This is what I would say to you, my students—if I weren’t too embarrassed, if the nuances in English meant anything to you, if we had more than five minutes of rushed conversation about beauty, if you were one of the students who answered, “On a scale of 1 to 10 beauty is of course worth ten, and no, I don’t think I’m beautiful and plastic surgery is a necessary evil if I want to be beautiful” and think it’s okay for Christians to want to be more beautiful, to plaster themselves with make-up and cut up their skin for a double-eyelid, to be ashamed of their height, their eyes, their hair, and skin, and to cry every time they look in the mirror. To all of you, I would say this:
You. Are. Free.
You don’t have to worry about those things. You don’t have to hate yourself or your skin or your hair. You don’t have to place your value in how many kilograms show up on the scale or what people think of your style. You don’t have to wear make-up and you don’t have to get surgery. You don’t have to think that if you don’t you won’t be hired, you won’t get married, no one will love you because
You are free—you are in Christ Jesus.
Or don’t you know that our God is the One who created the world, redeemed it through His Son’s sacrifice, and holds every single one of your worries in the palms of his hands? Our God moves mountains, parts seas, and never ever makes a mistake, oversight, or has an iota of malice toward you His child. Do you really think he will abandon you to scorn, mockery, and depression? Do you really think He, who is the arbiter of all blessings, will withhold any good thing from you because of the body He gave you?
Do you really think God prefers you to hate the face He has given you so much that you think you aren’t worth as much as the woman beside you with perfect skin? Do you think rejecting God’s gift—your body, face, and hair—is a smaller sin than smoking a cigarette or drinking a glass of beer? If God cares about your smoking and drinking and studying doesn’t he also care about you cutting into the skin above your eyes for the sake of a scar that might someday gain you a job? Do you think God can’t get you that job through His power?
He created the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and all that swim the paths of the sea and it is good. You are good—you even bear a resemblance to God Himself. Why do you worry not only about what you wear but about every aspect of your appearance? Don’t you know that God knit you together and, like all of His works, you are wonderful. Why change that? Why worry about that? I say it again:
You are free.
You are free to be beautiful without trying.
You are free from doubt.
You are free to love others without being distracted by needing to love yourself.
You are free from self-hatred.
You are free to not care about what you wear and whether someone laughs at your small eyes, big face, or your low nose.
You are free to be healthy, to honor God, to put your energies into something that does not disappoint.
So smile when I ask you if you’re beautiful! Smile and know that the Lord, your God and Father, made you to be wonderful, free, and blessed.