Am I Pretty Enough? Struggles With Pride, Vanity, Worth, Identity & Love

by | May 19, 2021 | Body Image and Young Women, Body Image Idolatry, Teen Body Image Issues

am i pretty enough?

I thought I wasn’t like the other girls around me in high school. I knew I was a good person on the inside, I just wasn’t sure if I was pretty enough on the outside for boys. At least I was beautiful on the inside though, that’s what they always say matters anyway right? Wrong. Sadly, in my experience with high school most boys don’t actually care about the nice Christian girls. They care about the beautiful ones on the outside. The ones they can kiss and hug and…ya know…do other things with. At least I knew my faith, what I believed and why I would never cross those lines before marriage. Deep down, I pridefully thought I was so much better than all the other girls.

More than “popular” girl Beauty

Before my body changed in high school, I was skinny and aware of it. I wasn’t confident though, and I didn’t believe I was beautiful like the “popular” girls. I just need to be a little more skinny here or there, I thought. As I became my fittest through intense sports and over exercising, I started becoming more confident in my appearance. Scratch that, I drew ALL of my confidence from my body. I started to know I was beautiful on the outside like those other popular girls, but better yet, to go along with it was my beautiful character and heart on the inside. This is something I had over those popular girls, I thought, they aren’t good Christian girls like I am. Any boy would be lucky to date me, I am a true all-around catch if they just take the time to get to know me. When I look back at myself now, I have to admit that I was blind to the ugliness that started developing inside me though. I became prideful and judgmental, and the virus only spread like wildfire. This pride became a breeding ground and nurturing environment for other ugly sins like vanity. And that’s the hard truth.

pride: An ugly virus

I began dressing in clothes that showed off my figure too. Now, it was nothing crazy and I was still one of the most modest girls in my school (I actually unanimously received this label from my classmates during a class experiment once). I didn’t start showing more skin or body parts, but I wore tight skinny jeans or fitted shirts. I wore cute sun dresses and traded flowy skirts for pencil skirts. I dressed to impress every day at school because then the boys would notice me.

She’s a good Christian girl, a successful and driven student with a heart of gold, super fashionable, gorgeous on the outside and inside? What more could you want? I hoped that’s what they’d think. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to look nice, but your intention behind it can become the problem. I didn’t dress up, modestly I’ll reiterate, and nice for myself to feel good and ready for my day. I thought if the boys saw how cute I dressed and pretty I was on the outside, that was the key to getting a boyfriend (which I wanted so bad at the time).

My outside appearance was the key to getting the boy to me and to seeing my true beauty inside. I wanted to be loved, and I thought this was my way to it. My obsession with my appearance, began to change not only how I dressed each day, but my heart too.
vanity: an All-Consuming vice

It started out harmless. Everywhere I went, I needed a picture of myself for Instagram. I thought, it’s just fun to post all of the fun activities I’m doing and places I’m going to show others. Also, I look really good today, so why not? Vanity is funny like that though. She seems innocent at first. I never saw it coming. Heck, I never really realized what was truly going on until I sat down and reflected on my time in high school for these blogs. Pride. I never saw that coming either. You see, once one vice works its way into our hearts, it begins to take over; it prepares a place for all of its friends and throws a huge party. And just like with any good party, it’s hard to get pride, vanity, or any other vice to leave once they’re there enjoying themselves. My pride fed a new vice, vanity.  I thought I was selfless, and I once was before I reached this time in high school. But pride is easy to slip into, and selflessness requires active humility.

struggles with identity & worth

Just try harder. You need to do more. Nothing you do measures up and is ever good enough for others. You need to be better in order for others to love you, choose you and want you. I let satan fill my mind with lies. And worse yet, I listened to them. I believed them. I fed them. I became so lost, that when I looked in the mirror, I physically could not recognize the person staring back at me. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and I lost sight of who I wanted to be. As I look back now, I can clearly identify that this was an identity issue. I was placing my identity in everything but God. I placed my identity in my physical beauty and appearance, in my relationships, in my good deeds and achievements. I placed my identity in my worth, and my worth equaled my work. My worth equaled my success. My worth equaled how others treated me and if they included me. I tried to compensate for my feelings of unworthiness through perfectionism and a relentless pursuit of impossibly high standards. Except I kept meeting them. I kept succeeding and I kept striving for more and in it I became prideful.

why is the devil the devil?

This may seem like an odd question, but how did satan became the devil? It was because of pride. Yup, that’s right. Pride was not only the cause of the Fall of man when Eve and Adam ate the fruit in Genesis 3. Satan was described as most beautiful angle, and pride is the reason he was kicked out of Heaven because he wanted praise. He knew he was the most beautiful and wanted praise for it and to be worshipped. Satan tempts us in the same way. One of our greatest temptations is the want to be known and worshipped. Pride and worship are deeply connected because the world worships beauty. This is not surprising since satan sought worship for his beauty and he is alive and active in this world. The real question we need to wrestle with here is are we going to worship God or are we going to worship worldly things (the things of satan)?

Worship & GRACE

We possess an innate desire to worship because God created us to worship. He created us to worship Him and with Him. As sinful humans, we are constantly pulled in so many directions by other things and tempted to give our worship to something else, even to ourselves. I know this sounds really grim but keep with me for a minute. My worship became my body because that’s how I thought I would save my relationships and make new ones. And relationships are everything right? Wrong. Only one relationship matters, and it’s our relationship with God.

Where are you placing your identity? Your worth? Where are you searching for love and acceptance? I looked to all of my other relationships, both real and nonexistent, to define my worth. I placed my identity in all of my relationships and used them all as a measuring stick of love and worth. Every single relationship except the one that truly matters: God.

In my searching, I only confirmed my fears. I am unworthy. Alone, we are all unworthy, and nothing we do will ever change that. But that’s the beauty of grace friends. God sees us, in all of our mess, failures and unmet expectations and calls us His own. God seeks us out and pursues us even when we reject Him and chase after worldly things. He sees us, loves us and says we’re worthy and loved and forgiven.

 

Reflection Questions:
  • Am I placing my identity and worth in things other than God?
  • Am I idolizing my body/physical appearance?
  • Am I worshipping my body?
    • Am I desiring worship for my body?
  • Do I think I am better than others, prettier than others, etc. (struggling with pride)?

 

Reflection songs:
  1. Who You Are by Unspoken
  2. Reign In Us by Shane & Shane
  3. Come Away by Jason Polley

 

am I pretty enough? struggles with pride, vanity, worth, identity, and love

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