June 31, 2009
Beauty & Worth
Angela L. Craig
We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend", Angela Craig.
Song of Songs 4:7 (NIV) “All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Friend To Friend
Beauty and worth - these two concepts seem to be the ones we as women struggle with most. Would you agree?
It is not hard to figure out how this has happened. Turn on any television or open any magazine and you are faced with the female “expectation.” In the eighties, we saw the commercial, “I can bring home the bacon…fry it up in a pan…and never let you forget you’re a man.” Now in 2009, we have American Idol’s “Bikini Girl.” Fabulous!
The report, Beauty at any Cost, noted U.S. women spent some $7 billion a year on cosmetics and beauty products. Friends, just think of the time and money we invest in an attempt to look better. Society has us convinced that the pursuit of beauty will reward us with approval and happiness, but honestly, do we feel any better about ourselves? Do we feel more beautiful or more valued?
A few nights ago, I was reading Eugene Peterson’s book, Run with the Horses-The Quest for Life at Its Best in which the author tells the story of the Prophet Jeremiah from Jeremiah, Chapter 13. The words absolutely jumped off the page! I actually screamed so loud that my poor husband thought I was on fire. In reality, it was the gift of God giving me a big “aha moment” through this narrative. I pray that you hear His voice as you read these words too!
One day in the bazaar, he [Jeremiah] had bought a fine linen garment, the kind worn for a wedding ceremony or a religious festival. I always imagine Jeremiah making a production out of the purchase, spending most of the afternoon bargaining with the shopkeeper (not in itself an unusual practice in the Middle East) so that a lot of people would know of the purchase. The word would get around: “What is Jeremiah buying that fine linen garment for? What special event is coming up? What was he invited to that we weren’t?”
Then Jeremiah made a show of wadding up this beautiful piece of clothing and sticking it in a rock crevice to keep it safe until the time that he was going to wear it. Later he went back to retrieve it, as if to wear it for the special occasion. It was rotten, in tatters because of exposure to the elements and the insects.
The people got the message: Israel was the fine garment that God wanted to wear, but she wasn’t ready yet to be used for His purposes. She wanted to live an ordinary life first, so she wadded herself up and stuffed herself into the secure routines, separating herself from what God had at great cost purchased her for, but when that day comes, it will turn out that she is good for nothing. The beautiful moral life that she set aside for a more convenient day will turn out, when she picks it up, to be mildewed and moth-eaten.1
When I read that excerpt, I felt like the writer made a mistake. He really meant to put my name in the place of Israel. It should have read: Angela got the message. Angela was the fine garment that God wanted to wear, but she wasn’t ready yet to be used for His purposes. She wanted to live an ordinary life first, so she wadded herself up and stuffed herself into the secure routines, separating herself from what God had at great cost purchased her for.
You see ladies, we have no idea that we are the finest linen, bought at the highest price, loved and cherished by the King of all kings! If we did, we would quit trying so hard to be everything that the world expects us to be. Instead of stuffing ourselves into a crevice to be destroyed by mildew and moths, we would live as God-made, gifted women, like the beautiful garment He created us to be.
It is time to stop the masquerade. It is through God’s eyes – not the world’s - that we need to view and capture our true beauty and worth.
“All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Songs 4: 7 NIV).
Dear Heavenly Father, I need to see my beauty and worth through Your eyes, not the opinions of the world. Help me. Bring my mind into alignment with what the Bible says about me and my purpose on earth. Surround me with encouraging people of faith that will build me up and not tear me down. Thank You for making me a woman of beauty and worth!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It Is Your Turn
1) You are beautiful and you have immeasurable worth. Meditate on Psalm 139. If you do not have a Bible, you can look up this passage online at: www.crosswalk.com under the heading “Search the Bible” on the right side of the home page.
2) Self-care is important but sometimes beauty can become an obsession and negative self-talk can become destructive. Evaluate how much time, money, or negative self-talk you spend on outer beauty. Is there anything that leaves you feeling mildewed or moth-eaten? Ask God to help spotlight areas which may be hidden to you. A trusted friend can be helpful at seeing these areas as well.
3) Connecting with others by enrolling in Mary’s Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey.
1 Peterson, Eugene. Run With The Horses – The Quest for Life at Its Best. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books (1983) Page 140.
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