Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

On the sidebar of my Facebook, they stare at me -- possibly airbrushed or Photoshopped or starved into looking like that, but they stare, those ads with girls whose abs rip like a man's and whose bodies are "as they should be." I'm tempted to click, "Lose 30 pounds in a month!" or "How Christina lost 36 pounds" or "Four Foods that give you Belly Fat."

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When did we become the society that measures all things by how they look?  Media adds to it, but I'm not going to blame the media.  Our hearts are always at the heart.  We are obsessed, let's face it.  And God says we can have physical exercise -- He even says it is good.  BUT.  He says, "but."  Whenever God says, "but," we need to sit up and take notice.  He's about to set our priorities straight. 
For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come {1 Timothy 4:8}
God knows.  He knows we will want to discipline our bodies -- to work out, to exercise.  He says this has some merit - it will profit us to take care of the body we have been given.  He also knows how prone we are to erect idols which interfere.  Idols block our view of His love.  Idols take His place.  Idols ensnare our hearts.  Idols keep us from internal freedom.  Idols don't have to be carved in stone, they are carved in the human heart and their effect hardens us to the beauty of God and the possibility of real godliness.

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons
He extends an invitation with a promise:  godliness is profitable for all things.  Godliness is profitable, not only for this life, when physical well-being is useful, but also for the life to come.  God is pointing our eyes -- my eyes -- upward.  He is always calling up and beyond, while we are prone to get ensnared in down here in the mundane.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.  {Col 3: 1-4}
I don't know when it happened, when I bought the lie and bit the fruit, but at some point in time I believed the "Did God really say ...?" and I fell into the trap of self-concern and obsession with weight, image and appearance.  In my teen years I met a few girls who had "answers."  One friend told me the secret of her size two jeans was to make herself regurgitate her food.  She would eat entire rolls of cookie dough and then go in the back yard and give up what was within her.

We give up what is within us.  We just give it up.

God doesn't give up.  He is persistent about our transformation.  He sees what is truly beautiful and He, the Hound of Heaven goes after us wherever we flee.  He comes with a passion, but He also waits.  He knows how to woo a soul.  He knows what snares we have encountered and what it takes to unclench the jaws which hold us firm and keep us bound.

Beauty.  He, the Beautiful, calls out true Beauty.

Starved in the flesh and starved in my heart I have come to Him.  Desiring to be called beautiful as all women long to be.  I came into His presence feeling ugly in the unseen places.  Encountering the beauty of His love I was like the one who fell at His feet and poured out all I had shamelessly at His feet, fearing to look up and find Him repulsed at what He saw.  He fixed His eyes on me and in His unspoken touch, He said, "beautiful."  Oh, He loves so fully and well.  
And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that {Jesus} was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
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 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”  “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.
We have been forgiven much.  We have been loved well.  He has called us beautiful in the intimate recesses of our hearts where all we knew was darkness and shame.  Beauty -- true beauty -- is more than skin deep.  God calls you beautiful.  He loves you with His beautiful love -- as you are, in this place.

Gratefully linking up with Bonnie Gray at FaithBarista where our prompt for this week was, "Beauty."  You can join us here any Thursday.  


HisFireFly said...

how He loves us
may we continue to learn to receive
and not deny
the beauty that He created
the beauty that He sees

HeartsHomeward said...

I always love your poetic lens, HisFireFly. Thank you for your prayer and for coming here to share it.