Through my recent reading of the book Freedom from Performing, I found myself sifting through my emotions and feelings about who I am—in my own eyes as well as in the eyes of the Lord. The way I see myself is incredibly different than how the Lord does. When he sees me, he sees beauty, but when I look at myself, all I see are my mistakes and weaknesses glaring back.

I’ve noticed that in church circles, it’s easy for us to dwell on how “wretched” we are and throw that word around like confetti.

The problem is that I am all too aware of that fact; my personal struggle is not so much in realizing my own sins but in embracing the truth that Christ has made me righteous. More than being reminded of my wretchedness, I need to be reminded about my righteousness.

As I was reading and praying through this book, I tried to wrap my head around this righteousness of mine and what it truly means. It’s hard to grapple with, to try to make yourself internalize it. I don’t know that I really can. And I became discouraged at myself even over that!

Then a verse from Song of Songs came to mind: “I am dark, but lovely.”

The woman in the story was well aware of her shortcomings; in a time when a fair complexion was prized over tanned skin, she acknowledged that, compared to everyone else, she fell short here. And yet, she knew that beneath it all, she was lovely. Her lover agrees, calling her “O most beautiful woman,” “a lily among thorns.” She knew this truth about her real beauty, even though her circumstances may have spoken otherwise.

Likewise, I am all too aware of my shortcomings, the “dark” things about me. But I must remind myself that that is not all there is. I am more than those shortcomings. I am lovely, because of Whom I am loved by. The One who indeed calls me “beautiful.”

So though I may not feel it, I whisper to myself over and over again, “I am dark, but I am lovely.” Slowly, I’m learning to push through the veil of my own wretchedness and get a glimpse of the righteousness I have through Christ.

Slowly…

“Dark, but lovely. Dark, but lovely…”

Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."

Feel free to learn more at her blog, Life Blessons.


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