Can I Love Myself Unconditionally? With Melissa Johnson [Episode 291]

love myself unconditionally Melissa Johnson

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book Soul-Deep Beauty by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

According to a survey, 97% of women have “at least one ‘I hate my body’ moment” in a day. That’s a staggering statistic!

Well, sadly, the beauty and diet industry just loves that! In fact, many corporations work hard to create those moments so you’ll buy their books or products or lies.

But what if we rejected their lies and the false beauty narrative that exists in our culture? What if we embraced the truth about what God says about us and could break free from self-scrutiny and judgment?

Well, my friend, get ready! Because author and therapist Melissa Johnson is here to expose the lies that fuel those “I hate my body” moments.

As we talk about Melissa’s book, Soul-Deep Beauty: Fighting for Our True Worth in a World Demanding Flawless, she’ll repair the broken beauty narrative that teaches you to look for the flaws and instead help you see the true, authentic beauty you’ve always had.

She’ll encourage you to let go of shame and comparison, discover your worth apart from your appearance, and find rest in God’s ever-present, unconditional love for His creation … which includes you, too!

Meet Melissa

Melissa Johnson is a marriage and family therapist, a spiritual director, and teaches an undergraduate course at Bethel University on soul wellbeing. She is also the founder of Impossible Beauty, a blog and podcast dedicated to redefining beauty as “the life of God at work in us and among us.” Melissa lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband.

The Truth Challenge

After listening to the podcast, I encourage you to take The Truth Challenge: 5 Days to Healthier Self-Talk! It’s a FREE resource to help you say goodbye to the lies that fill your mind and replace them with healthier self-talk rooted in biblical truth.

Accept the Challenge

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

Related Resources


Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild

More from Melissa Johnson

Related Blog Posts

Stay Connected

Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Love Myself Unconditionally? With Melissa Johnson [Episode 291]

Melissa Johnson: Our bodies are so miraculous. The way they function and what they can do is incredible. But we spend really no airtime. We've been taught to look for the flaws in our bodies. And so what would it look like for us to change the narrative when it comes to how we talk about our bodies, how we even think about beauty? And I would say that that would take all of the air out of the room for corporations and advertisers who are trying to sell us products because of these, quote/unquote, problems that we need to solve.

Jennifer Rothschild: There was a survey done which revealed that 97% of women have at least one "I hate my body" moments in a day. And the beauty and diet industry, ooh, they just love that. In fact, they work hard to create those "I hate my body" moments so that you're going to buy their books or products or lies. There is a false cultural beauty narrative out there, and today marriage and family therapist Melissa Johnson is going to expose those lies that fuel those "I hate my body" moments. We were made for far more than constant self-scrutiny and judgment, my friends, so let the practical encouragement and biblical wisdom begin.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because -- don't we need it? -- because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey there. Jennifer here to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you're living the "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13. You just heard from my Seeing Eye Guy. That's K.C. And we were talking about this subject that we're about to talk with you about. It's quite the topic. And listen, y'all, the answer's yes. Of course, the answer's always going to be yes. Because if Jesus loves us unconditionally, we can love ourselves unconditionally.

K.C. Wright: Ooh, so good.

Jennifer Rothschild: Feels like a tall order, though, doesn't it?

K.C. Wright: So good. Because we all wake up in the morning and sometimes go, "Oh, no."

Jennifer Rothschild: No, right? It's still me. It's me again.

You know, I remember several years ago, K.C., I was on the treadmill. And by the way, I'm a complete on-again off-again when it comes to exercise. You know, I'm either 100% on or 100% off. And I was 100% on during that season. And so I was on my treadmill, and I was sweating, and I felt so gross. And you know how when you first start exercising, especially if you haven't in a while, you're like, what is this even helping --

K.C. Wright: Right, right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- and you just feel flabby and sweaty and the whole thing. Okay.

So I was not feeling kind thoughts toward myself, and I was -- I turned on my phone Scripture, wherever I was on Scripture, and it was the psalm, "How lovely are the dwelling places" -- I'm doing King James -- "O Lord of Hosts." How lovely are the dwelling places. And so I decide to start meditating on the Scripture, and then it dawns on me, wait a second. I am the dwelling place. Like, yes, I know the psalmist was talking about the temple, but we are the dwelling place. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And so I'm just quoting that verse as I'm flabby and sweating on my treadmill, "How lovely are your dwelling places, Lord."

