“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.”
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.
And I felt so ugly.
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.