God’s Perspective: True Perspective
Perspective: How we look at ourselves and how we think others see us can have a profound impact on our self-worth. Seeing ourselves from God’s perspective: true perspective, is the best way to achieve a healthy self-image.
The World’s Perspective
As a teenager, I was very attractive and had a good figure. However, I didn’t see myself that way. I struggled with poor self-esteem. It’s no wonder. I grew up seeing unrealistic pictures of women all around me. They were everywhere I went: in magazines, movies, television, advertisements, bulletin boards. I couldn’t turn on the television, go to the grocery store, or drive down a highway without seeing these fantasy women. I began to think that was how I should look. I didn’t realize that the models themselves didn’t look that way. They are often airbrushed and photoshopped to accentuate details that turn them into what the world sees as desirable. In comparison, I wasn’t as tall, as thin, as pretty, or as sexy. I just didn’t measure up.
Being a teenage girl, I was interested in boys and wanted them to like me. But, they were seeing all of these images as well. And they had developed unrealistic expectations. It became a competition between the girls to gain the boys’ attention. I thought that, if I wanted a boy to like me, I had to look like the women in the media. I learned to compare myself with the impossible and, of course, I fell short.
I wasted many years trying to conform to what I thought the world wanted me to be. I allowed their perception of my imperfections to rule how I felt about myself. I based my self-worth on what I looked like on the outside; something I couldn’t change.
As I grew in Christ and matured in my faith, I discovered that God looks at our hearts. The outside doesn’t matter to Him. He knows that our true beauty is in our attitudes and the love we show.
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” I Peter 3:3-4
Conforming to the World’s Perspective
That was the 70’s. But, something I heard recently made me think that today is even harder on teenagers than it was back then.
As I was getting dressed after a swim in the pool, I heard a conversation in the area next to me. A row of lockers separated us so I could not see who was speaking. It was a young girl talking with her mother. She was crying and saying she wanted people to like her. She thought she should have cosmetic surgery and then everyone would like her. As I got ready to leave, I would walk by them. I expected to see a homely girl with braces and an overweight body. I was shocked when I passed by and saw a very beautiful girl with long, flowing hair and not an ounce of fat on her. Most guys would love to walk into the high school prom with a girl that pretty on his arm.
So, what made her think that she needed surgery in order to be liked? In all likelihood, it was probably an aspect of her personality that caused her peers to treat her badly or perhaps it was jealousy over her good looks. But, because she attributed it to her outer looks, she was willing to go through life-altering surgery to attempt to fix it.
With today’s digital techniques in making more exaggerated images and advances in cosmetic surgery, comes the ability to conform (or should I say deform) ourselves into fantasy characters. But without working on our attitudes and character, we only change the surface. And with that mindset, we will always be critical of our appearance. We will never be good enough.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for a man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
God, in His wisdom, created each one of us differently. He made some of us short, some tall. Some have big noses and others have big feet. Yet God, who is all-knowing, intentionally gave us various physical features and He has a specific plan for every individual.
We can look for years for a special love. But if we are looking just on the surface, making our choice depending on what someone looks like, we will inevitably be challenged to keep the relationship going when we discover that we have very different outlooks on life, beliefs, values, raising children, and everything that really matters.
When we discover that perfect person that God has for us, and we choose them for their personality and the love inside their hearts. The surface details are aspects we will grow to love because we already love their heart. We are drawn to their outer looks because we love who they are on the inside.
So, don’t be concerned about your outer looks. Work on what really matters: your heart.
“I desire therefore … that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” I Timothy 2:8-10
Please leave a comment. We always love to hear from you!