All girls struggle with body image and insecurities. For some girls it's harder to overcome that insecurity than it is for others. Our world has became a world that really hits hard on girls and the way they look. Just look on a magazine, a movie, or even a commercial; women are skinny, tan and have no blemishes.
One insecurity I have struggled with is my skin tone. A very popular thing that girls are doing now a days is going to the tanning bed to get the tan body that every girl wants and that they think every guy wants them to have. If a guy only likes you for the way you look, he is liking you for all the wrong reasons. He is lusting after you and he shouldn't be doing that. (Matthew 5:28, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.") It is okay for a guy to call a girl beautiful or pretty but he should like you for your love for The Lord and your relationship with God, not your body.
I am fortunate enough to have a mom that cares about me and will not allow me to go to the tanning bed. I was upset when she first told me I couldn't go. All my friends were going and I just wanted to fit in. I wanted to have tan legs when I put on that perfect homecoming dress that I picked out, or when I wore a bathing suit in the summer or shorts. I, on the other hand, don't tan. I am the type of girl that may get a little color but not much. In middle school I struggled with this a lot more than I do now. Yes, I would get made fun of for not having those perfect tan legs, but I started thinking about it. I knew God made me just the way He wanted me. Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." God created us in His image, so therefore we are all beautiful. You shouldn't want to change something about your body when you think you're not beautiful, God created you just the way He wanted you, don't change yourself just because someone says you can't be beautiful if you don't have the perfect body, aren't tan, or don't have the best clothes. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Do not let your adorning be external, the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." This verse has really opened my eyes to body image and the way you look. You don't have to have the best clothes, the perfect hair, the most expensive jewelry, or the perfect body to be beautiful. You should be humble and content with what God has blessed you with and happy the way he made you.
My friends at school don't really have positive attitudes about their bodies. They are insecure, and they always try to be the best and have the best things, so that really brought me down and made me feel like I had to be like them. It wasn't until we started small groups in my youth group that my perspective on my body image changed. My small group girls would always have positive attitudes about themselves, they wouldn't say something about someone else's body to make them feel like they aren't pretty, and they would remind me constantly that I am beautiful and that I don't have to have the best things to be beautiful. Whenever I feel like I am not beautiful I go and read Proverbs 31:30; "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears The Lord is to be praised." Beauty can change a person. You shouldn't put all your attention towards on how you look. Put your attention on The Lord and He will guide you in the right direction. Keep positive people and friends in your life. Don't be around people that bring you down and make you feel like you aren't beautiful, because you are.
I'm so thankful I have a friend like Kayla who is willing to share her struggles with all of us! I want to hear your stories, too. I would love to know how you struggled and how you overcame your negative self image (your image of your personality or body) by allowing God to work through you and heal you. Please submit your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org we may select some of you to be featured on the blog at the end of April!