For my senior honors thesis at Ball State University, I am writing a women’s devotional book. I began this project hoping that thousands of women would benefit from the stories and words that line the pages. What I didn’t anticipate however, but have found along the way, is that God is changing my heart as I delve deeper into this project.
Yesterday, after my boyfriend and my annual camping trip, I sat down to write chapter four of the book, “What is Beauty.” For 10 minutes, I sat in frustration, unsure where to start. As a woman who has struggled with self-perceived beauty, there is so much I could say…
When the words wouldn’t come I took a break by uploading camping pictures. As the thumbnails flashed one-by-one across my computer screen, I felt a jolt of inspiration. I remembered the joy I felt walking through canyons and riverbeds, breathing in the sights and sounds of trickling waterfalls and basking in the calming embrace of fall’s sunshine. I’d never been so captivated by beauty.
Nature doesn’t try to be showy or beautiful—it just is. The magnificence of God’s creation doesn’t have to be realized, because it’s all around us and can’t be denied.
We, too, are beautiful as we are, and our Father longs for us to see ourselves the way He sees us. I’m always captivated by Psalm 139 where it talks about God loving us for all that we are:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6, ESV)
God knows our every thought and deed, and yet he still loves us. We are beautifully, wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14) in Him and there is nothing we could do that would ever add to or take away from that. In that same regard, our hearts and inner self are the true indicators of beauty. Not “the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes,” as Peter points out in 1 Peter, but the beauty that comes from having a pure and loving spirit.
We don’t have to strive to the ends of the Earth trying to wear the right clothes or mold our bodies into what the world says is attractive. Like nature, we are a living testament to God’s beauty when we place our heart’s in his hands and follow Him.
Take a moment today and reflect on Psalm 139. How do your thoughts about yourself differ from God’s thoughts? What areas do you need to realign your perspective?