"You're like really pretty..."
Hey hey hey!! It has been forever and a day since I have posted but it feels so good to be back writing and sharing. Life has gone from 0 to 100 in a split second since August and it has brought so much goodness in!
So, I hope you read the title of this post just how Regina George says it in Mean Girls. Besides having been a huge Mean Girls fan back in the day, (my best friend and I may or may not have tried to make "The Plastics" and "fetch" happen back in the 5th grade) I think that that line says so much. Outside of its usage in the movie, when someone tells you you're really pretty, especially a stranger or someone you barely know, it takes some of us by surprise. Some of us can fully accept the compliment and move on, some reject the compliment to fish more compliments or some of us (me) don't believe anyone when they say it. If you are like me, I tend to always doubt the person giving me the compliment. I feel like they are just saying that to make me feel better or to butter me up in some way. I let my past hurts get in the way of the present's presence. I find myself saying to myself "How can I be pretty? If they only knew the ugliness of my past they wouldn't think I was pretty anymore." Song of Songs 4:7 states, "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." No flaw. Flawless. Perfect. #nofilter
We are all undoubtedly our own worst critics in different aspects of our lives, but we have been created without one imperfection. In the words of my mother, "God don't make no junk." She is absolutely right, too! God created each and every one of us with a profound purpose and design. We aren't supposed to look like air brushed models, we are supposed to look like a woman of God. That was the model whom we were created after. In Genesis 1:27, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female." You know what I love about Genesis and the story of the creation? After everything God created and placed on Earth it says, "And God saw that it was good." Not mediocre, not decent, he didn't settle. It was good. It was good enough for Him, the God of the universe; we were, and are still, good enough and beautiful enough and perfect enough for Him!
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do". The good works in which God prepared us in advance to do and carry out may have come with a painful and unexpected cause. I mean that to say not all of our good works are simply because we know we are called to do them. Sometimes God gives us situations in our lives where we have to choose what works we pursue and carry out; he gave us brains to think and choose for ourselves. The crazy part about all that is that He already knows which decision we are going to make before we are even faced with the situation. Our past hurts and scars don't make us ugly, worthless, defeated or damaged; they actually do quite the opposite. They make us beautiful, stronger and more dependent on God. Don't ever be ashamed of your hurts and scars. To me, the embracing of the scars and hurt are what can make a person even more beautiful.
I want to focus on two words:
BITTER and BETTER.
Everything about these two words is the same except for that second letter; one has an I and the other an E. Bitter is the one with the I (obviously). I, me. That is who makes a person bitter. We make ourselves bitter because we allow someone else's negativity weigh on us. Better, on the other hand, has the E (again, duh!).
I was, and still can be at times, too bitter about what others have thought and said about me in my past that I couldn't get better. Bitterness can ruin even the sweetest of things. Think about how sour lemonade is before you add the water and the sugar to it. All you can taste is the tartness of the lemon that makes your face pucker. Add a little water and it tones the taste down a bit. Once you add the sugar though, you have this refreshing beverage. The sour lemon juice is the thoughts we have towards ourselves because of things other people and social media has put in our heads. The water is the truth that God tells us. It takes away that bitter taste in our mouth that was once there. The sugar is God's grace that he gives us to have on ourselves. You see, when you drink lemonade you know that the sour lemon juice is there because that's why it's LEMONade. But, what you also know is that there are other things that overpower the bitterness of the original base of the drink. That's exactly what God does for us and how we feel and view ourselves. We are all one tall glass of iced lemonade; the bitterness of our past with the promise of our present and future blended and working together to make the perfect combination. We still know what people said about and to us and it still can sting a little and "make us pucker" but the completed piece leaves a much better taste in our mouth and we crave the sweetness even more.
That's God's goal all along. He wants us to lean in and depend on Him and trust what His plan is for us and what His word says about us. He wants us to do that and realize that one, we can't do it on our own, and two, it will leave us craving Him more and more on a daily basis. He wants to be that parent that looks at you and grins and lovingly says, "I told you so".
I was at dinner with some of my friends a few weekends ago and as we walked into the restaurant to meet the rest of our group, a young girl looked me square in the eyes and said, "You're like really pretty". I heard her and said "Thank you" but just brushed it off. This girl was no older than 10 and she was looking at me like I was a Disney princess (side note: everyone that knows me knows that that is a goal for me!). On the outside I was appreciative and receptive, but on the inside I was thinking about how I didn't like my outfit, my hair wasn't doing what I wanted it to, my makeup needed to be touched up, etc. Her words stuck with me and kept ringing in my head. From the outside, we can be the world's standard of pretty and have a not so flawless inside. How others view us is important to us because that's where we so often place value. However, we must see ourselves as God sees us and I'll admit, it isn't always the easiest. I want to challenge you to read some chapters of both Psalms and Proverbs. Get a group of friends to read with you. They are basically huge love letters that tell us what God thinks of us and how beautiful and amazing we are. And seriously, who doesn't love a good love letter? Proverbs 3:15-18, "She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed". (Ummmm...yeah. WOW!)
So, you see, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes people can't see your beauty because their lenses are filthy from their own hurts and insecurities. I want you to find God's lens that He see you through. Your beauty is found and is in the eyes of the one that holds you and loves and adores you through the good and the bad and the "ugly". Find a pair of new lenses because, take it from me...you are, like, really pretty.