Jen’s Gem: You’re loved just as you are.
A few years ago, my son lost a lot of weight – close to thirty pounds. Funny thing was, at six feet tall, I never saw him as needing to do so, but afterwards? What a difference! He has maintained this weight loss, give or take five pounds from time to time, and before COVID-19, was a gym rat.
When his gym closed, he began to replace his workouts with walks around our complex. Not satisfied with just this, he purchased a pull-up bar. As we connected the contraption to the door frame, I prayed that the “walls would not come tumbling down.”
He slowly began to gain confidence and strength. A six pack is now emerging and biceps are growing. The other day, brightly-colored exercise bands arrived to augment his routine. I’ve been asked to join him and I’m hopeful that perhaps like the proverbial needle in a haystack, I may find a muscle or two.
My son enjoys his home workouts and even when restrictions are lifted, he’s rethinking his gym membership. He may have just learned the important life lesson of needs vs. wants.
One of the questions he’s been asking me lately is why his appearance looks different in the various mirrors in our house versus when he looks down at himself. I’ve no good answer other than mirrors are different and perhaps our perception of ourselves is flawed because of the angle of our vision and of course, the inherent biases we have towards our looks.
“I just want to see myself for what I really look like!” was his response. He shared that there is a “truth mirror” on the market that gives you an exact reflection of what you look like. While I seriously doubt this is accurate, here’s what I do know.
Our perception of ourselves is made up of a collection of our past experiences, decisions, and accomplishments. If these were mostly positive, we may think highly of ourselves. The opposite, of course, is true as well.
What I and my son always keep in mind is that whether we have six packs or six thigh rolls makes no difference to God. He loves us for who we are right now. He sees past our job titles and He sees us – His children, whom He created in His image and guess what –that’s perfect!
He does not see the gray hairs and extra pounds that have “magically” appeared over the last 60 days of the quarantine. He sees our hearts. He sees the food donations we’ve made, the loving conversations at the dinner table, or the helping hand to a friend in need. God’s mirror is much different than those we’re accustomed to.
The outside package means little to Him – it’s temporary. It’s our insides He cares most about. This is what is eternal and what will live forever.
Once we wrap our minds around how God see us, we will never again look for our value elsewhere. We will no longer think we are worthy only when we have another college degree, another business venture, more money, nicer house, or when we lose those pesky five pounds. We will see ourselves as God’s perfect creation, worthy in His eyes 24/7/365.
I spent most of my life thinking my value was in all of those external things. But, guess what? My MBA didn’t keep me from being laid off twice. My awards did not keep my business from failing. My corporate salary did not keep me from drowning in five-figure debt.
What saved me was my faith in God and His promises, which have enabled me to see that my value was intrinsically woven into me from before I was even born.
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139: 13-14)
I like to think that because of Jesus, God sees us through a pair of rose-colored glasses. That is, He sees the good stuff in us, not the bad. His lens of unconditional love and acceptance always provides the same reflection – perfection. It does not deceive and even though there may be a few extra pounds or a boatload of poor decisions, He never changes His mind about us. Ever.
This week I’d like to encourage you to see yourself as God sees you – as His child, loved beyond measure, worthy, and whole. With or without a six pack, God loves you just the way you are. That’s the best truth around!