Who Do You Want to Look Like?

Do you feel like you're never enough? Does self-love talk seem empty and hollow? If so, read on as NCBC's Children's Ministry Director Loretta Bushlack talks about how the Creator of the Cosmos, Jesus, sees the real you. And He loves you. All of you. The real you. 


Who do you wish you looked like?  

Believe me, I understand this is a volatile, insensitive, and socially-incorrect question.

I know this question might have made you angry or it might have made you uncomfortable. But sometimes we need to tend to the places that are hard and hurting. Addressing the topics of appearance and image may bring up pain and repressed insecurity and that’s okay. Let’s shine the light of God on that and see if we can find healing.

If you were to ask me in my early adulthood, “Who do you wish you looked like?”…my answer would have been: Kate Moss.

Kate Moss, the gorgeous Calvin Klein underwear model. So thin. So chic. She was Johnny Depp’s girlfriend too. Certainly not a healthy adolescent obsession. She was my dream image but for me to look like her was 100% totally unattainable. Literally. There was no amount of dieting that could transform me into the image of Kate Moss. For starters, she is 8 inches taller than me. You can’t starve yourself taller.

Nevertheless, I was discontented with myself. Hated myself even. Because I would never achieve Kate Moss-level beauty status.

If you look back to your own formative adolescent years, did you ever feel that way? Maybe it was high school or middle school or college. Who did you wish you looked like?  And if it made you as miserable as it did me, where did that insecurity and self-loathing come from? 

Some of it comes from inside our own heads. But much of it is piled on us through the messages and values of our society.

You see, the world’s message to women of my generation was clear: 

Not only should you be tall, thin, and beautiful. But also chic, ambitious, sophisticated, smart, and successful. You need to be both aggressive and alluring. You need to pursue motherhood (with or without a man) and simultaneously break through every professional barrier that society has placed on women in the past. You need to be everything.

These expectations on women are completely unattainable and false. And the result? Women who never feel like enough. 

Never enough. 

Just seeing those words can make me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. It stirs up so many old feelings of hopelessness. The burden and fear of failure and constant striving.

Okay, let’s fast forward a few decades. In recent years the world would have you believe its message has mellowed. There’s been a dramatic shift away from shaming women and a shift toward self-acceptance and self-care. And that seems like a good thing.

But actually, the unattainable expectations haven’t lessened. Not at all. All the same strangling standards of artificial beauty and materialistic wealth and professional attainment and domestic perfectionism are still there. 

Except now you are supposed to somehow magically be satisfied with yourself even while you don’t measure up.  Self-love is the ideal. Self-affirmation is the key. Self-care is the practice. Do things that make you feel good. Tell yourself things that make you feel good. Even if that means lying to yourself?

Here’s a list of self-love talks that I found through a quick Google search. (www.redsolesandredwine.com). Here are the things I’m supposed to try to make myself believe:

  • I am one of a kind

  • I add value to the world

  • I am evolving every day

  • I deserve the best

  • I am worthy of love

  • I am powerful

  • I am fearless

  • I can make my dream life a reality

  • I am confident

  • I believe in me

  • I am beautiful

  • I attract love

  • I am magical

  • I deserve all good things

  • I am enough

  • I am radiant

  • I cannot be replaced

  • I am strong

  • I am successful

  • I am creating the life I want

    This emphasis of self-love may seem like an evolved, improved philosophy but to me, it’s actually even more confusing! Because deep down, we know the truth. We are not these things. We know that we’re actually broken. Fearful. Powerless. Insecure. Weak.  

    In fact, we can’t even go one day living up to the expectations we place on our little children:

    • Use kind voices

    • Say please and thank you

    • Wait patiently

    • Share with others

    • Tell the truth

    • See the best in others

    • Say your prayers

    • Go to bed on time

    We simply don’t measure up. We are flawed. Definitely not radiant or powerful or magical or irreplaceable. This isn’t a news flash. But the world tries to tell us we are fine–perfect–just the way we are. It’s not true! We know it’s not true. So, let’s stop believing lies!  

    Let’s believe what’s real. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect.

    Only one person ever was. His name is Jesus. He gets a lot of press around Christmas. Rightfully so.

    It is an absolute miracle that the King of the Universe would be wrapped in flesh and born as a baby in his perfect radical pursuit of us.

    The gospel of Jesus is that He came to do for you what you can’t do for yourself. The Creator of the Cosmos wants to be in a relationship with me and you. He sees the real you and He loves you. 

    He sees every single one of your flaws. He sees your darkest secrets, your deepest failures. He even sees the ones you’ve been able to hide from everyone, including your spouse and best friend. 

    Jesus sees the real you. And He loves you. All of you. The real you.

    Let that sink in.

    When you stop and think about the expectations and pressures the world places on you, where does insecurity grab a hold of you?

    Perfect Jesus knows exactly what you’re thinking about. He sees, cares, and loves you. 

    But He is not a fool. And He’s not a liar. He doesn’t tell you “You’re perfect just the way you are.” Because He knows all the ways you fall short. You don’t measure up. But you can trust the one who does. And you can trust Him with your whole heart.

    As you follow Jesus, you slowly become more like Him simply by being with Him. Being with Him in prayer and worship and through reading His words in the Bible. Letting Him be in control. Letting Him be the boss of you.

    This transformation isn’t magic but it is a miracle. It’s a miracle and a privilege that as followers of Jesus, we are being made in His image. Bit by bit, over time, we become more like Jesus from the inside out. We are made to look like Him.

    Kate Moss is now over 50 just like me. And I’m sure she’s still gorgeous. But if you were to ask me today, “Who do I wish I looked like?” My answer, hands down, would be: Jesus. 

    I want to value others like Him. Be interruptible like Him. I want to speak truth and sacrifice with grace. I want to look like Jesus.

    The image of Jesus is always attractive, it’s a look that never goes out of style and it doesn’t fade as we age. It has no shame and no peer pressure. No insecurity or regret. It looks good on everyone. And I must say looking like Jesus will be the best thing you will ever wear.


    Loretta Bushlack
    Children's Director