Fingerprints of God

Last night, my small girls bible study met and we talked about Self-Image. I picked the topic and led the discussion because this is a topic that is very important to me. I feel that everyone, girls especially, struggle with how they look and how they are seen by others. This is going to feature a lot of points I made last night, so if you were there, you don’t have to read it again, but you definitely can! I added more since last night, so make sure you see those new addins.

Our memory verse was Ephesians 2:10… 189b0db84a06cdc027bc7d5ede9d80a5

I chose this topic because far too often we see ourselves as flawed. We looked at one part of us, like our thighs, and think that they define us. We have let society and media tell us that we are not good enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough, etc… We shouldn’t care what society thinks of us. We SHOULD care what GOD thinks of US. We let ourselves think that how we see ourselves is how the whole world sees us. I see beautiful people everywhere. I have beautiful people completely surrounding me in every aspect of my life. and yet, if we wanted, we could list more things about ourselves that we don’t like then we do like. That needs to change. We to love ourselves and others, not hate.

When I think of self-image or self-esteem, I want to think of positive things. Things that lift me up and make me feel good. I want to look around me and see girls who I love thinking of themselves as unique and loved and beautiful.

I often think of the quote, “What God knows about me is more important than what others think about me.” It is not important what other people think about us because God knows us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Doesn’t that give you some comfort?

I chose this topic because I had a friend once who didn’t like my characteristics. They didn’t like how I acted and the things I said and did embarrassed them. And it destroyed me. Do you know what it is like to be a 13-14 year old? Stressful. You are already trying to figure out who you are going to be. AND then, someone who you thought of as a good friend tells you that you need to change because they don’t like how you are. I didn’t know how to be. I didn’t know how to act or what to say. I had always just been me and I always liked who I was. But I thought to have this friend I needed to change.

But that isn’t how life works. Trying to find yourself and who you are and what you will be is one of the hardest and most fulfilling things we can do. Finding ourselves requires being comfortable with our self-image.

Self-image is something that we all struggle with. Our age or gender doesn’t matter, for the most part. I say for the most part because my four-year old niece doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her at all. Everyone should think she is just adorable anyway.

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See? Totally adorable.

Self-image is something that everyone at certain ages and times struggles with. Society and media do not help our thinking of self-image. Self-image is something that we can be comfortable with one second and see a picture or someone can something and the next second, we are completely uncomfortable with.

I played this video last night and it doesn’t really matter how many times you have seen it, it always has an impact.

I really love this video because it is a constant reminder that the world sees us vastly different than we see ourselves. What if we learned to see ourselves the way everyone else sees us?

While I was preparing for bible study the past two weeks, I came across an article that really made an impact on me. It was written by a respected woman who was born with down syndrome. Jenny spent most of her youth wondering why God made her with Down Syndrome.  In high school, she was teased and mocked and laughed at. She would get off the bus every day, crying. Her mom would meet her and they would pray. Jenny’s mom told her that people used to say bad things about Jesus and call Him bad names, so He understood how she felt. Jenny’s mom told her that the real truth was only found in God’s Word and not in what other people say. Her mom told her if she could find a place in the bible where God called her a mistake or called her bad names, she would give Jenny $5,000. Jenny obviously didn’t find anything. God showed her that she was not a mistake ad actually a precious gift. She says, “If I spend my time wishing I was different, I will never get around to doing those things God want me to do. Sometimes Satan tries to put thought into my head and tell me that I am no good and stuff like that. That’s when I remember the Scripture in John 10:10 that says, ‘The thief comes to steal, and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest.'”

From Jenny’s article, I learned

  1. Jesus knows how we feel. When we feel like we are the only one who knows what it is like to go through what we are going through, we need to think of Jesus. Jesus knows how we feel.
  2. The real truth is only found in God’s Word and not in what other people say. John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
  3. We are God’s precious gift. Psalm 139:14 says, “You are beautiful, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
  4. Satan sends those bad thoughts about ourselves. If we let those bad thoughts continue, we are letting Satan win. God made us but far too often we let Satan control our thoughts when it comes to thinking about ourselves.

I get so inspired reading stories like Jenny’s. Reading stories of over-comers.Here is the link for all the Jenny’s story.  http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/what-god-says-about-me

I want to talk about jealously and comparison.

It is so easy to look at someone who looks like they have it all and be jealous of them. We could be sitting here thinking we are jealous for how skinny someone is and they could be sitting there thinking they are jealous of our confidence. The bible says in James 3:16, “For wherever there is jealously and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” I think that we truly need to try to guard our hearts and mind from jealously. “Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else’s life, is a minute spent wasting yours.”

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” That is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. I have caught myself thinking before, “Well at least I don’t…” followed by something that I see someone have or do that is not so good. We compare ourselves to others around us and it either builds us up or breaks us down. Comparison is way we use to make us feel good, but the more you think about it, the more it makes you seem small. “God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect. Let me add, God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not. And yet, we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others – usually comparing our weakness to their strengths. As a result we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.” No one is perfect. Everyone has flaws, but shouldn’t we spend our time celebrating the strengths of ourselves and those around us?

I found some quotes from different celebrities that I would like to share.

Melissa McCarthy says, “My weight? It is what it is. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. It’s about being content. and sometimes other priorities win.”

