Originally published Tuesday, 11 September 2012.
Throughout the years I have had the privilege of working with children. Kids are great fun. They are full of energy and sticker or a hug can make their day. When I was working as a Children’s Ministry Director I enjoyed this interaction with my kiddos. But one of the catches about kids is that they tend to be honest - VERY honest! I was having one of those days when I ran smack into a very blunt little preschooler. The nursery assistant hadn’t showed up - again. So, in between greeting before service and preparing goodies for Sunday school, I was covering nursery and about to go up in front of the congregation with all my little ones to deliver the children’s message. It was before the message and after my hair had been tousled by one of the crying babies that I was playing on one of those car track rugs with my very honest toddler friend. He stopped playing for a moment, looked up at my face and then matter-of-factly said, “You have bumps on your teeth.” At the time I had clear braces. “Yes,” I replied, “they’re called ‘braces.’” He nodded thoughtfully and started to run his little toy car along the track again. Then, he looked up once more. “You have bumps on your face - are those braces too?” I have always - and probably will always - struggle with acne. I thought about getting in front of the congregation with my disheveled hair, braces and “bumps” and I wanted to hide! All of us have had days where our own self-image threatened to take away the opportunities in front of us. On that day when I was confronted with that little one’s comment, the last thing I wanted to do was get up in front of a bunch of people. Other days I feel like I am not smart enough or capable enough to accomplish the tasks in front of me. I often feel as thought I could be the woman, wife, Christian, teacher, etc. that I want to be if only this or that were different. Many of us gals would like to change things pertaining to our appearance - thighs, hair, height, weight. Then there are some of us who would give anything to change life history. Maybe you came from a family where dysfunction and hurt seem to define you and your future. Possibly your own decisions have created a stifling reputation you wish wasn’t yours. Or perhaps you have experienced some sort of violation that seems to have altered you at your very core. Sometimes, these things we wish we could change become the things that define us. We all have “uglies,” things we want to hide from the world and if we could, we would even hide them from our own eyes. Whether its bottle cap glasses, railroad tracks across your teeth or a wound so deep you can’t find the bottom of it, we all have pain generated from feeling insignificant, unloved, not valued or beautiful. God wants to free you from those things. Sister, according to God’s perspective you are knock ‘em dead gorgeous, loved and valued beyond anything your mind can imagine. Just for starters, check out this brief list of New Testament statements describing who you are in Christ. I have these verses highlighted in a specific color in my Bible so I can flip through and find them easily. You might want to try that as well. Who I Am In Christ I am the salt of the earth. Matt 5:13 I am the light of the world. Matt 5:14 I am a child of God. John 1:12 I am part of the true vine, a channel of Christ's life. John 15:1,5 I am Christ's friend. John 15:15 I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit. John 15:16 I am a slave of righteousness. Romans 6:18 I am enslaved to God. Rom. 6:22 I am a son of God; God is spiritually my Father. Rom. 8:14, 15; Galatians 3:26, 4:26. I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him. Rom 8:17 I am a temple-a dwelling place - of God. His Spirit and His life dwells in me. 1Corinthians12:27; Ephesians5:30 I am a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19 I am a son of God and one in Christ. Galatians 3:26, 28 I am an heir of God since I am a son of God. Galatians 4:6,7 I am a saint. Eph. 1:1, 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2. I am God workmanship - His handiwork - born anew in Christ to do His work. Ephesians 2:10 I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God's family. Eph. 2:19 I am a prisoner of Christ. Eph 3:1; 4:1 I am righteous and holy. Eph 4:24 I am a citizen of heaven, seated in heaven right now. Phil 3:20, Eph 2:6 I am hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is my life. Col 3:4 I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. Col. 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4 I am a son of light and not of sudden darkness. 1 Thess. 5:5 I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling. Hebrew 3:1. I am a partaker of Christ; I share in His life. Heb 3:14 I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house. 1 Peter 2:5 I am a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession.1 Pet. 2:9, 10 I am a stranger to this world in which I temporarily live. 1 Pet 2:11 I am an enemy of the devil 1Pet5:8 I am a child of God and I will resemble Christ when He returns. 1 John 5:18 When I am tempted to give in to the discouragement of my failures and short- comings, I pull out this incredible list of truth, this mirror from God and get a fresh perspective. In the days to come I hope that you will journey with God to those places that you wish you could hide and hear Him say over each part and piece of the story that He loves you, chose you, and thinks that you are beautiful. Devotional excerpt from the Bible Study My Reflection in His Eyes: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You. For more encouraging words on this topic, you can order the study here.