Wednesday, March 13, 2013

beheld in a different Light: Tame the Critic


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?
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Recently my husband and I were flipping channels during one of our rare evenings of quiet. Kevin stopped on “The Newlywed Game,” right around the time the host asked the question “When was your wife at her most beautiful?” 

If you’re not familiar with this particular game show (and I can’t believe I am admitting I am familiar with this particular game show!), the basic premise is while one spouse is sequestered, the other answers the question. Then the sequestered spouse comes back out and tries to answer the question the same way their beloved did, in an effort to score the most points and see which couple is the most in sync.

My husband asked me how I would  answer the question “When was I at my most beautiful?”  I think I shocked him when I told him I would say right now. He agreed (smart man!), but was surprised given how much I have struggled with my self-esteem, in particular with my appearance, over the years.

I haven’t always thought I am beautiful. And the truth is, when I look in the mirror most days I still have a hard time defining myself as such. Like most women, I am my harshest critic.

But I am learning that rather than assess myself and my appearance by what I see, to do so through the lenses of the One who created me.

Several years ago I struggled with obsessive dieting and overeating. My whole life was arranged around what I could or couldn’t eat, how much I would eat, and when.  I wanted desperately to weigh a specific number, and until I reached it, I felt defeated. And ugly.

In all honesty, I still have my moments.  It’s hard not to compare yourself against the standards our culture has set up for us. But one day during the worst of that season, I started studying Psalm 139. As I read verses 13-16, I allowed the truth of what they spoke sink in.

God ‘s creation is worthy of praise.

God’s creation is fearfully and wonderfully made.

God delights in His creation and has a plan for it.

And I am God’s creation.

He delights in me. He took the time to create me with great care and attention to detail because He wanted to.  He has a plan for me.

And He thinks I am beautiful.

As those truths have settled into my heart, I’ve begun to stop measuring my beauty by the colour of my eyes or hair, by the softness of my skin, by the number on the scale, and instead have begun to measure my beauty by how God sees me and the plans He has worked out so far in my life.

The passion He gives me for preschoolers.

The birth and raising of each of our four kids.

The relationships in my life – my marriage, my family, my friendships.

Each day of my 37 years has been written and recorded, even before I lived one single moment of them. The story of each of these days has shaped me and formed me into the woman I am today. It shows up in the laugh lines around my eyes and the worry lines around my mouth, in the stretch marks on my belly, in the aging of my hands, even the pop and protest of my bad knee.

I am beautiful because I am His beloved daughter.

And you know what?

So are you.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. Psalm 139-13-14, NIV


Ladies, let's end this post with some encouragement in the comments.  When you look in the mirror or into your life, instead of seeing the flaws, let's look for beauty.  What do you see that God did?


Andrea is a sleep-deprived wife and mom of four with a passion for Jesus. She has been a working mom, a work-at-home mom, and, more recently, a stay-at-home-mom to two girls and two boys: one teenager, two tweens, and a surprise baby.  Even still, she has yet to figure this mom thing out. Andrea is passionate about community, living authentically, and choosing joy. When she’s not running kids to sports practices, piano practices, and keeping the baby out of the dog’s food, she writes about her journey with Jesus with in an effort to encourage other moms trying to survive. Or at least get through the day on minimal amounts of coffee. (FYI: She also loves coffee.) You can connect with her at her blog Under Grace & Over Coffee.

11 comments :

  1. My "go to" verse for when I am struggling in this area is Psalms 45:11 (NIV '84):

    "The King is enthralled with your beauty. Honor Him, for He is your life."

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  2. Very encouraging. I think our problem is with our definition of "beautiful." Who is to say what that means, really? Even in society the definition has changed over the years and throughout history. Beautiful is an attitude and if a girl finds her worth in the God who created her perfectly, she walks in the beauty of feeling loved just like you said :)

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  3. Great words, friend. I love Gaby's comment above, I think she is right on.

    We put so much stock in beauty. We base many (if not all) decisions on appearances. From produce, to paint colors for our home, to our cars, clothes, furniture to what seems to be the best deal for us. I definitely think we all have our own idea of what's beautiful. When I have a bad hair day I don't feel good about how I look.

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  4. "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Prov. 31:30. Amen! Thanks for sharing, An!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this. I struggle somewhat with the whole ' in the world but not of the world' thing. As in when does self respect end and vanity begin. However, you are so right, I am as God chose to create me, wonderfully made and made for his purposes. I thought of Romans 12 and this is how it reads in the Message ,Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.'

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  6. "have begun to measure my beauty by how God sees me...." This is a great challenge and encouragement. I've really been struggling with this, particularly this week, so thank you for your post. Love you girl!

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  7. I struggle with this issue many days. Accepting myself, just as God created me. Everything God created is beautiful! God created me, so therefore, I am beautiful in His eyes! I am going to pose this question to my husband tonight to see what he thinks (hope he's a smart man!), if we have a chance to sit down together for a few quiet minutes?!?!? Thanks Andrea for your perspective! I needed to hear this today!

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  8. Hey lady....thanks for yet another timely and beautifully written post. Oh! How I have been struggling with this lately!! I was going to start listing in this comment, but I think I need a few moments to journal the question, what do I see that God did?? Thanks for the prompt! Blessings my friend!

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  9. Andrea! I love seeing you here - your pretty smile and your beautiful heart. Thank you for the way you expose truth here. I need to meditate on those last two lines, "Your works are wonderful, I know that full well," so that I can live it out. ALL his works are wonderful, and I KNOW that - full well, even! Wonderful post.

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  10. I enjoyed reading your post, Andrea. You're beautiful inside and out! We must see ourselves as God sees us. Our identity is in Christ. Loved. Redeemed. Treasured. We all are beautiful princesses in God's eyes :)!

    ~Urailak (A)

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