When I See Your Face

 “When your greatest insecurity is on display for the world to see, you convey a vulnerability that is attractive in a way perfection can never be.”

RoaldDahlquote

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I wouldn’t say I got into the tub planning to yell at God.

But that’s what happened.

The tub was filled far past the allowable level and as I sunk deep to the bottom, I felt the water envelop me like a familiar friend.

I stared up at the chalk white ceiling, wondering if my Creator even saw me.

And the tears began to pour down my cheeks, adding their bitter saltiness to the water swirling around me.

Why did you make me like this, I cried.

I could be doing so much for You.

I will do so much for You. If you just fix it.

Why won’t you fix it? Haven’t I suffered enough?

Haven’t I been held back enough?

I was talking about my face.

You see, my skin took a turn in eighth grade when the all-too-typical pubescent acne took hold of it, and never let go.

All the sunny perks of being a teenager were stripped away in a moment. I remember feeling suddenly unworthy in all my pretty clothes. They would look so much better if it weren’t for my face, I thought with shame.

Boys went the way of my lovely clothes. I assumed no boy would ever look twice at me. All the smarts in the world couldn’t compete with the radiant complexions of my classmates.

I refused to go camping with my friends. Not because I didn’t enjoy dirt on my clothes, or ashes stinking up my hair, or getting sick off s’mores – those were (and are) just peachy by me. But going without makeup was out of the question and group sleeping arrangements made it impossible to carefully apply my war paint each morning- a flesh toned paint by number if you will.

I surveyed my clear-skinned friends with an ugly envy. Their luminous complexions allowed them to bounce out of bed without a second thought. I, on the other hand, held my breath on my way to the mirror each morning. Whatever was reflected back would determine whether if it was going to be a good day or a day to hide.

As I blew out the candles each year on my birthday, I would always plead, This is the year it will go away right? This is the year I become too old for this.

But it stuck around.

And so I cleared out the acne treatment aisle in the pharmacy, ordered products from infomercials that promised me the moon and the stars, and gave my body over to some frighteningly powerful drugs.

Nothing worked.

And I felt so ugly.

So ashamed.

So pissed off at God.

My stand off with God reached its breaking point in the tub. I screamed and cursed and cried until there was nothing left in my emotional arsenal.

It would be a powerful story if I could say I was miraculously healed in that moment. That God and I brokered a deal and I now save children in Africa for Jesus, posing bare faced for the promotional ads.

But that’s not the case.

My skin is certainly not functioning at an adolescent level anymore, but it’s still a struggle. I still feel terribly insecure without makeup. And there are many days I want to hide under the covers.

But I’ve stopped yelling.

Because I know I’m not seeing the whole picture. I know there must be some (bizarre) purpose here.

Even as I write this, I can think of young women who have been drawn to me because of my skin. When your greatest insecurity is on display for the world to see, you convey a vulnerability that is attractive in a way perfection can never be. And so I’ve had the opportunity to speak into their fragile perceptions of themselves, to fight against their airbrushed concept of beauty, to remind them (and me) that their form is blemish free in the eyes of their Creator.

I’m not going to pretend I don’t wish it would all disappear tomorrow. I wish that every morning.

But I refuse to let it define my worth.

I refuse to believe it mars my beauty.

I refuse to let it keep me under the covers.

 * * * * *
I would absolutely LOVE – if you’re feeling brave – for you to share what holds you back. What stops you from taking chances, from fulfilling your purpose?
It loses its power, its hold on us, when we bring it to light.

17 thoughts on “When I See Your Face

  1. This is such a beautiful piece, Megan, thank you for sharing your heart and your bravery. I have crippling anxiety about my body as a whole, but especially my chest; I have always had a large chest size and even at 25 I feel myself trying to fold in on myself so that others might notice my smile or eyes first instead of something below my smile and eyes. Much like one’s face being out for everyone to see, no amount of clothing will cover up what I have to carry.

