I was thinking about a friend today.
While she certainly isn’t beautiful by the world’s standards, I am captivated by her- for one simple reason. She is more comfortable in her skin than anyone I have ever met. And in my eyes, that makes her beautiful.
Most of us, (even those who refuse to admit it) style our hair and choose our clothing based on some concern for how we appear to others, i.e. what other people think. Not her. Her philosophy is, “This is the way I look. Take it or leave it.” And she really, really means it. Not in a ill-tempered hissy fit sort of way, just purely a matter of fact. Should you choose to “leave her” instead of get to know her, it is definitely your loss.
There are many things I treasure and admire about her, but her total confidence in whom she is; her appearance, her calm assurance while dealing with a personal health crisis, and her faith and resilience upon the death of a child all amaze me. She shares the same attitude as my seven year old granddaughter who when urged by the doctor to try and gain a little weight replied, “God made me this way and that’s the way He likes me!” You can’t imagine the number of times these words have echoed in my ears.
Why don’t I have that same self assurance? If God the Father, the author and Creator of all things, felt that I should be short of stature and “curvy” why do I long for a few more inches of length – especially in the legs. Why? Because the WORLD declares tall, thin and semi-shapeless women are best and to prove it, all clothing is designed to look best on that figure silhouette. And then the media is saturated with women appearing to have starved themselves to achieve the look. Airbrushed and photo-shopped images of celebrities proclaim the illusion of their perfection. Then we believe it.
I don’t need to bash the fashion industry. Plenty of folks have already taken care of that. I’m talking about me. Me having the self-assurance, the confidence, the faith to boldly declare to myself, “This is how God made me. If He looked upon me and was pleased – how can I argue?” Perhaps I suffer from the same delusion as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time. Their expectations were not met. The Jesus who came was not the Jesus they expected OR wanted. God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life sent His precious son. Not an agent, not a front man, not an angel but Jesus; divinity wrapped in humanity to save the world. But that wasn’t what the religious elite wanted. He didn’t look like, act like, talk like anything that could possibly be a Messiah. And in their disappointment – they missed HIM.
Father, don’t let me miss a blessing or an opportunity because it didn’t look like I wanted or because I don’t look like I think I should. Help me to be truly comfortable in my own skin; curves, freckles (are those age spots?), wrinkles and all. Thank you that I don’t obsess about it as I did in my youth, but free me from any concerns about how I was created. Remind me that in your eyes – “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” I ask you to free this generation of women from the seduction of body image. Speak to their hearts and minds reminding them they are Yours, perfectly created for your divine purposes. Raise up an army of women comfortable in their own skin. Self-assured, confident, faithful and ready to serve You. Let us redefine beauty in Your terms and walk in the same confidence as my friend.
In His Grace,