Friday, September 14, 2018

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder...

My daughter recently taught me about "Snapchat" filters. She had taught me about them a couple years ago, but I tend to fill my phones memory up, which means apps that aren't really "necessary" will be deleted...and "Snapchat" was one of them that went first. When she began teaching me about it this time I got so excited to see the difference in the pictures of me with a filter, believe me there is a HUGE difference. I am not a stranger to filters with the cell camera, my daughter taught me all kinds of tricks going back more than 10 years ago. From the angle of the camera, to how to create a softer look, honestly I used to always make sure my "beauty" enhancer was set to the maximum level, at all times. There wasn't a picture I took that didn't have some kind of "help"... ever. I learned how to take a picture from above me, that it cuts the double chin and hides most of me...which brings me to exactly what God's been working on me with lately. Things I think I'm hiding, maybe I am actually hiding, from the world anyways. They are not hidden from God however...never could I hide one single thing, not one. He reminds me of this in Psalm 139:1-3... 

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, 
And are acquainted with all my ways.

So, while I can fool people, I can not fool God. For a good portion of my life I hid from God. I wanted to make sure that those who were on the outside of me and my life saw it one way...perfect. I fought for the darkest parts of me to stay in the dark. For a long time that worked, but God...He doesn't give up on anyone, even me. He wants all His children with Him...He doesn't want to lose one of us. So when I heard Him and chose to listen and give Him the broken pieces...He brought His perfect peace and began to show me that when I am hiding my flaws, like lines, extra weight, or the scars of acne, I am trying to hide the things that make His creation, It is like a slap in the face to my Creator, my Poppa, my Savior. This has been such a struggle for me to learn, it is something that I have picked up, over and over. God however will not leave me in that pit. He reminds me that He has a purpose for each of struggles He walks me through...that the struggles build my faith and faith builds my character. 

While those lost in this world will tell us that beauty is the most important thing...God teaches us a couple of things, first that beauty is in the eye of the Beholder...which for me, is God. The second thing He is teaching me is that beauty is more than skin fact the beauty He created in me is so much more than the human eye can imagine. He created me so He could reach so many different kinds of people...He didn't create me to simply be happy with looking at a beautiful woman in the mirror. He created me for Himself, He made me to fit in with Him...not the world. In John 16:33, He tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but Jesus has already overcome the world. That simple truth right there, well it is all the hope I will ever need...He overcame this world so that I can have an intimate relationship with that I will know that through Him I can do anything.

I know that I've shared about the journey He's been walking me through with letting go...He started quite awhile ago, but I finally understood a bit better in about December 2014, when He opened the door to the Biggest Loser challenge that began Jan 2015. He walked, ran and danced about 120 pounds off me in less than a year. I walked that road faithfully for almost 2 years, then stumbled a bit and slowly but surely a bit of the weight had crept back on. Actually, I had fallen back into the thought process that told me "it's ok to eat that, it wont hurt to have a bit..." or "why shouldn't you enjoy that, everyone else is" and even "well you already ate that, so you might as well have this too." At first the battle was easy to win, I simply asked God to take the cravings away...then I started to try to do this on my own, in my own strength. Before I knew it I was right back into my old habits. My jeans were tight, my belly was back a bit and I was feeling a lot like I did at almost 330 pounds, though I was far from it, my thoughts started attacking me again, quickly.

But God...He knew I had slid off His path again...He patiently waited until He knew I would listen to His whisper and He gently reminded me that having the weight off meant so much more than being was so much more comfortable for held a peace I hadn't known in a long time. It is less about the weight and so much more about living in God's will...He knows that I fall prey to thoughts that tear me apart, they shred whatever love God gives me for me and the words I then speak to me and over me, well they're words I wouldn't speak to anyone else. That is why He gently pushes me to keep moving forward...because He loves me...a whole lot. I finally surrendered and gave Him my battle with the food and I began working out favorite actually, Zumba in my living room. Then He one day I took a picture after working out and I looked at it and thought..."look how old I am???" Just then He whispered to me...deep in my soul...

He brought this truth to me again...

                        Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Proverbs 31:30

Then He showed me what He sees when He looks at me...He did this in this picture...

This close up of my right eye...all the lines, the freckles and the age spots...I looked at it first and thought "how is this beautiful, look at all the other women that have no freckles, and no age spots...they have smooth skin with no sagging eyelids and they are not old looking???" Just then He whispered "look how much love is in that eye...the wisdom and empathy...the warrior and gentleness...the princess I created from dust. Those lines are lines that led you right to my perfect Grace...outer beauty is only skin deep...but beauty from faith, well that goes ALL the way through!!! Satan's minions are trying to distract, divide and destroy...but I have walked you into this battle to show you how much you have learned already...don't let the lies distract you. Don't let the whisper of comparison divide you and definitely don't let them destroy all that I have taught you!! Pick up your weapons...the sword of truth and put on your armor...the battle is won, don't be fooled!!"  

This reminder is just what I needed. God doesn't see those lines, freckles or scars as bad...He sees them as me.

So if you are battling the lie that you are not enough, that you don't look as beautiful as others, or seeing all the flaws that the devil's minions are trying to get your attention with...please stop, breathe in and go to this verse...

Don't be lured into the 3 D's...battle them with the whole TRUTH...take your struggles to God, put on the Armor of the LORD, pick of His Sword of Truth and then keep walking with Jesus...let Him show you who you are...let Him show you what you look the mirror of His eyes. We have enough to deal with without worrying about who looks prettier than us...or how many wrinkles we have...God's beauty is not skin is ALL the way through. 

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