Monday, March 16, 2015

you are a prized painting hanging on a wall

I don't know why we buy into the idea that we all have to look the same. Lately, I have been standing in awe of how differently God has made my friends and I. Between us there is a broad range of personalities, skin tones, hair and eye colors, smiles, heights, body's incredible.

But so often I -- along with everyone else on the planet -- look in the mirror and wonder why it is that I don't look like someone else. This kind of thinking is not only discouraging, but it's also something of a slap in the face to the Lord who formed me! I'm essentially telling Him that He made a mistake.

I imagine two paintings hanging on opposite walls, both scrutinizing themselves as they admire the other. It's ridiculous. Why should van Gogh's The Starry Night envy a Monet painting? Are they not both masterpieces? And could you imagine the Mona Lisa wanting to trade her sassy smirk for someone else's smile? COME ON!

In the same way, we are each created and formed exactly as God wanted us to be. Before time began, Jesus knew what we would look like -- different and special and each one of us carrying the signature of the Master Painter. (Check out Psalm 139 for more on this.) Knowing that I am actually art helps me appreciate others' unique beauty, instead of envying it.

Even so, I will forget this truth in a matter of moments. I am human. I fail. I struggle with body image every day. But what amazes me is that even while I continue to carry these images around in my head of what I should look like, these lies about what is ideal and perfect, God carries me. When I was weak and in the womb, and even when I'm old and grey, He will carry me. And His love does not depend on my own beauty or ability, or on anything I can offer Him. Christ loves me in my most vulnerable state. Baffling -- and beautiful.

"The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." ~ Isaiah 46:1b-4

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