Wednesday, November 13, 2013

God's Greater Story: More than Beauty

Like many other girls, I long wished my body was more closely aligned with our culture's standard of beauty. Wishing my thick, dark brown, wavy hair to be thinner, lighter, and straighter. My dark brown eyes to be green to blue. I've wished for defined cheek bones and straighter hips.

The church's response to the culture emphasizes to young women that we are uniquely made and beautiful in God's eyes. A few years ago I read a book by a christian author that instructed readers to stand naked in front of a mirror and thank God for each part of their body. Yeah, that didn't fix anything for me...I have listened as churches, inspirational speakers, books, Facebook posts, even Lady GaGa (!), all in unison declare: "I'm beautiful in my way 'cause God makes no mistakes".

There I was, amid all this womanly hurrah, still lost in dissatisfaction with my body.

It wasn't until recently that I realized "uniquely beautiful" is only a very small part of what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made. God's greater story is at work in my body.

It's happened too many times to count. Once, at my job, an Egyptian mistook me for being Egyptian. At a restaurant the Indian waiter mistook me for being Indian. A friend's Peruvian mother mistook me for being Peruvian. I have been assumed to be Guatemalan, Italian, Mexican, Pakistani... and each time, with a laugh, I say, "No, I'm from Texas!"

Yes, God's greater story is at work in my body. I have a God given purpose to minister to people of other cultures and He has crafted my body in such a way that I am easily accepted. No added barrier of being "foreign" with blue eyes and blond hair. My body is uniquely, beautifully, purposefully made.

Consider the blind man in the bible about whom Jesus said, "This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." And Queen Esther, whose physical beauty captivated the King, and she saved her people, the Jews, from annihilation. Consider Eric Little, the Scottish runner whose story is told in the movie Chariots of Fire, who said "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." I know of a surgeon who says the same things about his steady hands. And then there's Nick Vujicic, born without arms and legs, who ministers to millions all over the world. 

I marvel at God's greater story. He gifted me with talents, desires, and a purposefully created body all working together for one intent - to display and to be God's love in the world in such a way as only I can. 
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with You.
Psalm 139:13-18