And it was a real perspective shifter for me, that even, you know, though, I was being very conditional in my acceptance of myself on that moment, I was like, well, you know what, Jesus? How lovely is your dwelling place. This is where you dwell, and so thank you for giving me this body, and it's lovely because you're here. And I think it's sometimes a perspective we need, especially when we look in the mirror and things are like, what happened there? You know what I mean?

K.C. Wright: Mm-hmm. Well, yeah. When I look in the mirror, sometimes I say, "Oh, now." And I'm not loving myself unconditionally.

Jennifer Rothschild: No. Right?

K.C. Wright: So we need to hear from Melissa.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, we do.

K.C. Wright: Okay. Melissa Johnson is a marriage and family therapist, a spiritual director, and teaches an undergraduate course at Bethel University on soul well-being. Melissa is also the founder of Impossible Beauty, a blog and podcast dedicated to redefining beauty as the life of God at work in us and among us. Melissa lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband.

All right. Are you ready? Let's listen in.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Melissa. So we're going to just dive right in, because body shame and even eating disorders, sadly, you know, as far as we've come, they're still a thing among women today. And your book, you're dealing with this because your book is entitled "Soul Deep Beauty." And I love that you're dealing with the root of this, what soul deep beauty really is.

So first question is this, though. Okay? Is this just something you've observed in other women or is this something that you have personally dealt with and that's given you some inspiration too to write the book?

Melissa Johnson: Oh, absolutely something I've dealt with. My book goes through my own story, which was quite an unexpected journey. I was about 31 when I was actually invited by my own therapist -- I was working as a marriage and family therapist and was invited by my own therapist to do some intensive work around an eating disorder, which, to be quite honest with you, that was very surprising to me. You know, there's probably a measure of denial in there.

But also, I think these messages around beauty and body image were so camouflaged to me because they are so the water we swim in in our culture. I've come to see how disordered our culture is when it comes to messages around food, body image, and beauty essentially, and so I have definitely dealt with this. And that is where this book was birthed from, was my own deep struggle of having to -- not only was I diagnosed with an eating disorder, but she invited me, like I said, to pause my whole life and do intensive work around that. And that was about nine to twelve months of my life where I was really staring this issue straight in the face and had to come to terms with not only how much it was impacting me, but I started to have new eyes to see the depths to which what I call broken beauty is impacting women and girls everywhere. I would add men as well; however, this is such a huge issue that I specifically -- and being a woman myself, I specifically dive into the female side of things.

Jennifer Rothschild: I appreciate you being so honest about that. And what I hope that our audience is hearing, because I'm hearing it, is you're a professional, right? You are in this field, yet you had this going on. It was the waters you were swimming in, so you didn't realize it was wet. You just didn't realize. And so could you be -- and you don't have to disclose your personal, but just give us some clarity about what a disorder actually is, because sometimes we're not exactly sure even what an eating disorder is. So can you kind of just give us a brief overview of what the disorders might be so that we can have an idea of what that is.

Melissa Johnson: Yes, absolutely. That's a great question. So I think when it comes to eating disorders, disordered eating, I think there is a spectrum, you know, maybe disordered eating being on one end of that spectrum and an eating disorder on the other. And to be quite honest with you, perhaps depending upon the day, we might fall on different sides of that spectrum. You know, though, for it to be an eating disorder, it would mean that it is getting in the way of your functioning, and there are certain diagnostic criteria that need to be met in order for that to be a specific diagnosis.

However, what I'm trying to kind of open others' eyes to is also to see -- because honestly, my fear around saying that I was diagnosed with an eating disorder is that people might excuse this as like, oh, that doesn't impact me. It's too bad she had an eating disorder, but --

Jennifer Rothschild: Right, mm-hmm.

Melissa Johnson: You know, so in one survey, it was found that 75% of women reported disordered eating behaviors, so having disordered eating. And so a lot of people are wondering, okay, what is disordered eating? And some examples of that would be categorizing certain foods as good, certain foods as bad. Another one is cutting out whole food groups for -- I mean, of course, if you're allergic, that would not be in this realm.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, sure, yeah.

Melissa Johnson: But cutting out food groups. And, you know, we actually have a lot of, quote, diets or food plans, even these days, that promote cutting out full food groups in pursuit of essentially weight loss.

And so when we're starting to get on to that -- I mean, anywhere on the spectrum is, I would say, life depleting. And, you know, for some people, when we get to the side of an eating disorder -- you know, I was in the midst of some women and men who perhaps for many years of their life they would be in treatment. Or I heard stories of women and men who had lost their lives. So we go to that extreme.

