So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. . . Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
Genesis 1:27, 31 (NLT)
Some days I look at my thirty-eight-year-old face in the mirror and wonder how I could possibly be attractive, even to my husband. I notice the pores that never shrank, the blotchiness that makes my cheeks look flushed (but not in a cute way), the fold lines on my neck I wish I could iron out. I see my protruding belly in the mirror and swear I must look thirty weeks pregnant, and wonder if I might regain some of my youthfulness if I could just stop eating whatever i want to.
So I pull on my tummy-tucking jeggings and wear a tunic-length shirt to hide the bulges. I patch up the acne scars and dark bags under my eyes with a stick of concealer and blend in another layer of liquid foundation. It’s nearly impossible to find the right shade for my skin color, so two are often better than one. I curl my stubbornly straight eyelashes, inevitably pulling some of them out, and I wear mascara to give the illusion that my almond-shaped eyes are bigger than they really are.
When God made human beings and finished His work of creation, He looked at all He had made and called it very good. Everything was unaltered, natural, and pure. Nothing was hidden, covered, or shamed, because everything in its most basic form was already very good.
I hardly ever say that what I see in the mirror is very good, and I know there will still be days when I slather on my makeup, curl my eyelashes, and tuck in my belly, hoping to see someone new looking back at me.
I don’t have a face or body the world might deem pretty or sexy, and as time passes, even what seems decent now will soon fade away. But I’m slowly learning to respect what is mine — my almond eyes, my flat nose, my round face — and I’m speaking new words over myself:
You are very good.
Story by Grace P. Cho from Week 3, Day 5 of the Courageous Joy Bible Study
While God clearly places much more value on our insides than our outsides, He is the artist who designed our physical bodies. He made us in His image, and then, when He sat back to evaluate His work, He said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God never looks at us and thinks, Well, if only I’d made her eyes a little bigger or her legs a little thinner or her hair a little smoother . . . no! He looks at us and calls us very good.
In our visually oriented society, it can be hard not to feel critical of our appearance. This world offers no shortage of physical standards that are impossible to meet, leaving us perpetually grasping for something we will never reach. Insecurity about our appearance is a reasonable response, but it means we have believed that what the world says matters more than what the Lord says. The better, healthier, holier response is to turn our eyes away from our own reflection and toward God.
When we gaze upon Him and then see ourselves through His eyes, we can’t help but feel love and joy for the person He’s made us to be. As David wrote in Psalm 34:5, “those who look to [God] are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (ESV).
What do you see when you look in the mirror? How does your appearance — and your opinion of it — affect how you believe God sees you? Looking at ourselves with affection rather than criticism can be a challenge. How will you courageously find joy in God’s creation when you face yourself in the mirror this week?
God, thank You for understanding how damaging this world can be to my sense of value and worth. Thank You for telling me over and over in Scripture that You made me perfectly and that You think I’m beautiful. I know my heart matters more than my hair or hips. When I’m hard on myself, remind me to turn my gaze to You. Continue to make me more like You every day so that I reflect my Creator inside and out. Thank You, Lord. I love You. Amen.
We hope you loved this excerpt from the Courageous Joy Bible Study, written by Mary Carver and featuring stories from the (in)courage community! Courageous Joy is available wherever books are sold:
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