on the weekend!! I feel beautiful once more! The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and I’m ready to embrace the world with open arms!

Now, why can’t I just feel this way all the time?

I guess I’m just one of those ingrates who will never fully appreciate menstruation as an expression of God’s brilliance in masterfully crafting a woman’s body for the role of procreation. In fact, I will always have some choice words for Eve around the same time every month (suffice it to say, *love* is not one of those four-letter words I scream at her).

However, when life starts beating me down, when my love for all of my quirkiness turns into disappointment over all of my failures, and when everyday starts feeling like another day “on the rag”, it is then that I must remember that God loves me madly and passionately, and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. According to Psalms 139:14, everything that God makes is breathtaking. So, guess what? That makes me beautiful, even when I don’t feel beautiful and no one else thinks I’m beautiful. That makes me lovely, even when I don’t feel loved and no one else thinks I’m loveable.

This year, I have to learn to love myself—without criticism, without judgment. This is the year that I choose to see myself the way God sees me, and to love myself the way God loves me. I just have to trust that God’s redeeming love makes all things beautiful in their time. Even me.

Prayer: Lord, I have no idea what you’re about to do in my life this year, but I trust You and I love You beyond measure. Help me not to second-guess Your ways when my world starts falling apart all around me. I know that You are transforming me into something beautiful, even when I don’t feel loveable. Make me beautiful and help me to accept Your all-encompassing love for me. Make my words beautiful so that I can love others around me; make my paths beautiful and let my steps be adorned with Your love; make my life beautiful so that Your love shines through me and brightens the darkness that surrounds me. Make me beautiful like You, Lord. Make me lovely like You.

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