Beauty and the Beast

Sorry to hash this back up, but I’m feeling potato-like again. If you’re not entirely sure what that means, check out this previous post. After talking to several friends, I have found that several other people seem to be experiencing a similar self esteem funk. I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps it’s that the weather is warming up and it’s time to dust off the old swimsuit and shorts for the summer. It’s difficult when you hope that you will still fit in last year’s model, but sadly when you try it on, you look like a sausage getting ready for Oktoberfest. Perhaps you’re feeling like a potato because your summer clothes are fitting a bit more snuggly than you’d like. Perhaps some rude soul recently pointed out a flaw that you are already far too aware of. Perhaps nothing new in particular has happened at all, you’re merely being attacked by the lies of the enemy that you unknowingly believe every time you look at yourself in the mirror. Whatever your reason for low self esteem at this point in time (or any point in time for that matter), I want you to know one thing. God thinks you are BEAUTIFUL.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” ~Song of Solomon 4:7

I went with some friends last weekend to see the movie “I Feel Pretty.” Now, no matter what your opinion of the trailer, this movie had quite an impact on my view of my own self esteem. The movie is a comedy, but I cried much more than I thought I would because it all hit so close to home. There’s a scene when the main character gets home from work and looks at herself in the mirror. As she undresses you see that she’s wearing what I like to call a “fat sucker,” but I think most people would call it a girdle, underneath her clothes. She stands there looking at herself and is obviously less than impressed with what she sees. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had more moments like this than I can count. The image that reflects back at you isn’t living up to the standard that you’ve set for yourself or what society demands that you be and it’s frustrating. It’s heart wrenching. It’s absolutely defeating.

If you’ve ever tried online dating, you may have experienced this first hand. Some people have wonderful stories about how they met their spouse online or how great it was to help them “get back out there” after a back break up or divorce. If this was your experience, I congratulate you wholeheartedly.  I, on the other hand, have never experienced anything like that with online dating. I’ve only found it to be utterly devastating to my self esteem. I tried it for 2 years and then again for about 6 months a few years later and both experiences were the same.

You put all of your effort and heart into coming up with the “perfect” description of yourself. Funny, but not too funny; smart, but not overly intimidating; successful, fun, blah, blah, blah. Then comes the photos. You beat yourself up trying to find the perfect photos to make someone want to click on your profile, but not so photo-shopped that if you were to ever meet in person, they wouldn’t recognize that it’s you. And then you try to be attractive, but not in a way that will make people question your morals. After all of the hours you spend trying to make your profile “perfect” it’s defeating when you get no responses to your attempted correspondence and nobody shows interest or even looks at your profile. This is where the DEVIL is in the details. The enemy sits with you at your computer screen, whispering lie, upon lie, upon lie into your brain trying to get you to feel utterly disgusting. Trying to get you believe the lie, that nobody does now or ever will love you.

“Why would anyone like you in that photo? This one makes you look crazy. That one makes you look fat. Where did that double chin come from? How could you have possibly been happy at that beach in that swimsuit that shows off your cellulite? There are probably dozens of other girls on this website that are half your size and way more fun/ interesting than you will ever be. How could anybody love a fat potato like you?”

When we believe the lies that the enemy, the evil one, the beast constantly feeds us through our television/computer screens, our social media pages, and the mouths of family or strangers, we give him power over our lives. We allow the greatest liar there ever was to dictate our truth, when we should turn to God, who is the epitome of perfection, to fill us with what the actual truth is.

The good news is that God, in all of His marvelous knowledge and glory, thinks that we are pretty great. He sees us, not through our own judgmental, imperfect, human lens, but through His all knowing, all loving, glorious eyes and sees us for what we really are… His beloved children. And God is always there, willing to fight for us.

So before you allow the beasts lies to take root in your beautiful heart, it’s important to guard your heart and armor yourself with God’s truth. Ephesians 6: 10-13 talks about how to guard yourself from the lies and the “schemes” of the evil one.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

To delve deeper into what that armor looks like, we need to look at verses 14-18:

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”

We must readily have God’s truth available to us and within easy reach so that we can use it as a weapon against satan’s lies. Be ready to tell him that you know who you are in Christ and that is all that really matters!

…with the breastplate of righteousness in place”

We are given righteousness through Christ and once you’re a believer, nobody can take that away. Not even the devil. So put on your breastplate, which guards your heart and hold on to what you know is true deep in your heart.

and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

God’s peace comes to us through Christ and through His holy spirit. We must accept that as the basis of what we walk on as we make our way through life, so keep those sandals of peace and readiness tightly strapped to prepare yourself to outrun the lies that the devil hurls at you.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

And does the evil one ever hurl some serious flaming arrows at us? We must have the basis of faith to act as a shield for us to be able to access our truth belt, our righteous breastplate, and our peaceful sandals at the ready. Without faith in Christ and the love of God we are nothing and don’t stand a chance against satan and his lies, his schemes, his temptations.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

As we all know, a helmet is used to protect your head. This final verse really sets the tone for protecting our heads/minds, which essentially run every part of us. So this verse reminds us that salvation covers us and shields our heads (and the rest of us for that matter) from whatever satan tries to throw at us. There is nothing that can harm us when we are under God’s protection and salvation as long as we take up our sword of the Spirit and use the word of God as the ultimate weapon to tear down the lies of the evil one.

So whether you’re in a great place personally, or thinking that you’d be more at home among the potato fields of Idaho, remember that in order to combat the lies that surround many people, but often defeat those of us who are single, we must protect ourselves with God’s armor. So take up your shield, your belt, your sandals. Put on your helmet and unsheathe your sword and prepare for the ultimate battle, which we will all inevitably win with God by our side!

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