Tag Archives: self image

On the Surface

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1 Samuel 16:7
English Standard Version (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I love that God finds my beauty on the inside and not on the surface. Sometimes it’s not a pleasant experience to look in the mirror because time is not forgiving and gravity takes it’s toll. Some people are blessed to have a good genes and they retain their figure and youthful look but for most of us, it’s a daily struggle to be one of ‘the beautiful people’.

Often, a thought builds in my mind and I feel led to share what ends up becoming a full article. Sometimes, I am fueled by outrage at a current event and have to address it immediately. There are times though, where a subtle conversation or comment shared in passing is repeated over the course of time. When this happens, I know I have received a prompting from God to share what He is revealing to me.

I spend some time, not by choice, at the dermatologist several times a year reversing sun damage in the hopes to prevent skin cancer from surfacing. As a teen, I spent hours soaking in the sun as I tried to obtain a golden tan. Unsuccessful in most attempts, I would end up suffering from burns and the resulting peels that revealed only freckles and no tan. Unfortunately, I never learned and repeated this process so much over the years that now I have to reverse the damage that took years to build. Frequently, the damage to cells in your body take place years before the evidence of the resulting skin cancer can be seen. I’ve been told that typically, the length of time from initial damage to visible results can span ten years. I think there’s a lesson to learn here….(besides the obvious of avoiding sun damage). How long does it take for damage to reach the surface?

In casual conversation, I mentioned to a friend that she has flawless skin and she looked really great. After thanking me for the comment, which was genuine admiration, she clouded for a second before she said that my compliment made up for years of feeling ugly because she couldn’t tan. She was always more pale than her friends and didn’t feel like one of the “beautiful people.” I can relate because I’m so pale that I can literally blind people from the sun’s reflection off my skin. I felt immediately humbled to receive a glimpse into what had been years of suffering that my friend had experienced. In her case, she has emerged as the recipient of flawless and youthful skin because she avoided the sun. The feeling of beauty is only skin deep though because the feeling of inadequacy runs deeper than the surface.

Later, the same week, I was talking to another friend and somehow the conversation turned to her years of feeling invisible. In her youth, she had been heavier and always felt as if she was completely invisible to the world. As she matured, she lost weight and became more comfortable with herself so that people started noticing her. The attention she received could have easily gone to her head but she knew that regardless of what she looked like, the real person could only be known from the inside out. She said it was eye opening to see that people want to associate with those they perceive to be beautiful, so much so, that sometimes it’s hard to know who your real friends might be.

How many other people feel like this? How many neighbors, co-workers or relatives are suffering from what lies below the surface? If it takes ten years for some skin cancers to surface, how long does it take for emotional scars or feelings of inadequacy to become apparent? How many people do you know who are suffering in silence? Are you someone who has a hidden hurt? It’s such a comfort to know that there is One who looks past the surface and not only knows the real you but who can also hold and heal those secret scars. God knows you and He loves you! Psalm 139:13 New International Version (NIV) says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” How awesome is that! Not only does God see you and know you, He is the one who created the inner most you. He formed your soul and knows your secret thoughts and painful past. Turn those hurts that you have held on to for years over to Him and let Him free you from long held feelings of inadequacy.

“For man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart!”

Steps

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Psalm 37:23

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.

Who doesn’t love a good shoe!

Every woman has a journey that begins with a step.  Some days it’s one step forward and two steps back but each step takes us closer to the purpose God has intended for our lives.  I have noticed that each one of my steps also brings me to a newer sense of realization that I am learning so much as I move forward.  All I need to do is look back over my past footprints to see the success stories and triumphs that way overshadow my mistakes and failures.

I want to use this site as a way to reach other women and share ideas, thoughts, helpful hints, questions and solutions.  Some of my triumphs have been so small that they are almost not worth mentioning, but they make me smile.  For instance, I discovered that if I heat the cream for my coffee before I add to my cup, the flavor is so much better and I get to drink a nice, hot cup for a longer time which makes my entire morning so enjoyable!  It’s these little things that encourage me and make me stronger and better.  Hence, the “better today” moniker.  The things that make us better do make us stronger.  I believe that God has ordered my footsteps in such a way that I will come across, usually stumble over, a solution to a problem or an easier way to do something at just the time I need it.  He is great that way!  This keeps me from becoming egotistical and self-reliant.  I know that all good things come from Him who knows just what I need and when I need it.

I hope the things you read here are helpful and meaningful.  Enjoy!

Loving Myself

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Amelia Island
Teeing off and posing. What a great time we had on that vacation!

 

I love me, I love me not.  I love me, I love me not.  Do these words sound familiar?  Every time I think that I have come to grips with who I am, I catch a fleeting glimpse of myself in the mirror.  The horror of seeing, or rather not seeing, myself in that sideways glimpse that really puts everything in proportion drives me into a total downward spiral of self-criticism.  Gravity is not my friend!  If only I had the arms of Jennifer Anniston, the behind of Jennifer Lopez and the legs of any of the professionals on Dancing with the Stars, then I could be truly happy with myself……like a conveyor belt, these self-loathing accusations float through my thoughts until they have me convinced that because I am not pretty like the models and actresses that I must also be unlovable and undesirable.  Then I move to the closet and, well, let’s face it, my middle-class wardrobe does not compare to the couture of Beverly Hills or even the store front windows in the mall.  Several changes of clothes later, I move to the counter to start the transformation of my hair.  Maybe I should just throw in towel, so to speak, or just grab my nearest hat which is so well worn that it comfortably conforms to my head while deftly hiding my unruly locks.  This vicious cycle is one that has repeated itself way too many times to count.

Thankfully, the me I see in the mirror is not the me that really matters.  For obvious reasons, I need to take care of myself with good nutrition, exercise and grooming, but how I look or dress is not the be-all, end-all that defines me.  As I learn to place my focus on how God sees me – a perfect reflection of Him with a unique purpose and plan – then I can easily be comfortable with loving myself.  This body that I am in right now is just a shell that carries the real me for the short time I am on earth.  My real journey begins when I reach my heavenly home and eternity starts.  This life is a dress rehearsal for so much more.  Here’s the thing though, I cannot truly love others or God while I’m here, if I can’t love myself.  How can I love God yet not love myself when He says I am perfectly and wonderfully made?  Herein lies the battle between what I know and what I see.  I have been so conditioned to look for aesthetic beauty that I rarely look beneath the surface to see the diamond that is hidden within.  I am striving to consciously look beneath the surface in hopes that this action will become an unconscious habit.  Wish me luck as I perfect this newly started habit.

 

What do you do when you feel the doubts about your self-worth?  What words of advice can you share?  Please let me know!