I don’t think I’ve been doing so well spiritually. I’ve been feeling so upset lately and I’ve prayed for God to show me what he wants me to do. I just am so lonely and grumpy. It could just be because I don’t get out enough and I’ve been eating junk food and gaining weight or it could be something else. I am an African-American, a Black woman. You’re probably thinking, what does my ethnic/racial identity have to do with my spiritual struggle. Well, I’ll tell you, every day I have to deal with stereotype after stereotype of myself as a Black woman. I want to conquer these stereotypes and I feel enormous pressure to constantly put on a performance so that I won’t become these stereotypes. It’s so stressful that it weighs me down. The beauty standards of this world are so backward. I know that the Bible tells us that true beauty comes from a spirit that is gentle and pleasing to God.
” The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ( 1 Samuel 16:7)
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who praises the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:3)
These scripture are absolutely true. Deep inside, we all know that beauty doesn’t last forever. We can have the newest clothes, the cutest figure and everything and still be so miserable. I know all this intellectually, yet I find myself constantly angry and almost hating myself because I am not what society deems to be beautiful. Because my skin is darker and my hair kinky, I feel like sometimes I’m so invisible. I feel like I’m on the bottom and it makes me grumpy and I take my displeasure for myself out on others and that only makes me hate myself more. I crave sexual intimacy with men and myself because it provides momentary physical relief from feeling unloved and unwanted, but it doesn’t last and in the end I just feel dirty and as if I wasted time and disappointed you God and I’m sorry. There is so much negativity around me that I know it must have rubbed off on me. I am displeased with myself because not only am I unhappy with myself outwardly, but above all inside I feel like I’ve become so vain, irritable and lust-driven. I want and crave this idealist beauty image, I want the boyfriend, I want the attention and I am so angry and ashamed of myself because I’ve prayed to God and asked him to help me, tell me what he wants from me, but I don’t know how to go about doing what I need to get to that special place where I no longer care about what other people think about me or that I don’t need to feel so insecure about my looks or whether or not I have a boyfriend.
I would love to be in the place where it was just me and God and I belonged solely to him and my mind was on just what pleases God and where I didn’t have to worry about how others perceived me. Where I didn’t care whether others stereotyped me as an African-American woman because I would know that God sees my heart. I want so badly instead of reaping this anger and vanity onto others, that I could truly do what Christ teaches and love my enemy, but I find myself constantly having to defend my identity as a Black woman and the identity of other Black women. It’s stressful and it makes me angry that I have to fight these stereotypes. Does God care about what Black women have to deal with?
Does God care about racism? Why do I feel like I’m waiting and waiting for God to tell me what to do, but I just don’t know what to do?
Can’t God show me where he wants to lead me? We’re all made in God’s image, why do some people hurt people so much just by marginalizing them or making them feel ugly for looking the way God created them? I blame myself above all because I guess I’ve let the world get to me. I have an idea of what I COULD do that might help a little at least.
This is my prayer:
We all know that outward beauty doesn’t last forever. Jesus Christ, I love you so much and I would love to have an intimate relationship with you where I only cared what you thought and I would love to see myself as beautiful because I’m your child and made in your image. I don’t want to be vain and greedy anymore. I don’t want to be grumpy and unhappy because my life and appearance are not meeting the expectations of others. Please forgive me God for being so vain, greedy and lustful. Please forgive me for my immoral lustful and sexual thoughts and actions. Please Jesus Christ take away this pain and help me to love YOU and put you first in my life. Please show me how to do this Jesus Christ. Help me to love my enemies, help me to pray for those that judge me based off of my skin color and help me to bless those who curse me just as you say in Matthew 5:44. Please forgive me Jesus Christ, please forgive me for hurting others because I’ve been hurting. Please forgive me for hurting my mother and being grumpy all the time. Please change my heart Jesus Christ, please give me the spiritual discipline I need to get back on track and honor you. I love you Jesus Christ. Please help me to remember this prayer. Amen.”