This last week, I’ve been hearing what people are thankful for. Most answers are the important things in life; the intangible feelings of love and acceptance found in relationships. Others are the things we need to sustain life. Few listed their material wants.
There was a time when I didn’t feel thankful for anything. I was in a very dark place surrounded by negative feelings. I found something wrong with everything, even compliments. Surely, there was an evil motive for someone to say something nice about me. I saw nothing good in myself and therefore couldn’t see it anywhere.
A healthy self-image is the beginning to a life filled with gratitude. When I learned – really learned – that God cares for me, I thought of myself differently. I’m not better than the next person; but by no means am I worse. I am who God made me to be.
When I see people who are down on themselves, my old pain returns. I long to help others see who they are through God’s eyes; loved, cherished and valuable. I am thankful that God has guided me along a path to learn this.
When you list what you are thankful for, do you include yourself?
Recently, I was a guest with two other Lebanon Soup Kitchen volunteers on the radio talk show, Valley Talk. It’s not the first time I have been interviewed on a radio or television talk show. My ego could get puffed up as if there was some importance in being interviewed on the air.
God doesn’t care whether or not I’m on the radio; as long as I am His radio. When I allow Him to speak through me I become a box to transmit His message. Just like a radio, what comes out of my mouth depends on where I get my power. I plug into Him for inspiration and guidance.
Have you ever heard a beautiful song and said, “Oh, what a lovely radio?” I doubt it. People should look at Christians and see what a great God they have. If you are worrying about what you look or sound like maybe you need to plug into a different outlet. God can use you for His glory, not yours.
Have you ever said something and wondered where the words came from? Give examples of how God has used you.
During this pleasant fall weather, I have spent a lot of time in my yard getting it ready for winter. The beautiful flowers are gone and plants are turning yellow. I thought of the verse in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Through the spring and summer and even into the fall my yard was lit with colorful blossoms. That was their time.
I wondered, When was my time for beauty? As a child I was overweight and filled with self-distain. Even when I was “normal” weight as an adult, I was still not particularly attractive. Now age has added a few wrinkles, pounds and gray hair. Did I miss my time to be beautiful?
I don’t think God says that at some point we will be beautiful. We may think that we would be pretty if we lost weight, had silky hair or some of the many other ways that society tells us is the answer. But I Samuel 16:7b tells us, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” God is not concerned with our physical appearance.
God sees us as beautiful all the time. The beauty may change at different ages; a child’s innocence, an adolescence’s self-search or an old person’s compassion and wisdom. I don’t think that you are like my flowers; beautiful only for a time. I think that your beauty changes with you as you grow in Christ’s wisdom. Whatever age or shape you are, you are beautiful to your Creator.
What makes you feel beautiful? Is it make-up or clothes? Or is there something deeper?