I've been wanting to write this post for a while. What I'm about to write about is something God has been working through my every vein and hair and pore since I was about nine-years-old. I'm not really sure what I'm about to type, but most of my posts do start out this way, so I suppose that's alright. It's just that... I really want this post to be good. I really want yall not to see me and to see Jesus. Please, look past the bits of pride and pity that my sinfulness is about to leak into this post, and seek to see God's truth through His grace that lives inside me.
I have a very general idea of who my audience is--college girls and moms, mostly--but I'm writing to every female alive. Yall are special to me. God made a big place in my heart for you. I want to love on all of you all day long. No matter who you are, know that I'm saying a prayer for you.
So, here we go, general audience... I want to talk about beauty.
For as long as I've been aware of my body, I've been able to pick out things that are wrong with it. The first time I remember noticing the strange housing of my heart, I was about nine-years-old. I took ballet (which is quite a funny family joke these days). I remember looking in the fold-out mirrors of the church-housed studio during class and comparing my body to those of the other little girls around me, wishing it looked more like hers or being glad it didn't. My first taste of dissatisfaction, my first realization of imperfection.... I quit ballet the next year.
Time went on, and I made it to jr. high school. Zero self-confidence, people. I wore jeans to our field day in the seventh grade (it was ninety degrees outside). Boys didn't talk to me, so heck no was I going to talk to them. I was a teacher's pet. I was uncool. BUT I was sweet and godly, so that's what really counted, right? Yes, I was better than the thirteen-year-olds with boyfriends who wore high heels to class. I knew how to love Jesus. I obeyed. I was good. Everyone says it's the inside that counts, and mine looked way better than theirs... duh.
More time went on. I made it to high school. I found some self-confidence. I actually wore shorts when it was hot outside. Boys actually started talking to me. I actually started talking to them. People liked me. They complimented me. They thought I had cute clothes. They thought I was funny. They liked it when I sang. I suddenly felt a lot better about myself... And on top of all that, my insides STILL looked so much holier than theirs, so naturally, I was the best. I was grown up and godly and well-liked. So, of course, I became beautiful and didn't need to think about struggling with my worth because I totally had that under control with how godly I was... duh.
... And then Rosemary Went to College. And started blogging. And looked at sin in its ugly face. And all it took was freshman year for her to realize that she was still wearing that leotard from "I-wasn't-skinny-enough-to-make-it-to" Ballet I (shout-out to Caroline Jager).
I spent all of junior high and high school layering on anything I could to hide that leotard, and contrary to popular belief, covering-up insecurities is not actually a good idea. So, I've spent the past few months shedding off layer at a time. Off goes too much make-up, clothes for the sake of their price tag, defensive sarcasm, self-gloryfying talent, unfulfilling boys, intentional apathy, and spiritual piety. God didn't make those things. God didn't make the layers, and He didn't make the leotard. GOD MADE ME.
Fearfully and wonderfully, God made ME.
Fearfully and wonderfully, God made YOU.
Just you. Not all your layers. Whatever you layers are. God hates your layers. But God loves YOU.
And He will not turn you away. He is holding you, and if you let Him, He will carefully take your layers off until all you can feel is Him and your naked helplessness laying in the strong and unfailing love of His arms.
God made you. God loves you. Sin ruins you. God saves you.
I will not tell you your body is perfect.
Our outward selves are wasting away. Your body is not perfect. My body is not perfect. Even the Victoria's Secrets models' bodies are not perfect. We ARE flawed, and we need to stop telling each other that we are perfect just the way we are because we're not... and THAT is why we do not find worth in our bodies.
I will not tell you that it's what's inside that counts.
So, where do we find worth? Without guilt or pride or inevitable destruction? Is it even out there?
Yes... and before you read the next sentence, I want you to (mentally) go all the way back to your vulnerable-awkward-leotarded child-self. Shed the leotard. Stand helplessly naked before the Almighty Lord who is madly in love with His creation... and once you've done that, forget everything you've heard before, and believe just this:
Your worth is in the Lord.
The Lord is beautiful, and you were made in His image.
Our outer-selves may be wasting away, but out inner-selves are being renewed day by day.
Every other leotard or layer will eventually fail you, but He never will.
His grace is beyond your control. It's outside of you and is moving through all your filthy insides. It is powerful. Embrace it. Rest in it. It is beautiful. It is good.
I don't think I'll ever understand how much He loves me. I don't think I will ever fully wrap my mind around the measures Christ took to give me beauty. But coming from the girl who doesn't like to exercise, can't manage a minute of her time, and will always sinfully look for something wrong with her body: I don't want to be like this.
I want beauty. Real beauty.
Beauty that doesn't fade and beauty that is outside of what I am.
That's what I'm crying for. That's what I'm singing for. That's what I'm living for.
Real beauty that will one day be mine for eternity.
It's not anywhere around here, you guys. It's not in my closet, it's not on my scale. It's not even in the diamond ring we Auburn girls seem to obsess over one day having.
I'm not finding it until God brings me home.
So, let's decide to stop. Shed the layers. Shed the leotards. And sink into His beautiful blood.