However, I would say, and what my eyes and my heart has been open to, is I think that these narratives, cultural narratives, we have around food and our bodies and exercise and beauty are all depleting us of life and impacting the soul because of how widespread diet culture and beauty culture are in our society.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I think that's a good litmus test basically -- not that you're creating one -- but does it deplete my soul of the joy that should be inherently mine. And you had mentioned the beauty standard, the cultural standard that we've got. Because -- I mean, I'm no expert on this, but to me, like most things, like an eating disorder is going to be -- or disordered eating is going to be a manifestation of something deeper, and there's always such tangled-up causes for it.

And one of them I think you kind of alluded to is this cultural beauty norm that we have. So I'm curious if you've got any clue, any idea where or how this beauty standard that we've got, at least in America, where did it come from? And then how does this beauty industry that we're always a part of, how does that play into the insecurity and feed it?

Melissa Johnson: Yes, absolutely. So there are so many things, I would say, so many streams that kind of have gotten us to where we are in terms of this -- what in literature is called the thin ideal, or this glorification of thinness in our society. You know, and some of it goes back to kind of ideas of racial inferiority. There was, like, a racial hierarchy set up at one point in American history that kind of associated larger bodies with savagery and also with black folks. And so we have this racial very sad history to it.

But then we also see, you know, at certain points throughout history where thinness was associated with things like saintly virtue and self-denial. And perhaps, like, during the early 20th century when work became less labor intensive and more sedentary, we saw things like materialism and leisure activities growing more prevalent, so dieting became a way for people to showcase their supposed moral character. And so we see, like, a number of things leading into this.

But one of the things that I have seen to be especially dangerous, or something that I've actually found to be also freeing, is starting to see the impacting -- or the impact of advertising and how -- at one point we saw how advertising took this turn from playing on our logic, like, literally -- or like, you know, logically this product is better. Maybe if it's shampoo, it cleans your hair better. Whereas not during the -- oh, goodness, I think it's maybe the 1930s, we had this turn by Edward Bernays, who was actually the nephew of Freud, and he started to see that we can actually play on people's insecurities and their unconscious desires when it comes to advertising. And so we see now, from there going forward -- and I would say we see this especially in the beauty and diet industry where people -- or advertisers and corporations are playing on people's shame. So they are purposefully eliciting shame, making us feel less than in order to sell a product.

And additionally, we see oftentimes the people in these images, media and social media -- we have a lot of social media influencers these days. We have these, quote, flawless people. But what we need to know is so many of the images we see are fake, like, literally fake. And so we probably know that -- like, I grew up in the '80s and '90 where, you know, in print media I started to hear about photoshopping. But that was, like, celebrities and, you know, people in magazines, which I think is also dangerous. However, now it's not just the celebrities, it's all my friends and it's anyone I look at on social media. I think it's like two-thirds of adults report changing -- or using some kind of a filter. And honestly, I would guess that it's higher, because, you know, for any kind of a survey like that, you have to report, you know, honestly. And also my own image. Like, when I'm looking at my own image, I can look at a filter version of myself. And we're seeing people go in to plastic surgeons now wanting their face to look like their Instagram filter.

And so we are inundated by media and, quote, flawless beauty and the thin ideal, you know, where -- Jean Kilbourne has these series of documentaries called "Killing Us Softly," and she shows how oftentimes in advertising, large chunks of people's bodies are taken -- you know, edited out. So what we're being inundated by, like, that deeply impacts us, and so --

Jennifer Rothschild: Sure.

Melissa Johnson: -- what we, you know, quote, think a body or our bodies should look like is very much -- very much skewed.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And it's so pervasive that -- it's like the frog in the boiling water. I don't think we realize it's happening until it has happened, and then we think there's something wrong with us. And so I think what you're showing here is it's almost just a little bit of an alarm clock that we all need to hear ringing right now.

And because you are a marriage and family therapist -- and clearly, you're so well researched and you've got such personal experience, I think this is super great. So I want to ask you a therapist question here. Okay?

Melissa Johnson: Sure.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, first of all, I read some statistics. Okay? So in February 2023, the CDC reported that three in five American teenage girls felt persistently sad or hopeless. And, of course, they are inundated by social media. This is double the rate for boys. Boys don't seem to have it to this magnitude. And it's also increased, like, almost 60% in the last ten years. Okay, so here's the question. Is the shame that you've described part of what's feeding these statistics? And if that is the truth, then how is that going to impact these teenage girls maturing into womanhood?

