Wonderfully Made

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. ~ Psalm 139:13-16

Growing up I never really believed these verses were true. Some days I still have to fight to believe that I’m wonderfully made.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m fighting the temptation to be really vague with my struggles because I’m afraid that if I’m transparent, I’ll be looked down upon. But God entrusted me with specific struggles, and he doesn’t want me to bury them like the wicked servant in Matthew 25.

So I’m writing today about my ongoing specific struggle when it comes to believing and trusting that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made: my eyes. 

I have this thing called strabismus (you can go Google it if you want) but basically it means that somehow I only use one eye at a time to see, and the other eye drifts or crosses. If I think about it, I can choose which eye I want to use, but most of the time my brain just decides on it’s own, and I’m oblivious.

Up until fifth grade, I knew I had problems with my eyes, but it never really held me back, and I never felt inferior because of them. Then middle school started, and it all went down hill.

Kids are mean, and I was made fun of relentlessly because of my eyes. My mom told me to punch the kids in the face, but my dad told me just to ignore them–which is the advice I tried to follow.

But it’s hard to ignore the voices that are constantly telling you you’re not good enough. In sixth grade I became a lot less outgoing and a lot more quiet and reserved. If I just kept to myself, maybe people would ignore me and find something else to laugh about.

My parents are the best. I never doubted that I was loved by them. My mom began heavily researching strabismus and found a doctor at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore that was one of the leading physicians in studying strabismus. And he was gracious enough to reply to her e-mails.

He was doing this newer surgery on children with my problem, and it seemed to have a great success rate. It wouldn’t cure me, but it would help reduce the crossing, and the results were supposed to last longer.

Insurance wouldn’t pay for me to go to Baltimore and have this surgery, so my parents emptied their own savings account to pay for it.

After the surgery, my eyes did stay a lot straighter. But the condescending voices and laughter from sixth grade stayed with me.

I was constantly worried that my eyes would start crossing again–it’s a worry I still wrestle with today. Ask my family–until now, they’re the only ones I’ve really invited to join me in this struggle.

My right eye also has a severe astigmatism, so it makes my vision blurry when I try to wear contacts. One part of me would love to be able to wear contacts and see clearly, but the other part of me, feels safe hiding behind my glasses. Maybe people won’t notice my eyes as much then.

Over the years, I’ve yelled at God a lot for my eyes. He’s big enough to handle our screaming.

Then after I was finished with my little tantrums, I would feel guilty for getting so worked up over something so seemingly petty compared to other things. God’s grace was big enough for those feelings too.

Finally, I would begin to take my eyes off of my problems and look to the many blessings I have. For one, I may not love my eyes, but they do allow me to see God’s beautiful creation–and I’m a part of that creation.

It’s a vicious cycle, but praise is one of the greatest weapons we have to fight against our feelings of inadequacy. When I focus on all the beautiful blessings God has given me (and I’ll admit some days it’s harder than others to take my eyes off my problems), I find it easier to believe the promise of Psalm 139–I am wonderfully made and wonderfully loved.

When we stop listening to ourselves and the voices of the mean boys in sixth grade, and start listening to God’s voice, then we are free to trust his promises and praise him for all his good works.

So I challenge you today to find something specific about the way God created you that makes you want to praise him. Dwell on praising God and meditate on Psalm 139, and overtime, all the other voices will begin to become quieter and quieter.

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Mirror, mirror on the wall

…who’s the fairest of them all?

Searching for the answer to that question in the world or trying to be the answer to that question will only lead to disappointment. Beauty fades, and when we make beauty a contest no one really wins.

And yet we spend so much time and energy trying to be beautiful and comparing ourselves to people around us.

Either putting others down: Well at least I’m prettier than her.

Or putting ourselves down: That girl is gorgeous. I would look so much better if I had hair like hers.

I believe that when trying to define our beauty, we tend to listen to either the world or ourselves.

But our beauty cannot be found listening to the ever-changing and distorted views of a fallen world. And our worth shouldn’t be looked for within ourselves trusting our wicked hearts. (Jeremiah 17:9)

Our value is defined by God, and we should look to him alone to find it.

However, I’ll be the first to admit I too often look to the world or myself to find my worth.

Most days I am not praising God because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. Instead I’m often questioning his design. Deep down I know my beauty and worth comes from Christ, but fighting the feelings of inadequacy is a daily struggle.

I don’t think I’m the only one with this problem. And I definitely don’t have all the answers, so I want to search God’s Word for wisdom.

I would like to invite you on my journey not so we can feel better about ourselves just for the sake of our self image. Then God would just be another self help tool.

God doesn’t exist to make us feel better about ourselves. He exists to make his name known and glorified.

We exist to bring him glory. And he created each one of us beautifully to carry out that purpose.

When we start to look away from the mirror and into God’s face, we will begin to see that he truly is the fairest of them all. We will be amazed and humbled that he would even think about us–let alone send his son to die to save us.

When we start believing how much God loves us, then we stop looking to the world for approval.

When we stop looking to the world for approval and comparing ourselves to others, then we start to see that everyone is beautifully made by God. 

Finally we realize it’s really not about us. Everyone desperately needs to know God. It’s about us loving others the way God has loved us.

And truly loving people can only be accomplished by pointing them to beauty of Christ and the gospel instead of seeking approval and love for ourselves.

Note: I’m not an expert in this! I struggle so much with how to find my value in Christ instead of looking to others. I’m going to be open and honest with my struggles and see where God leads. I’ll probably post once a month on this topic as I continue myself to understand and truly believe that I am wonderfully made.