Monday, February 7, 2011

on self-respect.

{from here}

There was a poster hanging up in my fourth grade classroom, one of those cheesy ones meant to inspire young minds.

“God don’t make no junk,” it said, accompanied by a picture of a cute puppy sticking its head out of a trash can or something equally charming.

Aside from being grammatically incorrect and a little too adorable for its own good, I suppose that poster is true.

God doesn’t do junk.

He doesn’t create ugly.

Funny, because some mornings, my mirror tells me otherwise.

Look, this isn’t going to be some post about girls and their self-esteem issues (though, you should know: it’s true. All of it. And if you’re a father or a mother or a brother or a sister or an aunt or a friend or a mentor: tell the girls in your life just how beautiful they are. Because chances are, they don’t know it, and they need to).

But this is about loving yourself, extending grace to yourself.

About appreciating God’s handiwork and admiring His masterpieces.

Our minister gave a sermon recently about overcoming the mind, taking captive the thoughts that easily entangle.

And I know there are lustful thoughts and prideful thoughts and negative thoughts and complaining thoughts and mean-spirited thoughts.

And I struggle with those.

But lately, it’s the ugly thoughts.

It’s looking in the mirror and not liking what I see.

And I hate that.

Because, admittedly, I’ve always thought I was better than that.

Confident. Maybe not beautiful (by anyone but my husband’s standards), but good enough. Passable. Cute.

Yuck.

Yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck.

I can’t believe I’m even writing that. What a load of crap.

Isn’t it sad that even on my best days — the days when I love what I’m wearing and my face is clear and my hair is clean — I only consider myself passable?

I really doubt that God created me so that I could look in the mirror and say: “Yep. That’ll do.”

And lately, if I’m being honest, I’m not even doing that.

Lately, I get a little tearful and wonder why on earth my face is breaking out when I am 25, for crying out loud. Then I cry some more over the guilt I feel, remembering all the people who don’t have faces. Who can’t see. Who only wish they had concealer capable of hiding the scars.

We are hard on ourselves, aren’t we?

And some days, maybe we should be.

When we ignore the homeless person at the corner or curse at our spouses or let Satan grab a little bit more of our hearts.

Maybe we should be a little bit hard on ourselves then.

But when we look in the mirror?

Well, that is a complete and utter waste of God-given time and energy.

There are lots of thoughts that I need to take captive, but right now, it’s the ugly thoughts that have got to go.

Because God doesn’t do ugly.

God doesn’t design stuff that’s only worthy of the garbage can.

And I am not just passable. I am not just cute.

I am never, ever just good enough.

I am so much more.

Created with long legs and smiling eyes and freckles that only come out in the sunshine.

There’s no poster hanging up in my office to remind me that “God don’t make no junk.”

But there is this phrase that I keep coming back to, a phrase my mother always told me: Happy girls are the prettiest.

I think Satan would like me to believe that that’s a lie.

But it’s true, and when I look in the mirror and smile at what I see, I am giving God the glory for a job well done, for a masterpiece well designed.

If you’re a girl — old or young — you probably have “ugly days,” days when your face is a mess and your hair is oily and you don’t really feel like wearing anything but sweat pants.

That’s fine, I guess. Everyone should wear sweat pants every now and then.

But you’re not ugly.

Neither am I.

Because God just doesn’t do ugly. Never has, never will. And any thoughts I have that insist He does? They’re not from Him.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts that I need to take captive, but this week? This week I’ll be focused on the ugly ones, because they’re expending my time and energy in a way that surely isn’t pleasing to the One who created me.

And it’s time to extend a little bit of grace to myself, to acknowledge that no, I don’t look like Audrey Hepburn or Meg Ryan or Heidi Klum.

I look like me.

And that’s exactly how it should be.

7 comments:

Relevant Notes Blog said...

This post is amazing. Thanks for the inspiring thoughts!

Annie said...

Love this. Thanks, Annie. I often feel similarly. It's difficult to recognize that God views me differently - that He views us as made in His image, and because of that, we reflect His beauty.

And for the record - you are beautiful!

Julianne said...

Oh, Annie... you are truly one of the most beautiful people I know! This is a fantastic post, and you continue to inspire me!

Staley Mc said...

I love this post Annie! It was just what I needed today! Thanks!

beckyblogstoo said...

This post is amazing. I needed to hear these words and there they were. Thanks for sharing.

socialworkgirl said...

I loved every bit of this! So often we sell ourselves short, when we are so beautiful inside and out. It's our differences that make us so wonderful! Your words are inspirational....

Laken said...

Your posts never fail to insprie me.

This is all so true and really hit home with me. I'm guilty of thinking ugly thoughts and looking longingly on what are people have/look like.
I think I'll join you in stopping my ugly thoughts.