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?
Due to a sneaky loss of perspective in my mid-thirties I found myself sitting across from a psychologist or physician several times a month for five years. I had forgotten God (and me) and sought only thin until I was too sick to fix myself and had to have help. One of a psychologist’s most memorable questions was, “When did you first stop thinking of yourself as pretty?”
I gave him my best sixth-grader-eye-roll-and-snort. “I’ve never thought of myself as pretty.” He looked surprised, but I found the question ridiculous. I mean, I liked myself until I was about ten, but in a more general way than beauty – my abilities in ballet, tree-climbing and reading bolstered my confidence. As I became aware of the world’s measures of beauty and accomplishment, my self-esteem plummeted - the scrawniness, mousy hair, glasses, braces, old jeans and generic sneakers worked together to tell me that I didn’t measure up. Pretty? Not by a long-shot.
At age thirty-five, I began listening to someone who defined pretty for me. This little voice (ED, for eating disorder) started as a whisper but quickly became a shout. He told me that if I just lost five pounds I would be prettier. I would measure up. I would be better than others. But five pounds went and I was still ugly. And five more pounds went and I was still dissatisfied with myself. In fact, I was miserable. I hadn’t particularly liked myself (inside or out) before I lost the weight, and I certainly didn’t like the woman I had become.
I can honestly say that now, I have a positive relationship with myself. No, I didn’t have plastic surgery. I haven’t had a skin or hair transplant. But yeah. I like what I see most of the time. I don’t automatically think ugly when I look in the mirror. And inside? I have grown into a stronger, more confident woman of God over the last eight years. How? I changed to whom I listened. I trained myself to ignore ED and the world and began listening to my husband, my doctors and God. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. If the creator of the universe made me, I not only possess some sort of beauty, but I am calling God a liar when I call myself ugly. My husband has been telling me for more than twenty years that I am beautiful, and once I believed God, I began to believe Chris. I used to obsess over my weight, my looks, my clothes, my mistakes, but believing God, really believing him, has freed my mind for much more healthy and important ideas.
How often do you feel disappointed in yourself? How many minutes of your day are spent lamenting about earthly measures? Freedom can be yours. Start listening to truth. You are wonderfully and fearfully made. I know that full well.