January 9, 2015
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).
Friend to Friend
My friend Denise has got the whole beauty package going on. She’s tall, slender, athletic, bright, and funny. To know her is to love her. But she is so pretty that if you didn’t know her, you might love to hate her.
Denise is a former model and gymnast who lived much of her life in the shadow of perfection’s impossible measuring stick. She came to know Christ as a child. But though she was a believer, Denise still struggled with common issues of measuring up.
By nature, Denise is competitive and a perfectionist. Her quest to be the best, however, left Denise feeling helpless and unsuccessful. She never felt she was good enough.
Denise dealt with the pressures to measure up in a destructive way. She became bulimic. She wanted to be in control of her body and manage her weight but she became enslaved to an addictive and damaging behavior. She was a Christian girl who knew that God loved her. She had been told that she was beautiful to Him, but for a season of her life, Denise didn’t consider that enough.
She thought she was in control of the bulimia, but eventually realized that bulimia was in control of her. It consumed her thoughts. It swung the gates of deception wide open for the enemy to stroll right through. He laughed all the way, because he had her right where he wanted her.
Negative self-talk filled her head.
She prayed, but lacked the motivation to make a change until she finally hit rock bottom.
At her lowest point, Denise felt the weight of truth and finally crumbled. Her previous casual attempts to allow God to intervene were now replaced with sincere cries for help. She needed to change and she needed God’s help for the change to happen.
Denise had known the truth from the beginning. She just resisted it. She knew that bulimia was destructive, but the pressures of the world had a greater hold on her.
When she turned to Jesus for help, Denise found healing for the bulimia and emotional freedom from the need to measure up to the world’s standard of perfection. God used His Word, Christian counseling, and friends to replace lies with His truth.
Healing begins when we hold tightly to the truth of God and allow the truth of God to hold tightly to us. God gives each of us the freedom to accept or reject His way. God’s Word transforms. The apostle Paul said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a).
We live in a competitive world. The pressures to be thin, beautiful, fit, smart, sexy, funny, rich, and popular trap us in a relentless vise-grip. Denise’s story isn’t much different from yours or mine. You don’t need to be a model or a gymnast to get trapped in a disorder or an addictive lifestyle. You could be a college student, a businesswoman, a nurse, a mom, a dance instructor, a retail clerk, or a Sunday school teacher.
No one is exempt. Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority ravage hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike.
Our attempts to measure up are all-consuming traps. They focus our attention inward verses upward, just as they did with Denise. When we get caught in the trap of striving to measure up, we focus on ourselves. That was never God’s plan. We were designed to focus on Him. Shifting our attention from ourselves to God will change our perspective.
God longs for our obsession to be Him.
“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8).
Dear God, Please renew and transform me from the inside out! When feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and self-doubt creep into my heart, help me to see myself the way You do. I want to be held tightly by Your truth.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
There’s a line in the song Broken into Beautiful that says: “We live with accusations, sometimes heavy expectations that tell us we can never measure up. And yet You repeat with mercy that in Your eyes we are worthy, ‘til at last we see how much we’re loved.”
How does this speak to you today? Do you really know how much you’re loved? Pray about it and journal if you’re the journaling type… then let’s meet in the comments section of my blog to talk about it and pray through it together.
More from the Girlfriends
Did today’s message resonate with your heart? Learn how God wants to bring you beyond your past mistakes and your present challenges to His wholeness, strength and beauty. Broken into Beautiful is a book filled with stories – real stories … gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony. It’s also filled with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen’s website.
Girlfriends in God
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Huntersville, NC 28070
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Originally published Friday, 09 January 2015.