(Photo by Maylin Rowe)
Diversity is Beautiful
By Kyle Jane Heskett
I was sitting in a coffee shop just the other day near downtown Culver City. Looking around I noticed all different kinds of people. Asian, Hispanic, African American, Eastern European, short, tall, big and small. I thought, “This is a beautiful picture.” Living in Los Angeles, I’m constantly surrounded by different groups of people and I love it.
I now realize I didn’t always value diversity in the past as much as I do now, especially within myself. I was too wrapped up in the lie that told me I should be flawless and look a certain way. But thinking like that means I’m not valuing God’s creativity and beauty. If I can extend any words of wisdom to my younger self, to any young person, it is that diversity is beautiful. Embrace yours.
God loves diversity. Scripture tells us heaven will be filled with people of every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 7:9). Romans 12:4-8 says that we all have a unique purpose. I know deep down that being made in the image of God means that my differences highlight God’s creativity and beauty, not hinder my self-worth. I think that ties in so well with diversity. God is not one-dimensional, and neither are we.
I asked a friend recently what she thought about beauty. She told me that beauty is the freedom to be yourself, to live out exactly what God designed you to be. God designed us to be free through our faith in Him. 2 Corinthians 3:17 states, “…and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” John 8:36 tells us, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Feeling insecure about myself is not living in this freedom. Furthermore, my insecurity is a way of telling God that what He created is not good enough. I’m free to look the way I do, free to have my own personality, culture, and traditions, and I’m free to love others for what makes them unique.
There are times when I don’t embrace this truth. I’m sure you have felt the same. For me, my biggest struggle is dwelling too much on my physical “flaws.” But I don’t need to feel embarrassed by them. God set me free from playing the comparison game. I can ground myself in my identity in Christ. I can find strength in Him and actually believe Him when He says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And you are too. You represent God’s creativity and beauty. Another close friend of mine mentioned that is takes courage and compassion to see differences as beautiful. If you feel like you are struggling to see things this way, I encourage you to seek God and what He says about you. I encourage you to focus on how each and every person reflects a different aspect of His beauty. We were not created to be the same. Our diversity is something to celebrate.
If you feel led, say the following prayer out loud:
You are a creative God. You created different ethnicities, body types, and minds. Thank you for making me unique. Thank you for giving me a purpose. I’m struggling to see myself the way You do. But Lord, I want to believe that You define what is beautiful and I do not. I declare the truth that you set me free from unrealistic expectations of how I should be. Help me see others and myself with compassionate eyes, free from judgement or the pressure to be perfect. Help me give you the praise that you deserve. You are my creator and my God. Amen.