A Beautiful Guy In the Image of a Beautiful God

In my life, I have met three men whom I could only describe as beautiful.  I couldn’t really think of any other way to describe them — handsome wasn’t exactly what I was talking about.  They were just stunningly, unbelievably, breathtakingly beautiful.  Here is how I described one of them: “In him, God has created a masterpiece.  It’s not just his looks — it’s everything about him.  It’s the depth in his eyes when he’s thinking.  It’s the way his heart shows in his actions.  It’s the way he responds to God in worship.”

Beauty has become a descriptor which we attribute only to women, or to delicate and feminine things like flowers and sunsets and snow.  We don’t typically think of men being beautiful…

…or two perpendicular beams of blood-stained wood…

…or the God that died there.

But one day I was reading Psalm 27 and noting all the characteristics of God that were mentioned.  I paused for a moment when I came to verse 4 — “that I may gaze on the beauty of the Lord.”  God? Beautiful? I had to think about this.  In a world where “beauty” is constituted by a sexy body and eyeliner and perfect hair, I wasn’t sure how to process what it really meant as a description of God.

But as I thought about it, I remembered God’s declaration of His creation: “It is good.”  It was…beautiful.  Because God created beauty, I realized, maybe He’s the only One who knows what it really means.  Maybe beauty is some kind of mysterious, intangible concept, inseparable from the reality of being fashioned by the hand of a beautiful God.  Maybe beauty is simply the quality of being made in His image.  Maybe beauty is everything God is, and everything He desires us to be.

This began to make sense to me as I thought about the three guys.  The first time I ever thought a guy was beautiful was when I saw a picture of him holding a baby goat.  Kinda random, but there was something about the gentleness and simplicity of it that was attractive.  The second time I thought a guy was beautiful, it was a pretty ordinary setting, but a powerful moment.  He was sitting on a couch across the room from me during a time of worship, and his faraway gaze happened to catch my eye.  It was like that line from the Benjamin Francis Leftwich song, “I know if I find what you hide in your mind, I’ll get lost in it.”  There was something beautiful going on behind that contemplative gaze.  The third time I thought a guy was beautiful, he was literally on his knees on the ground crying out to God.  It was so raw and…well, beautiful.  However, the word “beautiful” has never crossed my mind for a shallow, lazy, or arrogant guy.  Ironically, I never find guys attractive when they try to prove their worth or impress girls.  Beauty comes from who they are in the little moments, when the rest of the world is forgotten.

Last Wednesday when I was leading small group, my junior high girls and I were talking about the description of Jesus in Revelation 1 and the unlikely aspects of beauty.  I briefly shared with them about the concept of beauty being the image of God, and one of the girls commented, “I think it’s so beautiful to see a guy worshiping with his eyes closed and hands raised, not caring what anybody else thinks of him.”  Several other girls agreed: “Seriously, the most unattractive thing ever is when a guy thinks he’s too cool to be in love with God.”

Thinking about all of this, I came to realize what “beautiful” really means:  Guy or girl, we are beautiful when we become what we were created to be and do what we were created to do.  When we can return to the ideal for which God designed us, when we realize our full potential as His creation made in His image…that is when we truly attain beauty.  Beauty is in the intricate workings of the mind, in creative expression, in a surrendered heart, in unconditional love.  Beauty is in everything that reflects the very heart of God.

Girls, two lessons for you here:  first, beauty isn’t what the world tells you it is.  They distorted the definition.  They got it wrong.  Chasing after things that will make you attractive by the world’s standards only draws you away from true beauty.  Chase after God and His beauty, and when you become the woman He designed you to be, that is when you are truly radiant.

Second, never marry…or date…or give a second thought to a guy who doesn’t have beauty that takes your breath away.  They’re few and far between; in 20 years, I’ve only met 3.  But trust me, you want a man who is seeking God’s highest potential for him, and a man who will amaze you for the rest of your life.

Wait for a beautiful man, in the image of a beautiful God.

Ribbet collage

No Makeup. No Fear.

Last night I walked into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I was wearing athletic shorts, a too-big hoodie with the sleeves rolled up, a spiky messy bun, and not a bit of makeup on my face. And…I liked what I saw. For the first time in my life, I truly liked what I saw. Because I saw more than CoverGirl and Maybelline beauty; I saw my own. I didn’t see my design; I saw God’s design.

