What to Do When You Feel Ugly

Do you ever feel ugly? I wish I didn’t, but sometimes I do.

Eight weeks ago today, I gave birth to a baby girl. She is precious and beautiful. My husband and I have three handsome boys, and I asked God if he would also give us a little girl. Evelyn Grace is an absolute answer to our prayers, a gift from heaven.

In light of this, you might think I’d be thrilled with the miraculous things God has just done through this body of mine—growing a brand new human in there and delivering it to the world and all—but no. Not so.

Our beauty comes in all different shapes, sizes, and forms. We know this. We just have to remember.

Instead, I find myself obsessing over how I can’t fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I’m checking myself out in every mirror. I’m weighing myself three times a day. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about this thin layer of cottage-cheese-like substance that has made itself at home under every square inch of my skin. “Subcutaneous fat,” I believe, is what the medical experts call it.

Oh, girls. Why do I engage in these mental gymnastics of self-loathing? And why do I expect myself to look like Kelly Ripa or Sandra Bullock or some other forty-something Hollywood mom? I mean, really. There are only, oh, maybe twelve people in the world who look like that, and I earnestly expect to be one of them? I’m pretty sure I should be more spiritually mature than this by now.

Do you do this to yourself, too? Do you think you should look like someone who walks the red carpet or graces the cover of InStyle? Do you cringe when you pass a mirror or think that if you could just fix this or that, that everything in your life would be better?

Why do we do this, girls? Why?

Well, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it lately, and I think it’s because we’re flat out mixed up about some really important things.

For example:

We look to the world for our value instead of to our Heavenly Father.

Are you like me, constantly looking for validation from others? You name it, I’m looking for validation through it. I want to have the best Pinterest pages and the funniest Facebook posts. I want to be the cutest and the smartest and the most talented everything. My heart is a bottomless pit of need, and what I need is your approval—everyone’s approval.

Where is my longing for God’s approval? Why am I not resting in the love of God in Christ to prove my value? God has poured Himself out for me completely. Has anyone else done that for me? Will anything or anyone in this world ever possibly love me the way God loves me, right now, just as I am?

“What shall we say then to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31–32).

We believe the lies being pushed on us by almost every image we see.

Rarely do we see a published image that hasn’t been altered. All we have to do is look around to see what real women look like. They don’t look like magazine photos; they look like you and me—beautifully ordinary—and yet extraordinary. Unique. Made in God’s image. Our beauty comes in all different shapes, sizes, and forms. We know this. We just have to remember.

Do what you have to to remember this truth! Maybe it’s time for me to put a note on my bathroom mirror that says, “I am made in the image of God!” If you forget this truth too, write it down and post it where you can see it often! !

We are hungry for our own glory instead of God’s glory.

I think this is the number one problem I’m facing, friends. I am so hungry for my own glory; the desire for it lurks in every corner of my heart. I want people to sing my praises. Can you relate? But 1 Corinthians 10:31 says that we should do all things to the glory of God, not ourselves. Even my physical beauty is for His glory.

Isaiah 62:3 says: “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”

When we behold His beauty, we’re free from the tyranny of trying to achieve our own.

And isn’t this the kind of beauty we’re really longing for? The beauty that has been transformed by God into something royal and grand and so much bigger than we could ever be on our own? The beauty that the King of the Universe holds in His very hand?

It’s His beauty and His glory that changes us into what we were meant to be. When we behold His beauty, we’re free from the tyranny of trying to achieve our own. What if we decided together to rest in His love for us and to gaze on His beauty? Wouldn’t that be a big relief?

“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple” (Ps. 27:4).

About Author

Jennifer Case Cortez is a literary-agent-turned-stay-at-home-mom. She loves connecting young women with God's Word, and her writing has been featured in the Mom's Bible, the Devotional Bible for Dads, and the Life Promises Bible. Jennifer loves playing her guitar, eating Nashville hot chicken, and hanging out with her husband Daniel and their four children: Sam, Joshua, Jacob, and Evelyn Grace.

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