There's been a lot of talk lately about modesty and the way we present ourselves to others. This kind of talk will generally cause a person to look at themselves and evaluate their appearance. If you have not read any of the latest blogs/news items about modesty and lack thereof, I can point you to plenty of them:
Hall Family - FYI
Secret Keeper Girl
My friend even chimed in to say, "Hey, let's hold guys responsible here, too!"
But there was another discussion that caught my eye. I have a pretty good handle on modesty and presenting a proper body image. Some might disagree with my choices, but I think I'm pretty good at making informed choices about apparel and appearance.
My problem is that I get my value, my sense of self-worth, from people. I've written about it before. Yet here I am, writing about it again? Why? Because it's a continuous struggle for me.
This world puts so much value in being beautiful. Inside and out. But really, ultimately, does beauty matter? Beauty is so subjective, even inner beauty. One person may find a Harley enthusiast to have more inner beauty than a nun. It's just so subjective.
A marriage blog that I follow recently posted about letting your spouse's high opinion of you and complimentary words towards you be your mirror instead of letting the world or your own skewed self-esteem guide your thinking. It was so lovely to read these words from a wife (a beautiful woman, inside and out) who has always doubted her beauty. She has learned to let her husband be her mirror. I am, truly, happy for her that she can find this in her husband. She encouraged other wives reading the blog to look to their husbands for that same affirmation.
And that's where I felt that heavy knot in my chest.
My husband is a wonderful man. He works hard every day at work and comes home frustrated when he sees others slacking off. He opens up the Bible most nights after dinner and reads a chapter or two with the family. He takes us all out to the big field behind our house and quarterbacks for our two, sorry two-man football teams. He leads worship on Sundays and has the whole family singing around the piano between Sundays. He plays with the kids, tucks them in, takes out the garbage, kisses my neck when I have my hands in the dishwater... He really is Superman. The one teeny tiny thing that I get hung up on? He doesn't naturally compliment me. Asking him to compliment me is like hammering a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn't work.
All that to say that it's really not a good idea to use my husband as a mirror. He shows his love to me by doing, not by saying. But as much as he loves me, he is still an imperfect person, living in an imperfect world, with a very imperfect wife. (When I put it that way, it's a wonder anyone manages to live with anyone else for any period of time!) My problem is not with my husband. My problem is with myself. I tend to put my value in how others see me. Even the person who loves me most, who pledged his LIFE to me, will fail me, and I him. I cannot look to him for fulfillment or value.
The day this photo was taken, my dad told me that I was beautiful. Twice. He doesn't often use that specific word to describe me, so it was a very touching thing to hear him say. And later, it really hit me how nice it was to hear those words. But my father is still an imperfect person and he will let me down. He doesn't know my innermost thoughts and cannot tell me just what I need to hear, just when I need to hear it.
|Superman and I, photo taken by my father the day he complimented me. Twice..|
And that brings me back to where I always end up. Sometimes it takes me a day, sometimes a couple weeks. But I know, deep inside, where things that you really know are just stuck, that God treasures me. I am His specially created daughter. He gave me my unique gifts and talents. My quirky personality sprung from a seed God planted. And He put the desire in me to be loved and cherished. He put it there to draw me back to Him, as He's the only one who can quench that thirst.
So when I feel this pull, I need to let it remind me that God is loving me and cherishing me, and whispering words of love to me. I just need to go to Him to hear them. No pounding to get them out. No square peg and round hole. Just a desire that was placed in me and a Father waiting to fill it.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.