I didn’t like what I saw because my eyelashes looked long and thick, or because my skin looked smooth. I liked what I saw because there was confidence in those eyes, because the girl in the mirror was a girl who was comfortable with herself and who she is, who knows that she is unique, accepted, and loved.

A very different girl than the girl who left home two weeks ago.

There are so many little things that I don’t even consider worth writing about at the time, but they add up, and they’re changing me. Simple things like riding down the road standing in the back of a pickup, wind blowing my hair, hand on hip and aviators on face, chilling with friends and being awesome. Like the quiet moments when God opens up my eyes to something new in Scripture. Like knowing that I look ridiculous dancing, and dancing anyway. Like laughing till I cry. Like going to Sonic with a bunch of girls and just being girls. Like being around guys who treat girls right, like not wearing makeup and being okay with it. Like…knowing that I belong here.

Published in: on June 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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so I had this dream…

Sometimes, God sends you those dreams, you know? Where He really needed to show you something that you could only understand by feeling it and experiencing it… experiencing Him. And what He showed me last night was probably the most powerful dream I’ve ever had, and I just wanted to share it with you.

So I had just stepped out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, with wet stringy hair. True to real life, I immediately began to critique and criticize my appearance. Looking down at my feet, I thought, “I really need to paint my toenails.” I tip-toed across the floor to the sink and looked closely in the mirror. “I need to pluck my eyebrows, too…and why am I breaking out? Ugh.” I reached for my makeup bag, scattering dozens of little brushes and containers across the sink.

And then in the mirror, I saw Him behind me. I’m not sure what He looked like, but I knew it was Him. He wrapped His arms around me and held me tight. I caught my breath. It had been so long since I had felt a touch like that, so different from just any guy. There was no hint of inappropriate desire to make me feel uncomfortable. I felt only safe, and in that moment I knew I never wanted anyone but Him, never wanted anyone else to touch me because this was real, this was pure, and every other touch was tacky and cheap in comparison.

I wanted to relax in His arms, but common sense told me it was time to get ready for the day. I wiggled away and reached for my foundation to smooth my complexion and my tube of concealer to take care of the random stress breakout. “Don’t look at me yet,” I laughed, half hoping He wouldn’t obey.

He didn’t, of course. We stared into the mirror together. He gently touched the side of my face. “Are you ashamed of this?” He asked in disbelief. I wasn’t sure how to answer.

He stepped back, hands on my shoulders, looking me over, eyes straying to the smear of blood on my knee where I had nicked myself shaving. He bent down on one knee, tenderly wiping away the welling red droplets. He looked up at me, His tender eyes confused. “You make yourself bleed trying to be beautiful? Don’t you know I bled to make you beautiful?”

Again, I was speechless. He didn’t say anything more, just stood and took me in His arms again — and for perhaps the first time in my life, I let myself be held without worrying, without being afraid, without trying to control anything. I knew, somehow, that I was perfectly understood, perfectly accepted, and perfectly loved.

Published in: on May 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm  Comments (3)  
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For the Girls

When God created woman, He did not pattern her after the sluts on the cover of Cosmopolitan. No, He patterned her after Himself. Girls, why compare yourself to a mold you were never made to fit? Compare yourself only to the image of God, for you will never find completion until you become who you were intended to be. Starving yourself into the shape of a mold not made for you will never make you feel accepted. You will only belong once you can rest in knowing you have lived up to the true image God created you to fill. So fill it! Become everything He made you capable of becoming.

When God created woman, He made her exactly the way He wanted her. He doesn’t do anything halfway. He didn’t make a mediocre girl and then say, “Hmm, with some hair dye and a boob job, she’ll be good to go!” Heck no. God made her perfect. God made YOU perfect, and trying to change yourself to match the expectations of society only draws you away from the perfection you had to begin with!

When God created woman, He made her to be a helper for man. A strengthener. Something he needed, not something for him to use. He did NOT create her to be a sex object! You should never allow yourself to be degraded that way; you were made for so much more than that. You do not deserve that, it will not bring you security, and you are more than a one-night stand. Don’t ever buy those lies. Any man who treats you as less than you were made to be, is sadly less than he was made to be.

Girls, if you don’t know who you are, it’s because you’ve lost sight of the original pattern. If you don’t know who you are, let me tell you: you were created in the image of God and you were made to look like Him. That means you are smart. It means you are strong. It means you are self-sufficient. You are a beautiful, valuable creation of the Most High God, the desire of His heart and the love of His life. That’s who you are. So tell that to the world… and be who you are.

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 12:12 am  Comments (2)  
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