I have always wanted green eyes instead of my blue eyes.
Some days I want ultra straight hair instead of my curly hair.
I want to have 20/20 vision, not wear glasses.
I wish that I could run a mile without getting short of breath like most of my friends can.
I want straight and pearly whites.
I don't want to be single (some days).
If we are being honest, who hasn't wanted to change something about themselves. If I asked you to think about, I'm sure it wouldn't take you long to think of something that you would change about yourself. No matter how big or small, it is there, always in the back of your mind.
"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. 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." Psalm 139:13-16
"I know that full well..." Know what full well? I don't know anything full well. Do you know it full well? I don't think we know it full well. Because if we did, would we really be worrying about the ways that we are different than the girl standing in front of us at Starbucks? Would girls be watching Miss Teen America, Miss America, or Miss Universe with sad eyes and wishes to be thin and beautiful like them? Would young girls, women, and men struggle with disorders and harmful behavior in order to be more attractive, stronger or better at what they do?
If we knew it well, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, I don't think any of these things would be a problem.
Yes, we were all created differently. But, how much would changing our outside appearance really makes us feel better? Going back to my list up there at the top. I could get rid of my glasses and change the color of my eyes with contacts, I could straighten my hair everyday, I could workout more to better my running, I could use Crest White-strips everyday to get whiter teeth and even shell out some money for braces to straighten them up. But, even if I change those things it doesn't guarantee that I will stop sizing myself up with the girl in front of me at Starbucks. Who would I be doing these things for? What would be my focus? What is my reasoning behind these things?
We may always want to be different and there may always be something we want to change, but we need to focus more on the inside than the out.
When Samuel went looking for David, he finally came upon Jesse and was looking at his sons. His sons were tall and strong, and Samuel was sure that He would find who God was looking for in the bunch. Then the Lord said something to him...
"...do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
Our thoughts need to be Christ-like right? So, instead of worrying about how we stack up on the outside, let's focus on the inside. Let's focus on our hearts. Our hearts are either soft and accepting of Christ and His ways, or they are hard like stone, rejecting of Christ and His ways. A hard heart makes it tougher to learn and only God can soften a hard heart. A soft heart is also a teachable heart. When we have a teachable heart we are letting God know that we are willing to let Him come in and change us. With a soft, teachable heart He is able to mold us into the person that He wants us to be. From our heart, everything else flows.
"My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:20-23
Our thoughts and ways will never be as grand as God's, but what better teacher to have than the One who created us? He created us in the way that He wanted us to be and in the way that He can use us. He gave us the body we have to glorify Him. Whether we are in a 9 to 5 job, the military, pageants, church ministry or politics, we are to glorify Him. We are to respect and take care of the bodies He gave us so that we are more able to serve Him.
I may not always be happy with my outside appearance, but God has given me talents, dreams, and passions that are found on the inside. My heart is full of love that He first showed to me and I now can use that love to serve Him. My eyes don't have to be green or my hair straight for me to lead a Bible study. I don't need to have perfect teeth or be able to run fast to go to lunch with a hurting friend. I don't have to be in a relationship in order to go somewhere on the mission field.
My identity is not found my appearance or what I'm good at. My identity is in Christ. Because my identity is found in Him, I am able to do immeasurably more because of His power. He does His work, for God's glory, through me. I am Christ's messenger. His love allows me to serve. His love allows me to love. His focus is now my focus. If I continue to put focus on the things I wish I could change instead of what He has put in front of me, I'm most certainly going to miss it.
Now, does this mean that I should forget all about my appearance?? Definitely not. We have awesome clothes, shoes, and hair to enjoy and I believe that God wants us to enjoy those things. Yet, we need to remember to glorify the Lord through every aspect of our life (I'm sure you've seen a good article on modesty before).
Bottom line is that no amount of comparing myself to another or wishing that I had something else is going to change the fact that God created me this way. It's all a part of His plan. The beautiful (and honestly scary) fact is that God has written my story already.
Our hope and joy is found in Christ alone.