For three years of my life, following college, I was obsessed with having my nails done. I found it interesting the other day that as I sat down to dinner with a friend and we discussed this she had never noticed that I always had perfectly manicured nails. You see, my sweet friend Amber could care less what my nails look like, she cares about my soul.
As many women do, I see flaws in my appearance. My nails were an imperfection that could be fixed fairly easily (not inexpensively though). I had come to the stance that having my nails done, gave me a comfort of having my life together a little more. Some of you may think that is insane, others may be able to relate.
This seed of security was set deep inside of me when I was in a relationship shortly out of college. My boyfriend at the time was a very active and in-shape individual. He also often pointed out things that he did or did not approve of when other people were around, such as, how leggings might look on an individual, how a girl’s nails were done nicely, or if someone in the movie we were watching was “looking good”. Now, had this individual been dating someone who was confident in their own skin, these comments probably would have flown by with no weight. For me, they were printed in my mind.
For years, I placed my worth in how people reacted to me, what people thought of me, what accomplishments I could achieve, what accolades I acquired. I would sway like a tree in the wind, with the wind being relationships, friendships, soccer, work, social media, culture, etc.
Fast forward two years…
In January, my nails had grown out and it was about time to get them done again, but for once I actually considered just leaving them undone. Out of habit, I went to the nail salon one night after school and got a fill-in. Two days later, one broke. I wasn’t doing anything strenuous like lifting or work outside, I was at home doing simple chores. Well, alright then. I reacted by peeled off the remaining freshly done nails (absolutely not the least painful process ever) and went without for the first time in two years. And then, cold turkey, the nail obsession was done. -Side note, I by no means am bashing those that get their nails done, I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll get them done again. BUT – I was able to stop placing any value of my beauty, in something as simple as my nails.
Nails, Hair Length, Hair Color, Eyebrows, Eyelashes, Arms, Stomach. Thighs, Ankles, Toes…. My goodness the list of things women (and maybe men) pick themselves apart over could go on and on. It’s everywhere – Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Magazines, TV… How to get longer hair fast… the newest diet trend to lose weight… what makeup can slim and accent your face… The world tells us how much our worth is based upon material and physical things. Not even just the world. If we listen to some of the people around us at work, the gym, class, our partners, harsh family members, the list goes on and on. I was hearing all of this and I was missing the game changer.
My worth, is not valued in these things. My worth, is not based on my flesh that the world sees, but rather that which the Lord has blessed me with. My worth comes from the Lord. We are called to live in this world – this world of appearance, self-obsession, and continual pursuit of the next best – but not of this world. I sure was living here, I let it be my home. I was embracing all that the world had to tell me, and I was never enough. NEVER.
nev·er – ˈnevər/ adverb 1. at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever. synonyms: not ever, at no time, not at any time, not once; 2. not at all.
Well, that sounds pretty hopeless.
But then, I found my hope. I found my hope in his words.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. -Psalm 139:13-15
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. –Luke 12:6-7
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. -1 Peter 3:3-4
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. –Song of Songs 4:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. -1 Samuel 16:7
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand, in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her oaths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. -Proverbs 3:15-18
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. –Proverbs 31:30
Every single day that I wake up, I have a choice. I can choose to focus on the flaws of my outer appearance, or I can chose every day to fight and be a woman the Lord would be proud of. I use to wake up and before my feet even hit the floor, the devil had defeated me. I still have some days that I don’t even make it to the front door before something goes wrong. I do, however, recognize that I am not fighting this world. I’m not even fighting the negative person at work, the mad parent, the person speaking negatively of me. I am fighting something much more powerful that I cannot even see, and I am choosing to win. I hand that battle over to my father. Each day, I work to be the best I can be, so that when the day comes that I get to stand in front of my Dad in heaven, I can say I did my best to make him proud. I worked with the life he blessed me with, did my best to use the gifts he gave me, to spread his love and his hope each and every day, through my love, my hope, and my beauty that comes from within.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Whatever you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. –Philippians 4:8-9