Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To me, you are perfect

This is from one of my favorite movies Love Actually. I think I may have Patrick get his picture made with a sign like this. I am blessed to have a husband who really does think this. So why can't I say this to myself?
Unfortunately, I am bombarded by the images of what the world says is perfect. Believe me, I in no way measure up. I don't think I did even before I sacrificed my body for the team and had three children. If I didn't before, there no way I can measure up now. No matter how consistently I work out and eat right, I am faced with a body that only surgery (and thousands of dollars) can fix.
And because I don't measure up to these standards that I have accepted as truth, I demean myself even more with my thoughts. When I don't see what I want to see in the mirror, say mean things to myself in my head. This self talk, as counselors would call it, extends into my interactions with others. I heard a local pastor say in a recent sermon that what you are thinking about, is what you look for and therefore, what you see. Wow! How true. What I am thinking about is how unworthy I am, so I look for and "see" confirmation of that in my relationship with others. You can't talk to me right now? You must not think I am important enough. You already have plans this weekend? You must think I am not good enough to hang out with.
Again when my thoughts betray me, I must turn to the source of truth. His word tells me that I don't need to be concerned with what the world defines as beauty. He defines beauty as those who fear Him. In Proverbs 31:30, we are told "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised". From what I have read charm, in this verse, means form. While the world tells us that form and looks define our beauty, these are things we cannot control. Over time these things fade, no matter who you are. What we do have control over is our inner thoughts and actions towards others. This is how God's word spells out the way He defines beauty.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." 1 Peter 3:4
From now on when these thoughts enter my head, I will recite these verses and turn my thoughts towards Him. I will begin to measure myself against His definition of beauty. I know that if I can do this He will be saying - Candace - to me, you are perfect.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Confession is good for the soul!

I have to confess that I am a mess. The whole put-together, happy wife and mom of three, full time teacher, got everything under control appearance is an act. I am really just an insecure and emotionally unstable wreck. This week has not been good. It has actually been horrible. I have been on the verge of tears all day, just about every day this week. I think Patrick even wondered if I was going to be okay at times. And, while I know that things will work out and nothing earth-shattering really happened, it just seems that when one thing goes wrong, some other insecurities rear their ugly heads. It is amazing how that always happens. A wave of failures and insecurities have flooded my thoughts this week. It has left me feeling lonely, invisible, unimportant, and overlooked. My prayers have gone unanswered and my feelings have remained hurt.
However, while my feelings and thoughts are real, it doesn't mean they are true. The Lord has been so faithful to me in the midst of my pain. Though my thoughts may betray me, He never will. Through this time of insecurity, I cling to the promises that He offers though his word. He sees me and He knows how I am feeling. Isaiah 49:16 says "See, I have engraved you in the palm of my hand." I am not like the things we write on our hands in pen so we won't forget, only to was it off a few hours later and then accidentily forget. No - my name doesn't wash off - I am engraved in His hand. He doesn't forget me. His word also tells me that He collects my tears in a bottle in Psalm 56:8. He sees my hurt and I am not walking through this alone, although I have wondered this week how big my bottle of tears must be. No matter how many times people let me down or when things don't go my way, I know that my God is walking with me and cares for me. So, when these thoughts seem to overwhelm me, I will rest of His words. They are the truth that I cling too.