15. true beauty

Beauty

Google the word and you get tons of images of models. Some dressed to the nines on the red carpet. Others showcasing the latest make-up trends (personal favorite of mine since I like to “dress-up” my eyes). A few are flaunting gorgeous hair.

After it’s all said and done and the airbrush and photo software is closed down for the day, you’re left with a perfectly normal person…who hasn’t had her body altered or “puffed up” in effort to make her more beautiful.

She is beautiful.

Just. As. She. Is.

A few weeks ago, this video made the news: a time-lapsed transformation of one model. That video has been all the rage and rightly so: It isn’t real. Make-up does the same thing (minus the photo-shop).

That is not the beauty I’m thankful for.

Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.
Psalm 45.11

I’m talking about the beauty of creation, the beauty that illuminates a person from the inside out, the greatest masterpiece he’s ever creation (you and me) and the beauty that can stem from the ashes of a lost life…the only beauty God supplies.

ColoradoHave you ever watched the sun set or rise, stood at the base of mountain or walked through a state park during the peak colors of autumn? I have and am still left in awe and wonder at the memory (or even the site since the latter is still fresh in my mind…just look to the right).

All of those things are reminders that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19.1). God is a great artist; there is no question about it.

But God’s greatest masterpiece isn’t some of the sunsets you may have had the privilege of seeing orFall Beauty the Rockies (as spectacular as they are), or the islands of Hawaii and Tahiti (as gorgeous and beautiful as they can be).

God’s greatest masterpiece of all creation is you. It’s me. Humanity is God’s greatest masterpiece.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2.10

The word “handiwork” could be translated “we are His work of art.” We are his poem; God’s masterpiece.

Man is God’s greatest creation. Man is his crowning masterpiece.

Psalm 139 declares this:

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. (vs. 13.14)

And God has a plan for his beautiful creation:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1.5

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter3.3-4

That’s what God wants to do for you.

That’s what God wants to do for me.

If he were to reveal exactly how much he loves you and me today, we would be overwhelmed. It would be devastating to think of the love He has for us in light of the way we behave sometimes.

And that’s where His Spirit comes in. As overwhelming as that can be some days, His Spirit is our glimpse into the future glory we will one day share with Jesus. It’s kind of like a down payment.

I’ve always been a fan of nature and can easily see the beauty in others, but when it comes to me, not so much. I am my own worst critic and when I’m not feeling particularly beautiful, my opinion of myself can sometimes get downright ugly.

When I look at my life, I don’t necessarily see rhythm, order, or beauty. I see chaos, flaws, and a lack of perfection. I see things that need to change; parts of myself that I hate.

Enter in the comparison battle most of us face:

Why can’t my legs look like hers?

I wish my eyes were bluer.

I wish I could get my hair to curl that way.

Can I even attain a somewhat agile athletic body like the girl on the treadmill next to mine? Maybe, if I work a little harder.

It can also swing the other way, to talents and giftings rather than the physical:

I wish my prayer life were more like Jane’s.

I wish I played like him.

I wish my voice could do that.

I should volunteer more. Jenny’s life seems so much fuller with the things that she does.

Why can’t I lead like John does?

Not to mention the fact that I used to seek out words of affirmation in those areas.

I have been learning that I don’t need those opinions or statements to get out of bed in the morning. God’s opinion is the only one that matters and as long as I see myself through his eyes and lean into his opinion of me, my self-depreciation doesn’t stand a chance. I still have my off days, but I’ve been learning to humbly love myself even more and that’s all due to God’s Spirit dwelling within me.

He says, “You are my work of art. You are my masterpiece.”

He’s looking at me and he alone sees what I will become. And boy, has he been changing, shaping and challenging me to grow from the inside out. He’s making all things new and has been in that line of work since the dawn of creation.

In the last two years, I’ve dropped a chunk of weight and have kept it off. My energy levels are that of a person in her late 20s, and on some days, I feel younger. My feet don’t ache at the end of a long day (perks of not working in retail or the food industry). I’m a size smaller than I was when I graduated high school. I’m happy with my curves and overall, I love my body for what it can do. It is God’s magnificent creation and He gave it to me. I simply have to be a good steward of it and take care of by being active and nourishing it with healthy food. And I love my hair, bad hair days and all. They’ve actually become quite the amusement factor during my morning routine and I’ve learned to enjoy find a little humor in the situation. God loves humor too, you know.

I’m learning to love and adore the woman I am becoming. I pray for a gentle and quiet spirit and the heart of a Proverbs 31 woman.

As I like to put it, I’m a W.I.P. (a “Work in Progress”). We all bear that sign and it’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take all of your life here on Earth and will not be completed until Jesus either calls you home or returns to take you there.

Once you get there, you’ll see the whole picture. All of this will make sense. You can even look back over your life to where you started and where you are now and situations that didn’t make sense at the time make sense now.

So that’s why God brought me through that season…I get it now!

This is one truth I’ve been learning to embrace – to see myself the way my Father sees me:

I

Am

Beautiful

I am His

So are you.

beauty

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