What Instagram Taught Me About Beauty

Issue 27  //  · 

Every girl wants to be beautiful, but we don’t always feel that we are, so feeling insecure about our body is bound to happen! In the past, my friends would joke about my at nose and call me Voldemort. That’s not all. In secondary school, the guys in my class would make fun of my flat chest and comment that I resembled an airport runway. #RTifyoucryed.

I still remember trying different ways to get bigger boobs, like drinking papaya and soya milk, and even stuffing tissue paper into my bra! Of course, none of it really worked, so you can imagine how I feel when I go on Instagram and see picture-perfect bodies; I have bought into the idea that I am not that beautiful, or at least, not as beautiful those other girls.

As much as I hate to admit it, Instagram has shaped my perception of beauty more and more over the years. Against my will, Instagram has taught me some things about beauty. But at the same time, I’ve been constantly reminded that my thoughts should be shaped by the Bible and not the world. Here are two lessons from Instagram that I have rejected because of God’s Word.

# LOOKS ARE EVERYTHING
“Girl, your boobs” *heart eyes emoji*
“HOTTIE!!” “Marry me!”

These comments are everywhere on Instagram, and inevitably, they send us the message that what it really takes to be beautiful is to have eyebrows on fleek, legs for days, and to slay at your makeup game.

But are physical looks really everything?

In 1 Samuel 16:7, God tells Samuel that He is actually not so concerned about the outward appearance, but is more concerned about the heart. We also read in 1 Peter 3:3–4 that lasting beauty does not come from what’s on the outside, such as hairstyles, accessories or clothes, but from what’s on the inside — a gentle and quiet spirit. Both of these verses sing the same tune: true, biblical beauty comes from our heart, not our looks.

BUT ARE PHYSICAL LOOKS REALLY EVERYTHING?

The problem in our generation is that beauty is often seen as just skin deep. Imagine posting about serving in your church’s hospitality team versus posting a perfect #ootd during Chinese New Year. Which post is more likely to get you this comment: “You are so beautiful”? We all prize inner beauty, yet outer beauty is what we know will really get us the likes and attention we crave.

When the girls who get the most likes and comments are those with impossibly good looks, even I start to think that if I want to be noticed, I need to be like them. I struggle with these lies when I’m not careful to fix my eyes on Christ.

#2 IF YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU’RE WORTH MORE THAN OTHERS
Have you ever thought that pretty people tend to be valued more? I can see why you would think so. I’ve never seen an “ugly” Instagram influencer, and even when those who are deemed less beautiful by society do become popular, they’re usually never as popular as the prettier ones.

This is where some Christians will toss Psalm 139:14 our way: “I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” They might add, “Remember, girls, you are made by God to be unique and special! Stand secure in that.” Well, nothing is wrong with that, but when you read Psalm 139 in its entirety, you will realise that the focus is actually not on us at all; the psalmist is in fact painting an amazing picture of who our Creator God is!

Starting from verse 7, the psalmist ponders, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there … For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Only then does the psalmist exclaim, “I praise YOU because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. How beautiful are these verses! God is always present, all-knowing and all-powerful. And it is out of this knowledge of God that the psalmist praises Him for the way He made him!

 

I STRUGGLE WITH THESE LIES WHEN I'M NOT CAREFUL TO FIX MY EYES ON CHRIST

The lesson here is that our true worth and identity are not found in ourselves. I have worth not because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, but because God is wonderful and He made me.

So here’s a challenge for all of us — let’s pull the attention off ourselves, and direct it toward the bigger picture of who God is.

My prayer is that our thoughts and values will be shaped by God’s Word rather than the world’s messages. May we find our identity and security in who God says He is, and who He says we are. True beauty comes from our beautiful and wonderful God. By shifting our focus onto Him, may our view of ourselves and others be transformed.

 

Isabel Phua
Isabel love living in Tampines West. She enjoy the neighbourhood so much that she even joined the local community centre to watch a World Cup match in 2018. GOOAAALLL!!!

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