"Imagine this: You just painted the most beautiful picture
you have ever painted. It is exactly what you wanted. You absolutely
love it! The person you give it to constantly points out the flaws.
How does that make you feel?
God is the painter and you are the person it has been
given to. It breaks God's heart when you constantly criticize
yourself, because he made you perfect. You are absolutely
beautiful in His eyes."
As girls and women of every age, we go through times- maybe even all the time- where we focus on what we wish was different about our appearance and we let that dominate our thinking. We pick ourselves apart and criticize ourselves, whether it be our bodies or our faces. Although I can't say that I don't have times like that, reading this caused me to think of myself in a different way. What a redefined view we can have when we think of ourselves this way and think of our physical characteristics and appearance as a part of God's love in creating us.... we should think of ourselves as a masterpiece He created, a fine painting He took pride in forming.
I love to draw and paint and I know how much it would hurt if someone opened my sketchbook or my portfolio from high school and thought my work was ugly. My feelings would be so hurt. Thinking of it this way with God as the artist makes me realize the way God must feel each time we look in the mirror and think about how ugly we feel. It may be our nose, our eye color, a blemish or birthmark, or anything we feel would be so much more beautiful if it were changed.
. . .
"You are beautiful, for you are fearfully and
. . .
This is a struggle that is difficult to battle, but trusting God in the way we are made and that He made us perfectly- maybe not in our eyes, but in His- helps so much To God, we are beautiful creations!
I'm thankful for the way God brings me back to reality when I do start to get set into thinking of disliking something about myself. He has worked in my heart to better me in this way, bringing thoughts to mind when I start to feel that way that awaken me to the several reasons why I shouldn't be doing that.... The first reason is that is insulting to Him because each one of us is His beautiful masterpiece, and the second- which has become profound in my life as I've gotten older- is realizing how selfish it is to stare in the mirror and dwell on things I want to change when there are people suffering and going through things a million times worse than something SO trivial as what I am focusing on...
This is particularly evident to me when I read stories about people who are suffering from diseases, who are sick with an illness, who have terminal cancers, those who were born with severe disabilities... This comes to mind and quickly stirs my heart toward things that matter instead of thoughts about such menial things as physical appearance.
Over the summer, I had a moment that awakened me to this especially, a day I will never forget because I saw something that made me feel sadness and heartache like I don't think I ever had... because I'd never seen anyone in that condition before. It was a few days before my Aunt passed away when we visited her in the hospital. The last time I had seen her before this, before her cancer, she had looked the way I always knew her to look my whole life. I walked into that room in the ICU that day and I saw someone I didn't recognize. I saw someone who was suffering, someone in a coma, who couldn't breathe on her own, someone with no hair, who was in the hardest fight of her life and had been so courageous. To see her that way made me feel weak, literally, and I'm so effected by things like this, but never had I been so much before... so much so that I had to go sit outside and just step away for a moment before I came back. I've never been that shocked before in my life. I remember leaving and not thinking about a whole lot after seeing what I saw, but I do remember being on the ride home and thinking of how she and millions of other countless people at that moment were fighting to just breathe, to stay alive. It was extremely jolting to me and made me feel compelled to make a conscious effort to focus on what really matters in life, which is definitely NOT thinking about my "flaws". I prayed that I would leave those things, like dwelling on appearance, behind as much as I had the power to.
This and other moments have increased the awareness of this inside me, but that one most of all. God has worked in the deepest parts of my heart in this through this and other situations and I am making the greatest effort I ever have to put away my feelings about petty things like that, to not just be okay with how God made me, but to reach toward being appreciative of how He made me, being thankful for- instead of criticizing- His work that is me.
Recently, I was blessed to watch a faith-inspired video from my sweet friend, Grace, who blogs at His Daughter. It focuses on just this and was a light for me. She is a blessing in reminding us that we are perfectly made, because GOD DOESN'T MAKE MISTAKES.
In her video, Grace talks about comparing herself with her sister. This is something that is easy to do, comparing ourselves with those around us most, our sisters, cousins, our friends. Picking our physical appearance apart could come not from feeling unattractive or ugly, but just from feeling like we stick out negatively because we are different from others around us...
I remember feeling embarrassed sometimes when I was younger about being so pale while all of my friends had tan skin. I sometimes wished I was tan like them. I have about twenty cousins and out of all of us, my cousin Jennifer, who passed away when I was little, and I were the only ones with fair skin and blue eyes. Almost everyone has tan skin and dark eyes and I felt a little different. Sometimes even small things like simple differences can make us feel more self-aware. I eventually came to realize that having a different skin tone and different features made me unique and it had to be a good thing because that was how God decided to make me.
If you can't stop focusing on the things you don't like about your face, your body, anything- whether it is because you don't like something about your appearance or because you feel "different" from others, direct your focus instead on remembering this...
"You are a masterpiece, sewn together by the
hands of an almighty God."
You will be changed when you purpose to think this way, and so will your relationship and your walk with God.
It isn't an easy thing to overcome, but with God's help we can get closer to having a changed attitude about ourselves and our worth in Him mattering more than anything.
Pray to God and ask Him to work in your heart. He will! He is concerned over even the things you may feel are small because He cares for you.
I may not be perfect at this, but God working in me to make the greatest effort I can to stop criticizing His work is nothing short of a blessing.
Have a wonderful weekend♥