    I hope one day I can be proud of my curves and the things that make me a woman, but it is still a battle each morning, each shopping trip, each formal event. The Lord is still working in this heart of mine and showing me the ways in which my beauty, both internal and external , brings Him the glory.

    • Wow, Stephani, I can’t tell you how much I honor your bravery in posting this comment. Your picture of ‘folding in on yourself’ is so vivid. Thank you for standing with me today and making me feel far less alone. Proof that we ALL have that one thing that holds us back. But when we share it, and seek to find the God-piece, we definitely take away a part of it’s power. So much love to you . . .and your curves! xxx

  2. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. As a teenager I assumed that no boy would ever like me, because they could never find me beautiful – only fat. I tried to put myself out there, but with what felt like constant embarrassment. I’ve spent the better portion of thirty years praying that it would be easy for me to exercise, or that making good food choices would make a significant improvement. I was always willing to work, but I would beg that God could just help me a little bit. Make it a little bit easier. When I married my husband I assumed that I would stop feeling that way – I found someone who could look past the substantial surface area. Except that I couldn’t look past it. And so I continue to struggle. I hate shopping for clothes, and stress before getting on every amusement park ride or loading an airplane.

    And so I continue to pray. Sometimes scream and shout. But I try not to let it stop me from living the life I was meant to live.

    • oh my dear, your vulnerability is more beautiful than you realize. thank you for putting yourself out there and speaking with courage on behalf of the women who are too scared. your story inspires and reaches far more than you know. continue to press in and scream and shout. just keep moving forward as you do it! so proud of you.

  3. Hi Meghan,

    I’ve just started reading your blog, and I look forward to each new post of yours. Thank you, truly, for your honesty and courage in sharing what’s on your heart.

    This post resonated deep with me as I struggled with acne all through my teenage/mid-20 years. My biggest struggle, though, has been with my body image. I, like you, would look in the mirror and decide whether today was a good day or bad day depending on how flat my stomach (or wasn’t) or how skinny I felt that day. My body image held me back for more than half of my life. It seeped into my marriage, friendships, and relationship with my sister. I’m only now at age 27 really facing it head on and working to silence the lie that says my body defines me and my self-worth.

    Like you, I am working on refusing to not let it define my worth or keep me under the covers. It helps so much to know that other women are fighting the same battle day after day.

    On another note, have you ever read Beth Moore’s “So Long Insecurity”? The title and cover are horribly cheesy; in fact, I refused to read the book for a number of years because of the title. Anyway– it turned out to be truly transformative book for me. Beth honestly and courageously deals with so many insecurities we face as women as well as weaving scripture and Godly-insight into it all. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it!

    • Brittany, thank you so much for that lovely compliment. I actually have not read the book by Beth Moore and, now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m looking forward to picking it up! I so appreciate the suggestion.

      I completely understand your struggle on many levels. Like the women who commented beforehand, I honor your bravery in saying it ‘out loud’. We are all trying to overcome ourselves so we can follow in the beautiful path God has laid out for us. You are a stunning woman and completely worthy of being seen as beautiful – just because of who you are. Much love to you. Again, thank you for standing up and using your struggle to speak to others in the same place (and there are many MANY more than you realize). xxx

  4. Dear Megan,
    tha k you for sharing this, is is so deep and personal, really must say this is nearly exactly how I’ve had acne. it’s not fun. I would so often want to hide my face under a brown paper bag. What you say is so true! There are days when I wish the holes in my face would just fall off, but it won’t happen of course. other days I spend 45 minutes or more searching for hidden acne in the bathroom mirror, then there’s the days where I’m just like “whatever, if I touch it, that will make it worse.” so I have to go on. I accept that I have it. This is one thing, among many others that hold me back. But beauty is soul deep. Apparently Jesus wasn’t one of the best looking guys, but people saw something in Him. As long as people can see the good in me and not define me for my looks, I can pretty much go on with this acne like it’s nothing. 🙂

