Satan is the king of cheap shots, he has this aptitude for finding our most vulnerable spots and aiming his arrows for the target. What Satan intends for evil God intends for good. But the inverse is also true. What God has made for good, Satan turns into something bad. I know a person who is in the midst of this reality right now. She has been gifted in so many ways, incredible ways that are such an asset to the body of Christ. One of her many gifts is the incredible physical beauty she possesses. She is one of the most stunning young women I have ever seen and yet that is where Satan hits her the hardest. Seeing her struggle with a self loathing and shame about her appearance brings me back ten years to a time when I was about her age.
In the summer of 2005 I was busy working in ministry and planning my wedding and all the while hiding a struggle no one suspected. I was very thin and had a goal to lose five or ten pounds more by my wedding day. When I look back on that time at my gaunt cheek bones and spindly frame I cringe to think of my obsession with my “fat thighs” and other imagined imperfections. I wasted so much time on self-depreciation and being hungry. That mentality continued even after my second son was born. I could never be thin enough. At 107 pounds and dropping I was still unsatisfied and pushed myself harder. What I saw in the mirror was a chubby little girl and not the boney skeleton I had become. I once read a book that described two women. The first was described as a woman who was very nice to look at, the second was described as wonderful to look at. In those days, I was nice to look at (though I didn’t know it) but this young woman I know is wonderful to look at. Yet she, who surpasses me and most people, in otherworldly beauty feels ugly. During a women’s Bible study a woman told my much younger and insecure self that I was lovely and that God can use that to bring people closer to me. She said that God designed my appearance with great purpose in mind just as he had done with Queen Esther whose beauty won her favor with a king and saved an entire people group. That is when my self-image began to change. I began to ask God to show me what he sees in me and erase the ugly fat drawing I had etched of myself into my brain. I began to see that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but fear of the Lord is to be praised. In time I allowed myself to eat my fill and see myself as fearfully and wonderfully made. But it was a process. I had to rip down the wallpaper in my mind that had ugly patterns and replace it with words of truth. Every single day. And then in time I didn’t have to anymore. Now I am pregnant with my fourth child and the stretch marks, varicose veins and rounder girth are not devastating like they were back then.
We all have gifts. Being funny, intelligent, organized or lovely are all gifts. So often those gifts are the tender spots that Satan likes to jab at. Maybe you are incredible at something but a small or maybe loud voice in your head tells you that you have nothing of value to offer. I am not talking about the self-esteem that is being hyped up by a society that promotes feeling “good” about yourself. I am talking about embracing a level headed perspective of who you are. Humility is not what it is often perceived to be. It is not a depreciation of self, being down on yourself and thinking yourself a lowly worm of a creature. That is an insult to the creator who put thought and love into the intricate details that make you who you are. Humility is seeing yourself as you are neither higher nor lower. I see now that I am pretty (except in the mornings before my tea), fairly intelligent and a decent mom. I also see that I am a hyper critical, perfectionist kill joy at times. All of those things are true about me, I know who and what I am. I am not just good or bad but a jumbled combination of it all and I see that now. I am what I am.
So, young woman whom I know and love, you are who you are. A messy combination of the heavenly and the not so heavenly. Your gifts mingle with your imperfections and that is who your are. You are not just your gifts or just your imperfections but a mixture of the two. But here is the thing, you have a tool that will tip the scale in your favor. You have the Father of lights living in you and his perfection has become your perfection. And that is what matters. All of the short comings that your inner voices are screaming at you to stare at are fleeting fragments of the ugly parts of being human. While you are on this side of heaven they will be there and that is okay. You are okay. Know with your head your value until you can know it in your heart.
How about you, do you feel that those gifts you’ve been given are under attack? Share your comments below, heck you could even subscribe to my blog. It could be that kind of do something crazy day…