Melissa Johnson: Yeah, it's such a great question. You know, I do feel like this is kind of like the -- we're in the midst of unfolding history here seeing -- you know, these up-and-coming generations are really like the test model here. We don't know exactly. And I think some of those statistics about just really the mental health crisis that is going on with American females in particular, I don't think we can -- unfortunately, we can't with that research say that there is causation. However, I think we can -- you know, from that research.

However, I would say from anecdotal experience and what I've observed, I don't know how it's not impacting these up-and-coming females. You know, especially when we look at statistics like -- we see that 80% of girls have used an app to change their appearance before the age of 13. We also know that girls ages 10 to 17 were found to spend five hours on social media every day.

And so this is clearly impacting how our adolescents are viewing themselves, how they feel about themselves. You know, those are such formative years when it comes to self-esteem and identity. And so when it has become so externally focused, you know, we see that. If they're spending five hours on social media, that is very image based. And so just logically speaking, I don't see how this is not negatively impacting females.

And, you know, we are seeing the rate of eating disorders going up post-pandemic. And so it's hard to tease apart, you know, how much of this is -- well, those things would probably go hand in hand too, probably increased social media time during the pandemic.

So all of that to say I think we have enough to go on to conclude that this is negatively impacting females. And I think when we talk to -- when I talk to teenage girls about this, I would say it certainly is if they are exposed to social media. I think that's also -- I see this impacting my own generation. Like I said, I'm in my late thirties. And I am really wanting to sound the alarm so that the moms of my generation can shift our own messages and ideas around beauty so that we can help this next generation.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And I appreciate you pointing out, of course, you know, scientifically, clinically, analytically, whatever, you can't prove causation. But there's something that our souls know even if we don't have data to back it up, right?

Melissa Johnson: Yes. Absolutely.

Jennifer Rothschild: And you just described it. You just did. It's a good word.

All right, let's stay with the research here for a second. Okay. So social psychologists say that people's beliefs become more extreme in group settings. Okay? I think that's called, like, the group polarization effect. And we see this right now everywhere. Okay? So what happens, though, when you apply this within the cultural beauty narrative? Like, how does that even increase? Or what does that do for us as women?

Melissa Johnson: Yes. So I talk about this in the book. I kind of give it -- I mean, to me, it's kind of a funny name. I call it the Baby Shower Effect. I think we've all been there, you know, some all-female group where someone -- you know, you're bound to have someone name, I don't know, maybe the diet they're trying or how they are so bad for eating that brownie at the dessert table.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Melissa Johnson: And then all of a sudden we have this -- it's like this gravity where we all start talking about, you know, what's wrong with my body and, you know, X, Y, and Z. And so there's actually a sociocultural term for that called Fat Talk, and it's this idea where women actually try to make each other feel better by kind of degrading their own bodies. So if one woman says, you know, I hate how -- whatever my hips are, then I would feel bad, like, I'd want to empathize with her and say, well, you think that's bad? Look at my whatever, X, Y, Z, you know, how bad that is.

And so we think we're actually helping each other; however, all we're doing is we're perpetuating these messages, these cultural messages, that there is something wrong with us, there's something wrong with our bodies, and all it does is it actually picks up this momentum of shame that is already very much part of our cultural discourse.

And so what I am trying to say in the book is we can actually use that same tenet of group polarization and reverse the Baby Shower Effect and start to change the way we talk about our bodies, the way we talk about our relationship with food, and we can actually start talking about, like, my body -- like, how grateful I am for the functionality of my body. Since you and I started this interview, think about how many breaths each of us have taken or how many times our hearts have beaten, and I have not done anything to make that happen. And so our bodies are so miraculous. The way they function and what they can do is incredible, but we spend really no airtime. We've been taught to look for the flaws in our bodies. And so what would it look like for us to change the narrative when it comes to how we talk about our bodies, how we even think about beauty? And I would say that that would take all of the air out of the room for corporations and advertisers who are trying to sell us products because of these, quote/unquote, problems that we need to solve.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's so good. Our bodies are not a problem to solve. They are not a problem to solve. Yes, we're going to deal with issues from time to time, of course. But I love that perspective.

