Between Fake and Authentic: a Lost Identity
By Roula El Azzi
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
As a woman living in the Middle East in a country called Lebanon, I can say it is very challenging to stay simple and natural. Plastic surgeries have invaded our society and the media has had a big role in promoting it. Today, our society is suffering from fake beauty, fake identity, and loss of confidence in God who wonderfully and fearfully created each one of us.
The beauty of the woman has always been considered an important measure of her worth in society. As a woman, this made me always wonder “what if I am not physically beautiful according to the fake criteria of beauty?” I wanted to stay natural and simple without relying on heavy make-up, plastic surgery, or clothes that do not reflect my personality.
For several years, my label was “the girl with the big teeth”. It hurt, but I persisted in fixing my dental issues without changing my authentic identity. Even when in desperate moments I tried to copy others in following the latest trends and fashions and failed, the question of what authentic beauty that amazes the soul and create a lasting print of uniqueness in life is has always been on my mind. I asked myself this up until the day my soul met the one who loved me unconditionally; “Jesus”.
Experiencing Jesus was a turning point in my life, and yet I kept struggling with my physical appearance for several years until one day, I was on my knees praying and crying to the Lord: Please Lord let me see myself through your eyes only, not mine, not the eyes of the people around me, not the society’s, ONLY through your eyes! Suddenly, I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, peace and calmness filled my heart… I stopped weeping, stood on my feet and looked at the mirror… In that very moment I felt like I was out of time and space, as if I was looking at another person, a beautiful charming woman full of life. I touched my face in wonder, asking in a loud voice: “Roula is that really you?! Wow!” I saw myself as the most beautiful woman I have ever met! Since then, I understood that my identity is in Jesus Christ, and that nothing in this world can make me more beautiful than how He sees me.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1Peter 3:4
How does a woman living according to God’s call live in the modern world and remain an influence to others, a role model to follow who is not affected by the world? By wearing the righteousness of God and not the latest trends of the world, by reading the word of God and not the words of labels, by hearing the voice of God and not the voice of bullying, by knowing who she is in Christ and not in the opinions of the world. Jesus saved us and gave us eternal life, He gave us power over all of the plans Satan has prepared to destroy our peace and joy in the Lord. His precious blood shed on the cross is our worth, Let’s rejoice in Him!
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10
Satan’s goal is to destroy the holy image of the woman. He works on making her out as a commodity for sexual lust, a tool for seduction and a shopping robot. We all, as women of God, have at times fallen into this trap, but our Lord did not leave us without guidance. He gave us His words as a lamp to our feet and His Holy Spirit to guide us in every step.
We all have an invitation today to remember our identity in Christ, to embrace His love, and accept ourselves as He created us.
His light is shining upon our lives, revealing the truth and unmasking Satan’s lies. His voice is calling; let us wake up to our true mission, a mission to make life, to speak life, and to give life to whoever needs it. To be the bride of the groom, loved unconditionally, cherished and honored, while remembering His words: You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Songs 4:7