Conversation with Angela Thomas
Author of Do You Think I’m Beautiful? The Question
Every Woman Asks
Your book, surprisingly, doesn’t focus on
body image. If women aren’t asking, “Do you
think I’m beautiful?” in regard to their bodies,
then what are they asking about?
AT: I think the question is more about acceptance. The deeper ‘beautiful’ we long for is about being seen
and known deeply, but we often find ourselves looking
for that answer in every place but the right one. I know
because I have been there. Other people and some things
like career and education can give us a part of the answer,
but ultimately, the fullness of being called beautiful
can only come as a shout from God.
If this question is common to all women, when
do they first begin to ask?
AT: From my childhood, I began to realize that I could not
have anything in life that required me to be beautiful.
I understood almost instinctively that I should keep my
head down, study hard, try to do the right thing and,
maybe, life would turn out okay in the end. When no one
notices, we learn to pretend that it doesn’t matter.
But it matters and it has mattered from our earliest memories.
So many teenage girls struggle with feeling unlovely,
which sometimes leads to eating disorders, depression
and worse. How does it harm women to measure their value
by physical beauty?
AT: We are wired for relationship and we can’t help
it . . . we want others to validate what they see in us
or about us. But to believe that complete acceptance will
finally come from the words of a man or a society is harmful.
Apart from the truth of God’s love, we’ll
find ourselves spiritually impoverished. We become like
the prodigal son who has left his father to pursue pleasure
. . . eventually he finds himself empty, broke and almost
dead. But just like the prodigal, we can come to our senses
and watch the Father run to us with His wild love, assuring
us that He has always called us beautiful.
How do you see grown women, even Christian women,
trying to deal with this question?
Many of us pretend and many of us become functional addicts,
trying to drown out the voices in our heads that tell
us we are unworthy and unlovely. A woman might have one
glass of wine for dinner, but the rest of the bottle after
everyone is gone. Reasonable shopping out with the girls,
but reckless spending later via catalogs. Responsible
Internet use with the children, but late nights in chat
rooms with inappropriate discussions. We smile a lot,
dance around it, hide the pain with some forms of pleasure.
But soon the pleasure is gone. The thrill is gone. The
desire is gone. And we are still left with the question,
Where does the desire for beauty originate? Is
it merely a cultural phenomenon in our Western world?
AT: I truly believe that the longing to be known as beautiful
is part of our design as women. God put us together this
way on purpose. I have been talking to women, discussing
this idea. I have been in meetings with some of the most
brilliant women I’ve ever known. Women who run companies,
dress like someone out of Vogue magazine, have engaging
relational skills, and just plain intimidate every other
woman they meet. Even these women are haunted by the question
(Am I beautiful?).
There will be women who hear you and think, “I
don’t even ask—I know I’m not beautiful.” What do you say to these women?
AT: Me too. Or at least that used to be me. But what I most
want to tell these women is that God calls them beautiful;
He is enthralled with their beauty. I am telling you that
the God of Heaven and earth is wild about you! He’s
smitten, He’s consumed, He’s so taken with
you! Let Him make you captivating. How much more of your
life do you want to pass?
Angela, do you think you’re beautiful?
I finally know for sure what God says about me. He calls
publicity information or interviews with Angela Thomas,
contact: Pamela McClure, 615.595.8321, email@example.com