I remember seeing the story of Beauty and the Beast for the first time when I was a child. It was a black and white television movie that, quite honestly, gave me nightmares. The version I watched with my daughter several years later wasn’t nearly as terrorizing. Disney did a great job of erasing my childhood fears, replacing them instead with dreams that one day I, too, would wake to find my kitchen appliances and utensils magically preparing the day’s meals for me. Lately I’m seeing yet another version of this tale play out before my eyes. In this permutation, as in the others, there is a happy ending. But this time, the beast doesn’t turn into a handsome prince, he burns in hell. Now, I know burning in hell doesn’t sound like a happy ending, but when you see what that Beast is doing to the Beauty, there is no more befitting end.
You see, this Beast is breaking down the Beauty – binding her up in chains – stealing what is rightfully hers – attempting to destroy her with his lies.
You might have gathered by now that the beast I’m referring to is Satan. We know that our Bible tells us his plans are to steal, kill, and destroy. But what we are much less sure of is that we – ALL of God’s girls – are the Beauty. And because we don’t know – I mean really believe – that we are the Beauty, we succumb to the lies of the Beast, settling for a much less than abundant life. And it’s tragic.
I know I sound dramatic here, but listen to this: Statistics recently released by the Dove Real Beauty Campaign state that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves to be beautiful and only 11% of girls are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves.
Now, you might be tempted to think that this isn’t a problem in the Christian community, but don’t be fooled. I recently spoke with a group of middle school girls at a private Christian school, and every single one of them admitted anonymously to thinking hurtful thoughts about their looks on a daily basis. The most common response: “I’m fat and not pretty.”
So, what’s the big deal? Why does it matter if we feel beautiful or not? Well, because when we get gut-level honest, believing we are fat and ugly holds us back. It keeps us from being salt and light to a hurting and dying world. Don’t believe me? Well, answer this question: Have you ever stayed home from church or a Bible study because nothing in the closet fit? Ever passed on a party because you were up a couple pounds on the scale or your dang hair wouldn’t cooperate? If so, you were keeping that salt and light under wraps.
I’ll admit, for years that was me. If I felt fat, I wasn’t going. If the pants were a bit snug, count me out. Feeling like I’d failed the world, I would dejectedly find my solace in the chocolaty bliss of a bag of Oreos while watching all the world happily enjoying life without me.
But not anymore! Today, though my bottom is bigger than it’s ever been (other than in my ninth month of pregnancy), this Beauty is getting out there and taking no prisoners. Though the three numbers on my scale disappoint the weight charts of America, I’m staying home no more.