I want to start off with the disclaimer that I'm not minimizing God's glory here. But to be totally honest, I've pretty much felt like damaged goods for awhile now. I mean, I know God loves me, and my family, and some close friends, but.. other than that what am I? What value do I hold? Satan has definitely taken this as an opportune time to act on these secret insecurities, which only makes them more difficult (but not impossible) to combat. The one I'm struggling with most right now is my appearance.
My Great-Aunt was once concerned about how bad my CF was getting (pre-transplant). She didn't quite understand CF but she was scared and compassionate towards my situation. She leaned forward and with the softest voice asked me, "Will it ever go away?" I smiled and replied, "No, it won't go away." I told her I was ok though and reassured her with another smile even though my breathlessness and constant coughing told her otherwise. She wasn't trying to be funny, but she felt she needed to encourage me. She leaned forward and said, "Well.. at least you're pretty."
It sounds like a dumb story but I held onto it. I loved that she thought I was pretty. She only meant it as helpful, but my twisted mind clung to it, both being thankful that my CF was very physically evident (at that point) and that if nothing else, at least I'm pretty.
The problem with me giving such weight to that mindset is after I got really sick, my appearance changed. My Aunt lived a long life and passed away, but that also meant she couldn't be here now to tell me I'm still pretty. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have believed her. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Anyway, my once thin face puffed out. Fast forward to post transplant - my face swelled to such a degree that my eyes were squished. From my perspective, I was not even recognizable as myself. The swelling went down, but never fully. I've gotten pretty used to my round puffer-fish face. The medical term for my face is "moon face" and many transplant and CFers on steroids have it. But I look at some others who don't. Their faces went totally back to normal, and even now as I type that, I can't help but tear up a little.. so let's move on. Just to touch - the other issue I'm having is my stomach and comparing my body with other girls who have totally flat stomachs (and thin faces may I just add.) They're the whole package it seems, right? In my perspective, I'm not even worth a second glance.
Thankfully, God is on top of this when I feel like losing this comparison battle. And just like God, he meets us exactly where we need him to, which for me was probably the equivalent of kindergarten. He reminded me that even the people I consider the most beautiful and perfect are not even close to him. Despite my skewed thinking, I need to remember that HE is the only one who is perfect and truly beautiful. And to even take it further, I need to reset my eyes to not only recognize that, but to stop idolizing something that isn't him, and essentially minimizing his glory every time I do it. (Sorry about that again, God.)
He also has perfect timing for everything. This month's theme for Liquid Church is "The Comparison Trap." As soon as I heard that's what they were studying this month, I knew God would use that to heal my brokenness, and reset my perspective to be more inline with his. The sermon was great but one particular thing that stuck out to me was that when I'm enviously comparing, I'm sinning. In that moment, I'm ignoring all the blessings and love Jesus has poured on me, and 1) just wanting more and more - taking for granted what I have - not being content, 2) focusing on qualities that do not delight God. Do you really think God is Heaven pointing down at a girl smiling because her stomach is flat or because she is attractive to other people? My guess is no. He's looking at our innermost thoughts and hearts. And when I'm totally caught up in not thinking I'm pretty, my thoughts and heart shift to a place where I'm no longer honoring him. Plus, I should like my face and body, even if no one else on earth did. I know that's a bit dramatic, but let's go worse case scenario for this situation - Jesus - the Alpha and Omega - is the only one I should go to for my confidence, reassurance and value. Also, I had the realization that I'm not damaged goods. I'm upgraded. Seriously, how many times does your smart phone have to update to keep it going with the newest, or best technology? That's essentially what God did for me; he gave me an upgrade to get the newest, best life I could have.
It's going to be an ongoing struggle, but at this point, with the number of times I've posted this verse, I feel like I could just be like, " Come on, say it with me!"
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
Now sure, this isn't anything life threatening - but isn't that just so nice of God to care about the huge, ginormous, seriously scary, I-have-2-weeks to live- stuff, and also the seemingly insignificant I-don't-feel-pretty stuff? Thanks for that, too, Jesus.
Jesus Christ alone gives me value because God is love.