I’ve recently begun to follow a television series about fashion design. New designers compete for a sizable prize to be awarded to the winner in the grande finale at season end. I endure all the drama and tears each episode (ugh) in anticipation to see what they have created with fabric and thread and the occasional “unconventional material”. A simple seamstress myself, I find it very impressive what the contestants are able to design, construct, fit and present in such a short period of time!
You can see the occasional grimace from the designers as they watch their models walk the runway, some knowing they did not accomplish what they had intended. For the most part, however, they are beaming with pride at their creation, believing it to be the most beautiful and, therefore, the winning piece. The clothing is then critiqued by style professionals who determine which garments accurately represent the theme of the challenge given to the designers. I am surprised week after week, as many times the strangest concoctions are the ones that receive the most praise. The criteria for “high fashion” continues to escape me…but to the judges who have an eye for it, the garments are beautiful.
As I was thinking of how we humans can see things so very differently, God brought to my memory the multitude of times that my husband has told me I am beautiful. More times than not, it is when my hair is a mess, I’m sans make-up, and dressed in my grubbies. Often my response is a verbal thank you, yet with a scoffing attitude that gives his words a different meaning than he intended. I take the compliment as an expression of his love for me, which it is. But it’s not only his deep affection for the inner me that speaks. He looks at me in the natural and sees beauty. I am so focused on my flaws or my lack that I find it hard to receive this truth: I am beautiful to him. It perplexes him that I am hesitant to believe him. He so very much wants me to. To refuse to accept his perspective as real is to refuse a portion of the love he offers me. I don’t want to do that – I want to receive all his love. So as I meditate on this love he offers, I don’t care if anyone else can see what he sees. It doesn’t matter because I am beautiful to him.
Not one to leave things unfinished, God showed me that we do the same thing with Him. He has poured out His love to us and we accept it, proclaim it, and revel in it every day. Yet when He tells us that we are beautiful creations, we discount this expression of His love. Yes, the inward man is eternal and much more important than the outward physical body in which it’s housed. But He created our bodies to be His temple. The temple He instructed the Jews to build from stone wasn’t plain and bare. It was elaborate and intricately designed, fashioned as an appropriate setting for His presence. How much more must he look at the people He has made as “living temples” and smile! He hasn’t reserved His look of pride and approval for heaven only.
I believe He wants us to see ourselves as He sees us – His design, beautiful inside and out, because of His love. It’s not proud or arrogant to be confident in who He has made us. It is a reality that sets us free to be all that He designed us to be.
He is the Beholder and in His eyes we are beautiful. The Creator with an eye for beauty looks at us and still says “It is good”. Perhaps no one else sees in our natural form what He sees , but that’s ok. Because we are beautiful to Him.
So shall the King greatly desire your beauty… Psalm 45:11