(Photo courtesy of healinghopeproject.org)
By Zelda Dominguez
“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
– Galatians 5:1 (MSG)
Last year I taught a group of girls. I asked them if there was one thing they disliked about themselves. The girls instantly replied one by one: My hair, my weight, my smile, my height, my face, and so on. Isn’t it interesting how we perceive ourselves?
Yet, Our Creator calls us His masterpiece (Psalm 139:14 NLT)! Wow! The definition of masterpiece is an artist or craftsman’s best piece of work; a work done with extraordinary skill. And if we are God’s masterpiece, God doesn’t make any mistakes or junk. The Bible says in Genesis that God created all creation and said it was very good. In the Hebrew text, good also means “beautiful.”
So I began to tell them the story about a girl I used to know. Although she was assertive, she was insecure and sought the approval of others. By the time she went to high school, the girl was self-conscious and as a result of a poor self image, visited the restroom after each class to look in the mirror and examine herself to see if her looks were just right.
Her first boyfriend was controlling and fed into her insecurities. He liked her insecurities because they caused her to be dependent on him. He would tell her, “No one will ever love you like I do!” And in fear, she believed it! Although she didn’t have a personal relationship with God, she believed in God and prayed often. And after several years of sensing that God’s answer was to break up the relationship with her boyfriend, she still desperately yearned to be loved and accepted for who she was. So, this young girl began to lose weight, discovering her self-esteem in her appearance, and began to date again.
Now in her twenties this brunette met a new guy and was immediately attracted to him. But, she was unconvinced he would even be interested in her. Soon they began to date and as an athletic guy, the two started to work out together every day even when she was extremely fatigued from work. She wanted him to like her.
In three months he proposed! It was like a dream come true to her but this girl was blinded by this guy because he wasn’t the answer to what she needed to bring her happiness. Giving him time to see if he still felt the same way (seven months later) he asked her again on her birthday.
However, this girl became self-absorbed with her weight. She’d limit herself to eat one Snickers candy bar and a soda all day. It became an obsession for her. Her focus became him, not wanting to lose him and an intense fear of gaining weight. This was before they had a name for eating disorders and from the sounds of it this girl probably had one.
Stressed, and tired of trying to keep up, she began to feel guilty when she ate and started taking laxatives. This girl was spiraling downward quickly. No one knew, but her body couldn’t lie. In reality she was a size seven, but in her distorted view it wasn’t enough.
They ended up getting engaged, but in the end he broke up with her. The very thing this girl worked so hard to keep was gone. Devastated and brokenhearted, her body was crying for help. She was sick and laid up for nine months with exhaustion, and multiple other symptoms. That was the beginning of her journey of coming to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. But before that, one sleepless night, she cried out to Jesus to heal her, and He did!
So, have you ever looked into a carnival mirror and laughed as you saw your face and body distort? Those mirrors are fun but it would be terrible if their effects persisted in everyday life. And yet in a way, that is what has taken place. Somewhere along the way beauty became distorted. But it can also be renewed!
It’s so important to not value yourself by a guy’s view of you. Instead, realize that true beauty comes from God. Stop waiting to be loved by the world and receive God’s love! Stop listening to culture and listen to the Creator. His love is the only true, satisfying and eternal love. God also says we are His masterpiece to do good things He planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 5:15 in the New Kings James Version says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
He is the only one that can fill the void in our hearts. When we receive Christ into our lives, we have a new identity in Him. We are complete, we are loved, we are renewed, we are forgiven, we are secure, we are accepted, we are cared for, we are content, we are valued, we are set free, we are beautiful and we are His. How do I know? I was the girl in the story.