And I think what we have done, Melissa, those of us who are Christ followers, we don't even realize we're doing it, but we've taken so much of the cultural narrative around our bodies and beauty and food and all that and we've laid it on top of our relationship with God. And instead of letting our relationship with God color all that, we've allowed that broken beauty narrative, as you called it, to color our relationship with God. So that means -- and that's my opinion. Okay?

But if that's correct, then that means that there's someone listening right now, and she may feel that God is being critical or judging her because of what she eats or how she looks or whatever. So I'm curious if as you worked through what you described as an eating disorder and dug deep, did you deal with any of that? And, if so, how did that change? Or just kind of give us kind of a lens into that part of your journey.

Melissa Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for saying that. I think that that is so true. I think that, unfortunately, because all of these things are part of the culture we are a part of, the church has gotten sucked into a lot of it. And I think that the enemy uses this and uses the shame associated with it to distract us in ways that are going unnoticed.

And so in my own journey, unfortunately, I didn't really get a lot of help when it came to my church or Christian experiences. Though I've grown up in the church and deeply love the church, oftentimes the messages I would get would be something around, like, you know, if you're struggling with food or body image, it's an idol, just don't do it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Melissa Johnson: And so, you know, that really wasn't helpful. And so I just started to -- I just continued down the road of, okay, trying to do it, quote, perfectly when it came to what the culture was telling me about. You know, oftentimes it had to do with restricting food intake and eating, quote, perfectly, which is not helpful. I learned that that eventually wasn't a great thing, but -- or super helpful. But I was trying to do that, quote, perfectly, while also simultaneously follow Jesus, and not ever really realizing how those intersected or how they were integrated. And honestly, it was like an ongoing tension for me.

And so while I was also doing this intensive eating disorder stint, I was pursuing a degree in spiritual formation, and so part of that degree was going to do some intensives out at Portland Seminary. And during one prayer time, the woman -- my prayer partner invited me to envision the face of Jesus and -- in the midst of whatever the struggle was that I presented to her. And I decided to be honest and I told her the real struggle. And in those moments when I envisioned the eyes of Jesus, I just was met with this deep compassion and deep empathy and these eyes of love. And it was just this overwhelming sense that, like, I see you, like, I see where you've been. I see these pressures that have been -- these things that have been mounted on you, and I want to help you. I'm here to help you. Like, I'm neck deep in all of this with you, and we're going to walk out together.

And so there was this deep oneness or withness that I hadn't experienced to that extent before, and all of a sudden there was this integration of, like, those two tracks, and it was as though I had this new advocate who was with me the whole time, I just hadn't seen it. And so by no means was I being judged. He saw the whole thing and he saw these pressures we're under. And I think how evil has tainted beauty and has, you know, just kind of poured this shame on us about our bodies and all the rest of it. So that was my own experience, and that was deeply transformational.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it is. And I think it's integral to where you are today. I mean, this cannot -- true transformation in any area of our life cannot take place outside the kindness, compassion, and grace of Christ. It just can't. So that's a beautiful part of your story.

I'm curious also, because I know you write about in the book, what you learned about breathing or breath in your treatment as you were on this road of healing.

Melissa Johnson: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I realized -- so part of my own treatment, the protocol, you know, I -- it's interesting. It would be amazing if we could have faith-based eating disorder treatment centers. Mine was not. I had, you know, a -- I guess a secular. And it was a great place.

But part of the protocol was doing daily yoga. And I was not a yogi by any means. But one day I remember the instructor saying -- like, we were breathing, and she said you have access to your breath, like, every moment. And all of a sudden that realization that my breath was always with me, like, became this wider knowledge that, like, God -- like, the Spirit was with me always.

And so the breath of God, like, had animated me to life and animated all of us to life, and now this deep presence of God was with me in a way that was, like, so a part of who I was and so omnipresent, and it became -- the presence of God and the love of God and the closeness of God just became, like, this deep and new realization as it became, like, an embodied reality that day.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, I love that. The nearness of God changes everything. And you're right, it's not that it had never been before, you just -- to be able to become mindful that the Lord -- when he says, "I am with you always," he means it. He's as close as our breath. So beautiful. Thank you for that.

All right, so here's another question. I love your insights, by the way, so thank you for just letting me go from thing to thing. Okay, so here we go. Advice. I want you to give some advice to that woman -- because it's mostly women who are listening right now. But it could apply to any person, a man or a woman. But she's struggling with body shame, and maybe she's even -- because she is a Christian, she might be a little frustrated with God because of the body she was given. Talk to her. What advice can you give her?

