Are you ready for the good news in this mess?
We don't have to be defined by the ever-changing standards of the world. Instead, we have an eternal value given to us by the God of everything. David wrote in Psalms 139:14 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Hebrew word for fear used in this verse also means to "stand in awe." He described how God knit us together in our mother's womb. Picture that with me for a moment. The infinite God of all the universes taking time to labor over your design with more care than an artist working on a masterpiece. Those pesky freckles you have that pop out the minute the sun graces your skin? God put each of them there with love, designing you to be awesome and wonderful. The hair (or lack thereof) on your head that isn't quite the latest and greatest trend? Yep, God also designed that to be awesome and wonderful in His eyes. Your weight, height, abilities, nose size, short fingers, or any of the thousand of potential "flaws" you could find with your body all still fall under the category of fearfully and wonderfully made.
Because, here's the thing, until we truly accept and believe that God designed us with ultimate love, to be His own unique and amazing works of art, it is difficult to truly love ourselves. And when we don't love ourselves, it makes it nearly impossible to share Love as it was meant to be shared. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, but this can only be fulfilled if we allow God's Love to permeate beyond what the world tries to tell us we should be, and help us to become what we were created to be.
If you struggle with seeing the true beauty and worth in yourself, I pray that the Spirit reveals the powerful truth of one of the most recognizable scriptures in the Bible. For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son. God loved YOU, exactly how you are, so much that He was willing to watch His Son suffer and die so that you could spend an eternity with Him. The world will always tell us the ways we aren't enough, because the true Love isn't in this world. But God tells us that we are infinitely precious, valuable beyond measure. The first step to loving ourselves is accepting this great Love from God and letting the overwhelming beauty of Him first flow into us and then overflow out of us.
There is a quote by Lao Tzu that says, "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." I have always loved this quote, but looking through the eyes of Love it contains an even greater meaning. By accepting, sharing, and returning the Love of God with ourselves and others we are given the strength to discover the purpose and design we were meant to have in this life and then the courage to help others find that as well. So know this, you are deeply loved by God and His Strength is waiting to lift you up. All you have to do is allow it to come in.
- Tonya Miller (Community Outreach Director)
Amen! - Youth Pastor Jason Johnson