Today I write with a heavy heart for one of my readers. I received this message from Jennifer in response to a recent blog post:
What do you do when you’re not hot nor sexy nor pretty? Is there any chance of ever getting noticed?
To be honest, I’m 32, and I’ve never dated. I’ve never even held a guy’s hand, for goodness sake. And while there are other strikes against me (like working in a female-dominated profession, attending a church with few or no other single people, and being introverted and socially awkward), I feel like nothing will ever happen because people are driven by looks. Nothing’s happened so far, after all. And I get it, I do. Looks matter. They are not the only thing that matters, by any means, and they are not the most important thing. But they are what gets you “through the door,” so to speak.
So where does that leave the ugly people?
I’ve been mulling over these words for days. And I feel bad for taking even this long to respond. Because a response is important here. So, Jennifer, this letter is for you.
I read your message as I was walking home from work, staring down at my iPhone screen in complete disregard for the passersby attempting to share the sidewalk with me. My eyes didn’t want to see what I was reading, my mind didn’t want to believe it, and my heart, frankly, couldn’t take it.
And I cried.
Because right there at the corner of 7th and D, as I waited for the crosswalk signal to let me know it was okay to cross the street, my heart broke in two.
For you to say you are ugly is upsetting. For you to actually believe it is devastating. Because, Jennifer, you are believing a lie.
If the words I wrote in that blog post further cemented your belief, then I am truly sorry. That was never my intention. But, somehow through this complicated web of technology, you and I have connected. And for that I am grateful because I have something you need to hear, something you need to understand.
You are beautiful.
Not in a womanly camaraderie kind of way. Not in an obligatory compliment kind of way. There is nothing compelling me to write this apart from the truth.
You were created by a loving father — the same creator of the whimsical willow tree, the enchanting yellow daffodil, the furry chocolate Labrador puppy. All things beautiful and good come from him alone. And this includes you.
“And God saw all that he had made,
and behold, it was very good.”
Your nose, your eyes, your hair, your feet. That part of your body that you’re always careful to hide underneath layers of clothing. That facial feature you think everyone else thinks is ugly. It’s all part of God’s creation. It’s all beautiful.
And it was his intention all along.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.”
And those thoughts? He’s thinking about you, Jennifer. Constantly. So when you think about why men don’t seem interested in you, remember that God is not only interested — he’s crazy about you.
Don’t believe the lie anymore.
You and I are in the same boat, as are so many people out there. It’s the fight between who we really are and who we think we are, the battle between how we look and how we think others perceive us. It’s a war, and it’s one you can declare victory over. It doesn’t happen overnight. But slowly, day by day, you can overcome.
Your beauty is not defined by society or the media or whoever the magazines declare as the hottest girl of the moment. You are beautiful — simply because the creator of the universe made you that way.
Think for a moment about what you feel like when you see a truly magnificent sunset. You know, the kind of sunset overflowing with reds and purples and oranges. The kind of sunset that literally takes your breath away, that makes you stop in your tracks and just stare. What do you feel in that moment? That is exactly the feeling God has when he looks at you, Jennifer. And that’s the feeling one lucky man will have when he catches a glimpse of you, dressed in white, walking down the aisle toward him.