“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him.’ The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Like Samuel, I think we’re all guilt of judging either ourselves or others by outward appearances, whether we are aware of it or not. It seems to be a subconscious human habit that is difficult to part from without conscious effort.
I’ve always struggled with my appearance. That’s not to say I don’t think I’m beautiful, because I do. I struggle more with envy and jealousy of others. Which God tells us is a sin. No matter how aware I am of my health, or how “on top if it” I think I am, its never good enough. Somebody else is always richer, skinnier, prettier, or smarter.
With the advent of Pinterest, I’ve found my tendency to be envious or jealous, or even self-loathing, has increased tenfold. Don’t get me wrong, Pinterest has its advantages for sure (hell000o…life hacks anyone?), but like many things in life there is a line in the sand between practicality and rationality. A certain point when the information we’re bombarded with is no longer useful, but actually harmful.
God tells us that we are enough. That HE is enough. He cares about our internal beauty, not our external beauty. I could look like Gisele Bundchen, but if I’m not a very nice person I might as well look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of the bodies God has blessed us with, we absolutely should! Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, bought with a price, so we should glorify God in our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Good nutrition and sufficient exercise are proven necessary in keeping us healthy. But again, there is a line in the sand between being cautious and being obsessive—moderation and excessiveness.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
There is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make him love me less. Well, I mean, let’s face it, I can’t make God do anything…but you get the point. When I’m eating right, exercising everyday, getting enough sleep and devoting time to God as well as my studies–God loves me. And when I’m drinking all the alcohol I can get my hands on, behind my loved one’s backs, he sees everything yet loves me still. But see, there’s a catch–God loves me regardless, but am I loving on God?
The way I see it, my physical health opens the door to my emotional and spiritual health. And I’m not talking about when I catch a cold or the flu, I’m talking about self-destructive sickness, about intentionally putting my body through hell (for whatever reason, I’ll get back to you on that).
When I feel at my best physically, my mind is clear and uncluttered and I’m fully able to focus my attention on God because I am unashamed. When I drink, I feel ashamed and I try to hide from God. But you can’t hide from God, he’s God!
So I pray…
Dear God, I want to know that I am enough. I want to take care of my body not because I want to look my best on the outside, but because I want to feel my best on the inside and be able to fully rejoice in your goodness! To live in your radiant light! When I drink I cast a shadow over this radiance, I’m blind to your grace and mercy. I pray that you will continue to remind me that I am enough, that my body is a temple in which you dwell, and that I can come to you in all circumstances–unashamed. Thank you for these 34 days of sobriety, and thank you in advance for the many more to come.