It's nearly here!! The conference I have been daydreaming about and wondering if I should to to for over a year, is finally nearly here. I leave in two days. Crazy. And the last two weeks have been all about, you guessed it, getting ready. Writing talks, shopping for clothes, deciding on which luggage to use, praying (yea, I know that should have been listed first), making lists, planning for the childcare and provisions in my absence, etc and yadda yadda, has been my overriding focus for days and days. But by far the aspect of preparation that has taken the most of my thought life lately is the aspect of appearance. We, as conference attendees, have been lovingly guided in the area of appearance, dress, shoes, and the like. I doubt that I am alone in "wigging out" over it just a little bit. As part of my experience at She Speaks, I was instructed to compose a five-minute "teaching talk". This is a modified version of that talk. If you are going to be in my evaluation group at the conference, stop reading now. You'll be hearing this live and in person on Saturday night! Everyone else, read on...
For example, getting back to my appearance, I’ve got a box of hair color that is going unused before this conference. Don’t get me wrong, I love to color my hair, but I decided that perhaps the completely natural hair color was a better compliment to my summer tan. I will, however, before packing my bag and getting on the plane, make certain that my eyebrows are under control, that I have picked just the right bra, that the razor has a sharp blade, that my makeup is new enough to wear well in fluorescent light, and that I have not forgotten my straightening iron and hairspray. Just to name a few beauty rituals to which I adhere. I’m no beauty queen, but I do like to look as good as I can.
And yet, somehow, when I look in the mirror, I often do not like the reflection looking back at me. I see the imprints of time on my face, I see stray eyebrow hairs that simply have no place, I see crooked teeth, and I see acne. And don’t even get me started on the post- 6 babies and 4 c-sections body issues I have going on below my neckline. That’s a whole ‘nother story all together. The point is, when I look in the mirror, I see everything I believe is wrong with my appearance, and I wonder if God was in His right mind when he created Shelly Story.
And I don’t think I am alone. I don’t believe that I am the only woman who still remembers getting passed over for the cute cheerleader at the junior high dance. I don’t think I am the only woman who secretly compares herself to the cover models of every magazine in the checkout lane, then walks away feeling like she looks like a dog, and immediately dives into the ice cream. I don’t believe I am the only woman influenced by her perception of earthly beauty, who wants to look as good as she believes everyone else does, but who never will.
It’s all wrong, but we still do it. We are modern, 21st century American women, living in a society that puts a stamp of worth on our physical appearance, and we compare, cream, wax, tweeze, suck it in, pull on our faces in the mirror, and doubt our beauty. And in doubting our beauty, we doubt our worth.
We’ve all heard the quote “God don’t make no junk!” but I like to say it a little differently to my children. I nearly daily remind them that God made you the way He wants you. And I am saying it to you right now. He made you the way He wants you. There are no accidents in God’s creation. There are no imperfections in His design. Oh, sure, He may have given us all our fair share of human imperfections, but I believe that is only because without them, we would not need Him. We cannot follow and reflect God’s son if we are not humble enough to need Him. Our imperfections are perfect gifts, and are part of a perfect design.
Psalm 139 verses 13-16 are verses we have all heard before, but I’d ask you to read with fresh eyes the message of self-worth contained within…For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers’ womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
My dear sisters, God knows you. He watched your creation. He tended to your design. He chose your eye color, your height, your complexion, your bra size, and your waistline. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. And so am I. Jesus Himself tells us in Luke 12 verse 7 that, Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
No matter what we look like, no matter how we dress, no matter how we think we size up against the gal next to us, our worth is precious to God. We are His design, created in His image and under His watchful eye, and nothing can take that away from us. Trust Him with that truth today. Look into the mirror and examine afresh the handiwork of God. Recognize yourself as His creation, uniquely made, perfectly imperfect, and loved by Him. God made you the way He wants you. To Him be all the glory.
Dear Father, we know that we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made, and we know that there are no imperfections in your design. Thank you for loving us so much to attend to our creation. Help us to see our worth in Your sight, not the sight of our times. May we rest in your truths today. Amen