Miranda Kerr says, “A rose can never be a sunflower and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that’s like women too. I want to encourage women to embrace their own uniqueness.”

Jennifer Lawrence says, “What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb.”

DeeJae Harper says, “Be confident in the skin you are in because that is the only body you will ever have, the only place that will ever be solely yours. Even in you will never be as skinny as those super models, or the beauty who makes everyone stare, you can be beautiful in your own way. And you have to accept that and own it.”

Ann Landers says, “At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don’t care what they think. At 60, we discover that haven’t been thinking of us at all.”

Authentic Self

“Our sense or being a good person should not depend of what we do, but rather on who we are in Christ. We need to humble ourselves before Him, and He will honor us. Christians attain self-worth and esteem by having a right relationship with God. We can only know we are valuable because of the high price God paid for us through the blood of His son, Jesus Christ. When we have healthy self-esteem, we will value ourselves enough to not become involved in sin that enslaves us. Romans 12:3 warns, ‘Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.'” Link for the rest of the article. http://www.gotquestions.org/self-esteem.html

Being comfortable with our self-image means we don’t need to put on a show to get attention. We don’t need to cause a scene to get noticed. We don’t need to be the center of attention. Jesus needs to be the center of our attention and our self-image will grow. “My self-esteem is secure when it’s based on the opinion of MY CREATOR.”

THIS IS KINDA VERY IMPORTANT! We don’t need to change who we are to please others. I will repeat because i want this to come across so much! WE DON’T NEED TO CHANGE WHO WE ARE TO PLEASE OTHERS. There are so many people I know who like to please everyone. That is not a problem necessarily. You can can do something out of respect for a person. But when you start changing what you would normally do to please someone else, they start molding you into someone they want you to be. God made us all different, with our own strengths and weaknesses. And if it works out right, our strength is someone else we knows weaknesses, so we help each other out. I have learned that you cannot please everyone and there will always be someone who doesn’t like you for some reason. SO JUST BE YOU!

Man walking down road at sunset

Man walking down road at sunset

What I am going to say next happens WAY TOO MUCH! I see young girls changing for a boy! Aah! NO! If a boy can’t like you for the wonderful and beautiful person you are, he is not the boy for you. Eat what you want to eat. Do the weird thing. Laugh like crazy. Dance like no one is watching. Be You. Change because you want to change. Do not change because someone else wants you to.

Do you know who I would be if I change when my friend told me I needed to? I would be insecure. I would be constantly worried what people are thinking about me. I wouldn’t be who God created me to be. I am an outgoing, confident and talkative person. I can be louder than I need to at time. I can make weird noises and say random things. BUT THAT IS WHO I AM. If I acted all professional and serious all the time, my family and friends would not know who I was. I really want to challenge everyone to be themselves. God made you unique and He only made one of you. Everyone is different and that is what makes everyone so beautiful.

An article wrote by Rick Warren asked the question, What does God think of you? Warren says, “We need to remind ourselves EVERY DAY what God thinks about us; not what the world or what you think about yourself. That is what removes your fears.” Here are four points Warren gave to remind us daily of what God thinks of us.

  1. You’re completely accepted. We spend most of our lives trying to earn acceptance from everyone around us. What Jesus did on the cross made us completely accepted by God; no matter that we have done or will ever do. (Titus 3:7)
  2. You’re unconditionally love. God doesn’t say “I love you if..” or “I love you because..” God says “I love you! PERIOD!” We can’t make God stop loving us because His love is based on who He is and not on what we do. (Isaiah 54:10)
  3. You’re totally forgiven. We are forgiven completely because Jesus on the cross gave His life for us. God doesn’t rehearse our sins; he releases them.” (Romans 8:1)
  4. You’re considered extremely valuable. Two things create value: one who owns something and what someone is willing to pay for it. Jesus paid for us with His life. That is how valuable we are to Him. (1 Corinthians 7:23)

When we remember that we are accepted, loved, forgiven, and valuable to the Creator of the Universe, we will be better equipped to show that love to others and build deeper relationships.

Some questions that were at the bottom of the article by Rick Warren:

  1. How should the way God thinks of you change the way yo think about yourself?
  2. What keeps you from completely loving, accepting, and forgiving the people with whom you have a relationship with?
  3. How do you show others that they are valuable to you?

I want everyone to know that they are beautiful. I think it super important to STOP comparing ourselves to others. That is when we stop believing in ourselves.

I could sit here and write that you guys are all so beautiful and amazing and wonderful and all that good stuff, BUT until you believe that, my words don’t mean that much. Self-image is something that you and God decide about yourself. Until you are comfortable with yourself, you aren’t going to truly believe anything I say to you. We need a constant reminder of how wonderful and beautiful we are, not of our flaws. I challenge you to be the constant reminder in someone else’s life.

We are God’s masterpiece. He created us, knowing that we will serve a purpose that He designed. We are God’s masterpiece. How wonderful is that? “His hand is in EVERY detail.”

Other songs you can check are:

“He knows my Name” “Beautiful, Beautiful” Francesca Battistelli

“More Beautiful you” Johnny Diaz

“Beauty in the Broken” Hyland

“Road Less Traveled” Lauren Alaina

 

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