There is beauty everywhere, but so often we look through the eyes of the world, and we simply miss it...or maybe dismiss this beauty because it does not seem to hold up to the standards that our society has created. But what if we take the words of Romans 12: 1-2 seriously and we get serious about not conforming to the patterns of this world, but instead, we let our minds be transformed by the Spirit. What if we allow God to bend and mold us, what if we allow Him to touch our eyes so that we might see again in new light, what if we prepare our hearts to be astounded by what He has created? What if we become astounded by ourselves, not with a sense of selfish pride, but with heartbeats of gratitude? What if we let God's Word lavish our souls with wonder and amazement? What if we believe Him when He tells us that we are beautiful and that we are His?
The lovely Kendal Privette will kick-off the guest posts for this new series next week, but I thought I'd write about about my own stories when God told me I was beautiful. They aren't particularly poignant, but perhaps they will resonate with you in some way.
Here's the thing about me. I can walk around with my hair undone and no make-up. I can even vlog this way and it doesn't bother me. But don't ask me to wear shorts when I run. I've been in a love/hate relationship with my legs ever since I became a runner. I love my legs because they have endured a lot. Training, races, injuries. But, you see, I also have high expectations. If I have run a marathon, I expect my legs to look as though they have run a marathon. I don't think this is too much to ask. I've done the work. I've put in the time. And yet, I still have flab. I still have cellulite. I still feel the jiggles. And this is the reason why I have major indecision when the only running clothes I have left to wear are my shorts. Do I run feeling naked and exposed or do I just not run?
But just last week, I had this crazy desire to wear my shorts. Strangely, this desire was not born because I woke up and no longer had jiggly, cellulite-laden legs. No, all divots and extraneous fat pockets were still in place. But somewhere along the way, God must have changed my heart without me noticing. Because there, as I knelt down in front of my running garments, I chose the shorts over the clean tights, capris, and skirts.
All along the run, I had moments when cars would pass and I would concern myself with how far the shorts were riding up. And I'd glance down a time or two to see if the sun was highlighting the cottage cheese on the front of my legs. But each time, I heard God's loud voice say to me this:
"It doesn't matter, Jen. You are running and you are beautiful."
And each time I heard that, I would repeat it back to myself. I am running. I am beautiful.
During those miles of pounding pavement, I saw how I had let my flaws determine my actions and my inactions. It hasn't just been in realms of the physical. I've been there in the spiritual world, as well.
I often have pled with God to please take away my competitive spirit. I honestly could not find one redeeming quality about it and saw only how it easily led me down the path to pride, envy, and dissatisfaction. My good friend, Michelle, tried to open my eyes to the fact that God gave me this spirit for a reason, but I wouldn't believer her. I just wanted to shut it off because all I could see were the downsides of having it.
One day in my closet as I was getting dressed, I heard Him address me about what I felt was my fatal flaw:
I gave you this spirit, Jen. And I gave it to you because it compels you to fight. Yes, you've used it to fight some of the wrong battles, but I want you to see something: If you didn't have it, you wouldn't confront the darkness like you do.
Would I, in this realm, too, choose not to run with light to the darkness, because all I could see were my flaws?
It's beautiful to bring light to the darkness. It's beautiful to not succumb to the enemy. It's beautiful to wield the sword of the spirt, to open the closet doors of our hearts -- the places where we store our fear and our anger and our crutches -- and expose them to God's amazing light.
It is beautiful to run with and for the things He has given us. Let us not let extraneous voices trump God's vision of us and for us. Our flaws are not what define us. Only He does.
Oh, I so hope you'll journey with us over the next few months as we listen to our sisters' stories of times when God has told them they were beautiful. If you for one moment think that God would never tell you that, I want you to know that you are wrong. All of us, at one time or another, have refused to believe truth, but the point of this series is to show that we don't have to listen to lies. We can be inspired by each other's willingness to let truth speak louder than lies. And we can start to believe the truth ourselves.
Do you have a story to share? Contact me at jenfergie2000 @ me. com.