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I was spending time with a friend a few months ago and she was really excited to have a new smart phone. While we were bargain hunting at Goodwill she showed me her phone’s screen and an avatar on it. Have you ever seen WeeWorld characters? They’re all a bit on the pudgy side. This WeeMee had plain hair and was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, she was a bit frumpy and I thought it was one she’d made of me. In reality that was one she’d made of herself and she showed me the one that she made of me that pops up anytime I called her. This one had beautiful, flowing blonde hair, blue eyes, flashy clothes, and was holding a microphone. She looked as much like a superstar as any WeeMee possibly could. I didn’t think it resembled me one bit. I thought, “I don’t sing anymore, my hair isn’t that blonde and there isn’t anything glamorous about me”. This was during a time in my life when my health had tanked, I was struggling with my weight and I felt as un-glamorous as anyone possibly could. How on earth could that be the way my friend sees me?

The thing is, many moons ago, I saw myself the same way she did. I was in college, I was the mother of one and wasn’t carrying around any extra weight. I had no health issues, I could workout for hours without passing out and the world looked promising. My mind was focused on my current studies and my future career. Fast forward, gulp, 14 years (this month), and I’m nearing “the big” birthday, I’m coming out of a season of being sick all-the-time, I am carrying around extra weight, my college dreams are nowhere to be found, walking seems to be the extent of my workouts, and I feel like I’m constantly running behind. I used to dress up for no reason at all and now I wear t-shirts and jeans…almost always.

Here’s the thing, the way I see myself now is a big disappointment compared to the way I used to see myself- if I’m only looking on the outside. If I take a moment to look inwardly I can see that I’m much more compassionate toward others now than I was before I got sick. I had no sympathy for those who didn’t pull themselves up ” by their boot straps” and keep going until I literally couldn’t stand up myself. I was proud of my strength until I had no strength left. I had no sympathy for those bogged down in their circumstances until no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change my own. God used those circumstances to bring about things in me that I lacked. Compassion, sympathy, grace, peace, love, joy- hmmm… this is starting to sound like the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). So even though “outwardly I was wasting away”  inwardly I was being renewed (2 Corinthians 4:16). I truly believe that’s far more beautiful than if I was physically glamorous. Although I’m not hoping to replace the troll under the bridge anytime soon either (wink).

And that, my friends, is God’s purpose being accomplished in us. These bodies we walk around in are in a constant state of wasting away. But God, who sees the end from the beginning, sees us in light of eternity. He knows who we were, He sees who we are, and He sees who we will be- tomorrow and for eternity.

What’s your story? Has your view of yourself changed over the years? Do you like what you see? I think that the most important question is how do you think that God sees you? I’d like to encourage you to ask Him how He sees you and ask Him to speak to you in a way that you can hear it and understand.

Food for thought:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18– Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I want to encourage you today: When you’re running to car line, grocery shopping, homeschooling your kids, if you’re up to your elbows in snotty tissues and greasy dishes, whether you’re carrying around extra pounds or not…You are beautiful.