Hey Ladies! One thing I am passionate about over here at Fit for His Glory is helping women know and believe that TRUE beauty is found in Christ alone. Nothing and no one else will ever satisfy our hearts like His love! Each Tuesday we will hear from women who are on the journey to true beauty and the beautiful path that God is walking them down. I am so excited to hear their stories or redemption, grace, passion and persistence! I pray that this column encourages you to look more like Jesus every day and pursue His love over everything else!
I am so excited to have Gennean here with us today! She is a wild heart on a BEAUTIFUL adventure with Jesus! Read more from Gennean at http://blog.gennean.com/
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a girl who has struggled greatly with feelings of insecurity. I think that it all probably started back in elementary school when I was bullied, which, as a sensitive young girl, really crushed my confidence. Moving through middle and high school, I began noticing little quirky things about myself, like my goofy laugh and how easily I could cry. But what I noticed most was that my body didn’t look like my friends’. I wasn’t necessarily “skinny,” I didn’t have perfectly straight teeth, and I wasn’t the girl that had boys clamoring for her attention. From these situations, an “ugly duckling complex” was born, and I lived much of my teens (and even early twenties) believing that I was not pretty enough, talented enough, or desirable enough. Even after I made the life-changing decision to follow Jesus at seventeen, I continued to struggle with my self-confidence while at the same time being faced with a new reality: the truth that the Lord had deemed me worth the sacrifice of His Son, and that He was calling me to die to self and put Jesus first. Almost nine years after making that decision, as my faith journey has ebbed and flowed and His grace has been lavished abundantly, God has been faithful to rename and reclaim me, rebuilding my confidence to be rooted not in myself, but in Him.
Friend, If we were at coffee together, it would be at this moment that I would grab your hands tenderly, likely with a tear rolling down my cheek, and tell you that He desires to do the same for you. But since we can’t physically be together right now (maybe one day!), allow me to divulge with you some of the ways that the Lord has transformed my mind and my heart, helping me to find my identity in Him and ultimately see myself as He does:
Regarding Physical Beauty:
When it comes to my appearance, God has continually reminded me through His Word that He is the one who created me (Psalm 100:3), that He did so wonderfully (Psalm 139:14), that He knows everything about me (Luke 12:7), and that He is enthralled with my beauty (Psalm 45:11). I turn to these passages of Scripture often, particularly when I am feeling quite the opposite of what they tell me is true. I won’t sugarcoat this part: it’s definitely a daily battle to wake up and remind myself that I am beautiful - simply because He says so - when I just don’t feel like I am. But the fact remains that feelings are fleeting, and often misleading… yet the truth of His Word is everlasting, and because of that we can walk confidently with our heads up knowing that we are beautiful. Maybe not always by the world’s (unattainable and ridiculous) standards, but most certainly by His, which are the only ones that truly matter, anyway.
We all have certain likes, passions, gifts, and talents that seem to morph and mature as we get older; they are those things that take hold in our hearts and keep us up at night. They make up our personality, helping to define who we are as individuals, and ultimately point us toward the things we were created to do. Growing up, I always had this sense that I wasn’t very talented; I wasn’t necessarily musical, or athletic, or artsy (at least in the traditional sense). But when I started really reading my Bible and finding out more about God’s nature, I came to find that the gifts and passions that that I possess, while often different from others around me, were specifically chosen for me by God Himself (Romans 12:6-8). So, regardless of what I may have believed, I learned that my particular set of talents have great purpose, likely beyond what I can imagine. And if we know that God was the One who made us, we can be confident that He knew what gifts and talents to give each of us in order to live fruitful lives and, most importantly, bring Him all of the glory along the way (Isaiah 43:7).
Confession: I have always been sensitive, known as the one most likely to cry at a wedding or a touching commercial, and for a long time I thought that was a bad thing. I had come to believe that being so in touch with my emotions equated to weakness, and it wasn’t until I began rooting myself in the Gospel that I realized it was actually quite the opposite, particularly seeing how Jesus Himself felt things deeply. He had compassion and empathy toward others (Mark 1:40, Matthew 9:36, Mark 8:2). He felt anger toward spirits of religion (Mark 3:5, 11:17), and annoyance with his disciples when they lacked understanding (Mark 10:14). He experienced grief at Lazarus’ death (John 11:36-38), when He told His disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them (John 13:21), and when He was in the garden of Gethsemane, praying to His Father (Matthew 26:38). Jesus also knew joy (Luke 10:20-24), and He most certainly knew and was love (John 15:12-14). Jesus felt deeply, and yet He knew not to let His emotions completely control Him, and when we learn to follow the model His model of living, there is no reason for us to feel ashamed for being sensitive or in touch with our feelings. In fact, it may even be one of your spiritual gifts!
All For Freedom:
As God has faithfully been reclaiming my beauty and my worth, showing me that it’s all rooted in what He says about me, I have been reminded over and over that the thing that He desires for His kids is freedom. Real, life-giving freedom. Living in a culture of constant comparison, particularly with the use of social-media, it can be easy to get sidetracked in comparing ourselves with others, but God didn’t make us to look or be like this person or that person. He made me to be me and you to be you, and for each of us to live free from the traps of comparison, worry, and fear. In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed” (8:36), and I believe that He wants us to walk in that freedom as we follow Him. In that place, when our identities are rooted in Jesus alone, we will know who He has called us to be. And there we will be free, indeed.
Regardless of what you may look like, the gifts you may or may not have, or the things that make you feel like not enough, know this: true and lasting beauty is found solely in Jesus… in the life He lived, in the sacrifice He made on the Cross, and in His call to leave our lives and follow Him. He is the Giver of good things, and friend, when you commit to finding your identity in Him alone, you will begin to see yourself as He has always seen you: as truly and remarkably beautiful.
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