    • I totally agree with you my dear . . it definitely does not define you, but it’s so hard to have that healthy perspective when you just want to hide. What I have learned it that it is not NEARLY as horrible as we make it out to be. More often than not, people don’t even notice it. You are a beautiful woman inside and out and I so honor you for sharing your story. Every woman feels this way – we just need to have the courage to share. And you have bravery in you for sure. Much love to you 🙂

  5. Pingback: In which I link you up (vol. 24) | Sarah Bessey

  6. I relate to this and I am grateful you shared this with us all. I have this same insecurity, but it’s not only on my face. My skin cleared up beautifully for a time and then bam- uncontrollable breakouts. Everywhere. It seems to have finally started to clear again, but having clear skin, then having it taken away again, contributed even more to the intense powerlessness that permeated every part of my life, as so many other things were taken away or falling apart, and there was nothing at all that I could do about it. Nothing. I hope my comment about how it is clearing up for me now doesn’t add to your pain. I have never seen your face, but I know you are beautiful. You are worthy and loved. I bet your eyes sparkle and your smile brings hope. Thank you again for this. It was so encouraging to me.

    • What a lovely compliment Jess. Thank you. I completely relate the feeling of powerlessness. I sometimes think it’s why I ended up pursuing fitness as a career – because it felt like something I could control when my face seemed so out of control. I so appreciate you taking the time to share your story.

  7. Hey there, Megan. (Great name, BTW.) I’m visiting from over yonder at Sarah Bessey’s place. Been snooping through your posts this morning, and I’ve really enjoyed them all. You’ve officially been bookmarked. That’s not supposed to be as creepy as it sounds.

    • Well thank you Megan! We even share the same spelling of our names, which means we are kindred spirits indeed. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed snooping around – that means so much. Welcome 🙂

  8. Megan:

    Thank you for this post! I have struggled for years with body rejection. It’s better these days, but when I think of all the time in which my emotions and thoughts were locked onto shame and self-hatred, well, it’s something to grieve.

    Lately, I’ve been wondering if there isn’t something I can do to be more active in helping younger women avoid getting stuck where I got stuck. I’m also deeply curious about how we can begin to change the culture in which it is so easy for females to fall into torment over how they look.

    Are you aware of “regular” (i.e. not trained therapists) people coming together to organize help and change for young women who are in despair over their appearance?

    Bless you!

    • Hi Candace. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I understand those feeling of body rejection well. Most of the organizations I know of are for individuals who are experience body rejection along with other debilitating issues (eating disorders, self-harm etc.). But last year I wrote a piece for SheLoves Magazine called A Love Letter to My Body (‘A Love Letter to My Body’ )and invited women to join in. I was shocked when hundreds of women submitted their own letters -it was pretty incredible to see women reconciling years of hate and criticism. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen in terms of regular women coming together to inspire change. If you’ve come across any other groups I’d love to hear about them!

  9. Dear Megan,
    I chanced upon this blog through a post on She Loves. I absolutely love your writing. Each post is so heartfelt and genuine, it feels like a conversation with a friend.

    This post definitely struck a chord with me. My first spot of psoriasis struck at a the age of 15. By the time I started working, the stress made it worse & brought along eczema as well. Needless to say, I have shyed away from social events all my life. And always on the lookout for a miracle cream or pill that could make me feel just a tiny bit normal. Not glowing or gorgeous skin but just normal.

    But your post reminds me that I have been created for a purpose. Despite my condition. There are things that I can do. Still.

    Thank you for reminding me to live. I still hope God heals me fully one day. But even if that doesnt happen, I know he will turn it around for something good.

    Keep your posts coming in. I’m sure it will touch many others like me.

    God bless.

    • I can’t tell you what a complete and utter blessing this whole comment is Jacinitha. First of all, thank you for your incredibly kind words. Secondly, thank you for sharing a bit of your own story. I completely relate to just wanting ‘normal’ skin-nothing spectacular required God! So proud of you for continuing to walk it out, even though you haven’t receiving the healing you so desperately want. You are touching more lives around you than you realize. Much love, my new friend 🙂

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