Monday, March 16, 2015

Beauty, Brains, and Self-worth...or the lack thereof.

I had an a-ha moment a few months back that God does not look at me the way I look at myself. God doesn't look at me and say, "you're ugly," "you're not smart," "you're not worth knowing or loving," "you will never overcome the things that hold you back," "you will always live with regrets because you don't know how to move forward and you will never figure out how..." And a whole myriad of other things I think about myself. The fact is, God designed me and because He is perfect I think He must have been pretty happy about how He made me. Is it wrong for me to look at myself as part of God's creation and say, "you're a screw-up...there's nothing good about you?" Isn't that finding fault with God's sovereign choices to give me the appearance that I have and the personality and mind that I have? I know that I have the ability to change a lot of things about myself. My weight, my style, my activities, and so on and so forth. However, I can't change the person I am. I can't make myself be interested in things that I'm not naturally interested in. I can study them and appreciate them for what they are but they won't make me feel animated or excited. I can work out, diet, and change my hair color and learn to apply makeup really well, but I'll always be 5'2, and I'll likely always be pear-shaped, and it will take me some time to do even basic math. I will always have naturally curly hair and my face will always be a bit asymmetrical and I'll be much more interested in dancing than in playing a sport.

I know we all struggle with accepting who we are.  Maybe we believe that if we aren't constantly working on improving ourselves it means that we are vain or lazy. Some days I feel strong and happy. Some days I can't stand looking at myself and avoid mirrors. Sometimes I can't eat in front of people because it makes me anxious. I feel inferior when I don't look the way I believe my culture says I should look. I feel like I need to be ashamed of my appearance and my personality too sometimes. But I want to challenge myself to stop living by the standards of my culture and to hold myself to a standard of godliness. It's not godly to be so dissatisfied with who God made me to be. I can't look at myself and tell God that He made a big mistake on me. If He saw fit to make me and He loves me then I need to start honoring that and ask Him to teach me to humbly appreciate and enjoy myself. How can I give my appearance and my personality back to Him in thanks?

That whole thought is difficult for me to put into words and I wish I could express my thoughts more eloquently. But I guess I'll just say that I ended up taking the above photo of myself and looked at it honestly and thought to myself that I must be pretty. Not because I look like I belong on a magazine cover or in a movie and not because I can compare myself to other girls and rate myself as more or less attractive. I must be pretty because when I erase all the standards set up for me to achieve and only view myself as part of God's creation I realize that I was made in the image of a glorious creator. I bear His image. I'm part of His beautiful earth. When I remove the opinions of the masses and focus only on the opinion of the most important being in eternity He says I'm good enough for Him. I cannot ever figure out why I struggle to let that be enough to allow me to be happy with myself. Whose opinion am I valuing more than God's?

If you happen to read this and you share this struggle with me, know that you're pretty or handsome. You're beautiful. Not because I think so, (though I'm sure I would if I knew who you were) but because you were made in the image of the most glorious God. He designed you and He doesn't make mistakes. I feel pretty sure that God looks at us and thinks we're pretty. Because unlike me He doesn't make something and sit back and mock it or exploit how bad it is. However imperfect my understanding of God is I do know that He loves His creation. It's in the Bible.

He loves me. And He loves you too.

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