Friday, September 30, 2011

I Am What I Am

Wednesday night as I was putting Levi, my 3 year old, to bed he asked me, "When I get big will I turn into another person?" Deep thinker, this little man of mine.

Funny how God uses thoughts from Levi to speak to things I have been pondering. In this case, I'd been thinking that when God created me, He had a vision of exactly who I was, am, and would be. Even though I am marred by sin and in a fallen condition, I can rest in who He made me to be.

There are a lot of things that I struggle to accept/like about myself that are not at all related to sin. Many of them are part of the design of how God made me. Physically, I am short and have a small frame and am weak. I don't like that. I want to be taller, larger, and strong. While I can take care of my body and workout to get stronger (and I do), I can't change the height or petite frame or even make much of an impact on the strength factor. This is how God made my body; it was His plan for me.

I'm pretty sure that nearly every woman in American can relate to my struggles. Most of us don't fit the body image presented to us by our culture. I have wished at times that God had shaped me differently. You know, a little more here, a little less there, maybe some abs of steel would be nice too. Have you ever looked at some of those Renaissance paintings of beautiful women (rounder, heavier, and paler than today's magazine covers) and knew you missed that perfect time period?

However, I'm learning to like me like He made me. I'm learning to drop the comparisons. I can't be her and she can't be me. Guarding my media choices helps, but the real work has to go deeper than that. I can't go hide in a cave with posters from the Renaissance to feel better about myself. The real work has to be an inside job.

And that inside job can't be only about me trying to feel better about myself. A friend of mine recently stated, "We have low self-esteem because we think we are so much better than we are. When we prove we are not as perfect as we thought, we beat ourselves up about it. And then we call it low self-esteem."

My focus must move from what I look like on the outside to being the person God has created me to be within. My main purpose (as is yours) is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. True beauty is something that radiates from within. When God works compassion and gentleness in my heart, then I am beautiful. When I share His goodness with others, then I am radiating His light and life and loveliness. And there is no supermodel or Venus who can outshine a woman who is reflecting the love of Jesus Christ.

Thank you Father for what you are teaching me about real beauty. Thank you for all the living examples You placed in my life that have this beauty within. Specifically, I thank you for my mom, my Aunt Mamie, and the friends You have given me that reflect your glory and beauty. 

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