Right now I am not wearing anything exceptionally beautiful. The fit of my thrifted and hand-me-down clothes appear a bit odd. My makeup is done, and my hair is braided, but that has become pretty normal for me as of late. Sure, my nails are freshly painted, but they’re smudged from a few careless and impatient mistakes. I am not perfectly put together. I’m aware of my flaws. However, in this moment, I feel incredibly content with myself. I might even dare to say that I feel beautiful.
I could be dressed to the nines, polished beautifully, adorned with the perfect amount of jewelry, and yet still feel unlovely. This has seemed to be the norm for me throughout my life. I have always been annoyed by some (or many, if i’m being honest) little flaws or slight imperfections in any given moment or day. I could even look in the mirror and let my thoughts about that moment ruin my whole day. One time I actually skipped class because of it. I know that we are all our own worst critics, but I've found that my self-criticism seems to slip out of my mind and into conversations that they have no place in. Each time this happens, I am aware of the damage I do to myself and to my friendships, but I can’t seem to stop myself from spilling it out in this unhelpful way. I’m still working on that. I’ve got a long ways to go.
"Jesus looked at them intently and said,“Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God” (Mark 10:27 NLT).
I have always tried to lift other people up. I would consider myself a kind person when it comes to how I relate to others. I love to see how people’s faces brighten when something kind is spoken over them. I strive to look for the best in other people, and I pray to have my eyes opened when I can't. The places where I lack love don’t usually have anything to do with others. My struggle seems to lie in being loving enough to extend these same courtesies to myself. God has brought this to my attention more intently as of late. Today he made sure to put it right in front of my face so that I could confront it.
Earlier today I had lunch with a dear friend. After the initial small talk, our conversation turned to reveal some of our deepest insecurities, but in a healthy and helpful way. After speaking the value that we each saw in the other person, we lifted each other up in prayer. It was a beautiful moment that put me in a better mood, and gave me a better mindset for the rest of my day. Something she said during our conversation caught my attention. She mentioned that speaking truth over ourselves, whether scripture or otherwise, is a necessary and crucial part of our lives as believers. I needed that reminder today.
"The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:31 NLT, emphasis added).
I don’t think i’m cured of negative thoughts, nor will I ever be. We all fight a battle in order to keep our minds on things that are good and true. Far too often I forget this. I forget that I have to actually fight for truth and goodness. Today I was reminded of the fight, and came alongside another to combat the negativity together with Christ. The cool thing about this battle is that it has already been won. The reason my mood improves after I speak biblical truth over myself or another is because all the heavy lifting has been done by Jesus. I get to fight knowing that it will end in victory. Today was a good day. Today I am choosing to celebrate the little victories in life.
My prayer is that you will be reminded to fight for the good. My prayer is that you learn to treat yourself kindly today and each day thereafter. My prayer is that you also celebrate your little victories and the good days. My prayer is that you give yourself grace and move on after the bad days. Most of all, I pray that you would find your help and your hope in this wonderful Jesus who makes all things possible, and who restores joy. He is for us!
"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us” (Romans 8:31 NLT)?