Melissa Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. I would want her to know that her body is good, and we have just been given a very broken narrative when it comes to how -- the worthiness of our bodies. I believe that body diversity is God given and it is beautiful. All bodies are beautiful, I believe. And I would also invite her to dive into how she and how we have been co-opted to believe things that are untrue and shame driven for consumeristic gain and capitalistic gain. So I would encourage her to please take a look -- I really try to nail this down in my book just to kind of show all of the things that have gotten us -- the pressures that have gotten us to where we are.

I would also say that -- so Dr. Curt Thompson talks about how shame is a minion of evil. And so this is not just, I don't think, the agenda of these corporations. I think this is the agenda of the enemy. And I think that he is incredibly successful at it. And so I do think that beauty has been corrupted, and what I want that woman to know is that I'm defining beauty as the life of God at work in us and among us. I think that is the truest definition that I've come across. I'm open to God continuing to teach me even a more clear version. But what I would like her to know is that this boxed-in version of beauty that our culture has given us, that it is false and it is purposefully constructed to sell products. And so please, please see that, please know that, and please know that the God who, like, made the starry skies and the ocean that, like, takes our breath away, like, that goodness, that beauty, and that love, you are made in those things. You are made a reflection of those things. And so please start to open your eyes to just the innate beauty that is a part of you and that you've been born into.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, girl, so good. And so I think you just have answered what I was about to ask you. But I want to, for clarity, ask you very clearly -- because this is going to be our last question. I do not want to miss this myself, nor do I want our listeners to miss this. Okay? So last question. Give us again your definition of true beauty and then give us just a very a practical piece of advice, very concrete, a way that we can find restoration from this broken beauty narrative. Like, do we need to go off Facebook? Do we need to turn off TV? Give us one practical way. But first, tell us your definition again of true beauty.

Melissa Johnson: So my definition is the life of God at work in us and among us. And so my -- this is going to be a -- I'll give a two-part one, a two-part tangible. Because I think part of it is turning down the cultural ideas around beauty. So, yes, maybe limiting time on social media, being careful of who you follow. Please don't follow the fit influencers or whatever, fitness influencers who are purposely trying to sell you a product.

And then part two of that is it's been decades that we've been inundated with this false idea of beauty. And so I think we need to work with our brain. What we know about our brains is what fires together, wires together. And so we need to start inundating ourselves with authentic beauty. Like, go outside and start noticing, like, where is the life of God at work in this day? Maybe it's the birds singing, or maybe it's the fact that you have breath in your lungs. Maybe your kids are laughing, and maybe the connection you see and the neighbors walking by. Where is God's life at work? And I would encourage us to start spending more head time and more heart time there, because that is going to be truly life giving, where the other kind of beauty is disintegrating, I would say, and promotes shame.

Jennifer Rothschild: Good words. Inundate yourself with true beauty. Focus on the beauty around you. Like, where is God's life at work? And then spend more head and heart time right there.

K.C. Wright: So when this podcast ends, go outside, breathe in the beauty, and then look in the mirror and remember, the same God who made the beauty you just beheld outside in the stars or the sunset or the laughter of a child is the same God who created you, his beautiful child, staring right back at you in the mirror.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep.

K.C. Wright: So don't let those broken messages of our culture be the boss. All right? You were made by God for God, and it is through him that you can be restored and live like the beautiful child he loves. There. So that's enough said, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, sir. Amen.

K.C. Wright: All right. Now, get her book. All right? Get it for you, for your teenager you love, or for someone in your life. And we're giving one away. Go to Jennifer's Insta @jennrothschild, or go straight to the Show Notes right now to get connected at

Jennifer Rothschild: Mm-hmm. That'll preach. This has been a good day. So remember what Melissa said. Limit who you follow on social media. If they're selling, perhaps you should consider taking a sabbatical from them and just focus on truth messages to rewrite that beauty narrative. You can, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you can.

K.C. Wright: And as a reminder, social media, that's just the highlight reel.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.

K.C. Wright: I mean, very rarely do you see someone on there going, "I'm about to pull my hair out."

Jennifer Rothschild: And this is me with no makeup.

K.C. Wright: Right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, yeah.

K.C. Wright: They got issues too.

Jennifer Rothschild: Everybody got issues.

K.C. Wright: Everybody's got issues. And if you think you don't have issues, well, then maybe that's your issue.

Jennifer Rothschild: That is your issue.


Go deeper into this week's question in my Bible Study Bistro Facebook group. There's a community of 4:13ers waiting for you!