Some of you may know that I used to be a contributor at Testifyblog.com. The blog went through some changes, and our past content was lost in the process. I am no longer writing for Testify, and since those posts are no longer out there in internet world, I hope to re-post some of that content intermittently until I get most of it into my archives here. If it is a repeat for you, I hope you’ll get something new from it this time.
I wanted to start with this one, because, let’s face it, I am still struggling with this subject, and I needed the reminder. Enjoy!
Be honest. What do you see in these pictures?
That is, after all, what they are on the surface. But that’s not what I see at all. Maybe it’s the photographer in me, but I see beauty in each of these pictures. Through my lens I see, not a pile of rubble, but the burned shell of a home that once sheltered a family, I see a wealth of memories, stories, and images of times gone by. I see, not vandalism, but art that gives life to the cold, industrial surface of a train. I see the artist behind it, I think of the talent he holds, I wonder where it could take him if someone would just deem him worth the time it takes to help him refocus his efforts in a more positive way. I see, not a rusted out truck, but the miles that brought it here, the teenage boy who was eager to drive it to the soda shop with his sweetheart, the hot sun and the torrential rains that brought out the deep red rust and curls of peeling paint.
I see beauty.
The ironic thing is, when I look at myself in the mirror, I see anything but beauty. I see the gray hairs starting to appear, seemingly overnight, no doubt a product of the worry and stress I’ve subjected myself to. I see the many many extra pounds I’ve allowed to take over my body because of my own laziness and lack of self control. I see the lines starting to form on my hands and my face, a testament to the years that have flown by before I could accomplish what I thought I should.
I see ugliness, failure, and disappointment.
And the sad thing? I know I’m not the only one. If you had to tell me what you honestly thought of yourself, holding nothing back, what would say? Many of you wouldn’t paint a very pretty picture for me. It’s just how we are. We spend our time picking ourselves apart, focusing on our faults, comparing ourselves to others who may be smarter, prettier, or more successful.
So how is it that I can find beauty in the burned up, graffiti covered, rusted out things of this earth, but not see the beauty in myself? When I look at that graffiti, I think of the artist behind it. I give him credit for his talent and his vision. But I was created by the Master artist! How can I not give Him credit for his work? How can I not look beyond the surface of His creation and see the beauty inside? He created me in His image. How insulting is it for me to see ugliness in that? How is that okay?
The fact is, it just isn’t okay. It’s not what God intended for us. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” God doesn’t make mistakes, He doesn’t make ugliness, He doesn’t set us up for failure and disappointment. We do those things to ourselves. It’s time to start accepting *His* image of us instead of ours, and allowing ourselves to live as though we truly believe it. There is no limit to the empowerment that comes from embracing who we are in Christ! The only thing standing in the way is us.
So? Get out of the way.