I'm pleased to have my online friend Joan Davis as my guest today in the "Comparing Ourselves to Others...and what it does to us" series. Joan writes from her heart at The Beauty of His Grip where she encourages women in their personal relationship with Jesus. You can also find her on Facebook. Please use the comment section to make her feel welcome here today. ~ Laura
A few weeks ago, I had a mini crisis in the beauty department. I woke up on a normal Monday morning of a very busy week, expecting to go through my usual routine. But then, I looked in the mirror and what I saw didn’t seem right to me. I turned on the bright overhead light and pulled my magnifying mirror out of the drawer to take a closer look. As soon as I was able to focus clearly on my face, I instantly saw a red swelling beginning in my right eyelid. “That’s strange,” I thought, and for a few seconds I didn’t realize what was wrong. Then, it dawned on me that I had a sty. I had never had one before, but figured this must be what they looked like.
Determined to fix it, I went to the first place so many of us go to when seeking advice - Google J. I read about some home remedies and when it was recommended to go to the doctor. I decided to give it a little bit of time and then decide what to do. By the time I was finished visiting with my mother two hours later, the swelling had doubled in size and there was quite a bit of pain. So, off to the doctor I went. My diagnosis was correct and he loaded me up on very strong antibiotics and a lovely eye gel to use four times a day.
The next day was my Bible study, and being very self-conscious, I instantly told everyone what was wrong with my face…in fact, as ridiculous as it sounds, I even e-mailed them before I arrived so they would be prepared for what I felt was grotesque. I knew I was silly warning them that I didn’t look like myself, but I was also incredibly embarrassed of my appearance.
After Bible study, my week was a busy one. I had errands to run—in public, gasp! And I had appointments to keep. I couldn’t hide out in my home like I wanted to. Logically, I understood that what I looked like didn’t matter, but emotionally and self-consciously I kept on comparing myself to…myself! “I don’t normally look this way,” I said, knowing I sounded silly, and I would go ahead and assure everyone I came across that I wasn’t contagious.
To add to my misery, my face broke out in red marks that I hadn’t had since I was a teenager. They were a sign of my “not young anymore” skin. The antibiotics made me feel sick to my stomach and I was not feeling very feminine. It was not a “pretty” week for me. For the most part, even though I wanted to hide my face, I kept a sense of humor, and mulled over the idea that God was trying to teach me a lesson in humility.
As I think back on it now, I realize it wasn’t really vanity or lack of humility with which I was dealing. It was lack of confidence, the kind of confidence you only get when you put your faith in God before your physical challenges. I was so caught up in what I looked like and what people would think when they saw me that I was not focused on God. I was allowing the “idol” of my appearance to hinder my growth and relationship with Him. And amazingly, I was missing the lesson that God was trying to teach me.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NIV
As we go forward in life, our appearances will change. That is a guarantee. But, as each year passes and unexpected illness and age come, our inner appearance can grow more beautiful with each day. If we keep our focus where it should be and allow God to continue His work in us we will be transformed more and more into the beautiful likeness of Christ. We don’t need to worry about what other people think of us—it is only God’s opinion that truly matters.
But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty
of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4 ESV
It may have taken a few days, but I finally did get the message. I had been putting my appearance above what was in my heart and focusing on the outside rather than on what God sees and wants for me. My emphasis was on my temporal shell and not on what really matters. The result was a woman who was self-absorbed, self-conscious, and stifled in her service to God. That is not the kind of woman I want to be. I want to be a woman who pleases the Lord in everything I do! So I am welcoming His transforming hands on my life! May He continue to teach me and form me into a woman whose imperishable beauty is found within her heart.
Joan Davis has been a blogger at The Beauty in His Grip for the past 4 years. She began blogging out of her thankfulness to God for His redeeming hand on her life. She believes that everything happens for a reason and the life-lessons learned along the way should be shared with others in order to build up the body for Christ. It is her desire is to encourage other women through the lessons that God has taught her.
Joan shares the incredible truth that we can never fall so far that we are beyond the reach of God. There are no lost causes, for He loves us all. It doesn’t matter how rocky our pasts, God will always accept us when we surrender our lives to Him. With Christ we can live a life filled with abundant joy simply by knowing and experiencing Him through His mercy, grace and unfailing love. Through both smooth and challenging times in her life, Joan has seen God’s faithfulness and now looks at each day as a new day to celebrate His goodness!
Photo credit: Stock photo: Mirror