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Beautiful: My Story

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Thank you to “Photos by Heather”

By Taler Ray

Photo Credit: “Photos by Heather”

We all long to feel beautiful and somehow those 9 letters are the epitome of worth to most women around the world. Have you ever thought about how important in essence the word beautiful is? This word either empowers or destroys. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there, we probably all have and if we are honest we base our level beauty and worth by what culture says. Today we have social media, magazines, commercials etc. to thank for “idols” that clearly and visually, state clearly how little our hearts and passions matter.  Because to the world we are how we look the definition of who we are depends on it.  But friends….”beautiful” really isn’t an adjective that supports the noun. Being beautiful is a verb.

Beauty by social standard has destroyed and woman’s heart and I am a victim. 

Unknown-5Yes, I finally said it. I have been a victim of society and the media when it comes to feeling beautiful, but not until recently did I realize how deep these influences have affected my heart. For so many years I have tried to pretend I knew what it felt like to love myself, to feel completely confident and pretty-but I was so very wrong. My standards of beauty have been skewed by the world and the devil. He is always seeking to destroy. I have struggled with my weight and outer body image my whole life, but didn’t address it. Instead I allowed the devil to capitalize on my insecurities but worse was the denial that covered them.

I neglected the aching in my heart to feel beautiful and shoved my insecurity to the depths of my soul, hoping no one would ever find it

But, Jesus did. He found & revealed them. Jesus dug out my deepest insecurities and put them on display. Ultimately, he showed me that I failed to realize that my struggle with being beautiful was keeping me from being the truest version he created. I had been lying to myself for years, but lie I will no more.

Being pre-diabetic since high school, I have never really been healthy. Loosing weight was hard, no matter how healthy I ate. Returning from my first year of college heavier and more in denial than ever I was headed for type 2 diabetes which is hereditary. I knew that I had to make a change, but I just felt trapped in these chains of self-pity, guilt and frustration. I started baby steps and took the advice of my dear friend Claire and started approaching exercise totally different. As an act of worship. It was during one of my runs in early May that I finally surrendered my burden of self-image to Jesus. I surrendered the lies that Satan and culture. My chains were broken and set free through Jesus.

Being broken is not fun, and I am slowly beginning to be made “WHOLE” in the Lord. For so many years I had failed to understand that my body is a temple and when I neglect it, I neglect my relationship with Jesus. Following him means I must also honor my body; for it I do not I am dishonoring the Holy Spirit whom dwells within me. I’m learning that only when I surrender my flesh can I begin to be shaped into something new.  The new that is revealed through God’s glory and grace.

I love the message version of 1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20 which says

“Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

As I close I can admit that for so long I let my insecurities and society define me as unworthy of being a beautiful creation. But through the convictions, trials and triumph I can hear the Creator whisper to me, saying:

Beloved, you are my masterpiece.”Unknown-3

Choose to live life as a beautiful verb because we are not called to let others define our worth. We are called to live as he has defined us: beloved. 

In Christ Jesus,

Taler Ray

To read more of Taler’s awesome posts you can go to a New Adventure Each Day.  God has his hand on this young lady and I look forward to having her back again to share her wisdom.

Thank you to “Photos by Heather”  or on Facebook

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God puts great gifts inside of funny packages

By the midlife domestic goddess (for the Whatever girls site)

I am currently enrolled in on-line classes at Portland Bible College and while listening to a lecture in one of my classes my Professor, Pastor Frank Damazio, said something that really stuck with me.  He said, “God puts great gifts inside of funny packages”.

To the teens out there, especially you junior high age girls, I remember what it was like. I was already hard enough trying to deal with the changes in my body, I got sick to top things off.  I woke up one morning in Jr. high and I was swollen.  Now I don’t mean just a little swollen, I mean stay puff marshmallow man kind of swollen.  Most of you won’t younger girls won’t know what that is so I’ll insert my picture now.

I had gained over 20 pounds of water weight in less than 24 hours.  My cheeks were so big it made my eyes squint.  My mom had me into the Doctors office so fast and from there I was on to a specialist.  Before I knew it I was lying in hospital bed and there I would stay for a week until they could get my kidneys under control. My kidneys were working backwards for lack of an easier way to explain it.  I was retaining salt when I should have been releasing it. The doctors were actually afraid my kidneys could fail.

This lead to a yearlong diet of NO SALT.  Salt is in everything young kids like to eat which means my diet stunk.  It also meant that I had to go on high dosages of steroids for almost 2 years.  The steroids made me puff up all over again and they made my red hair huge and frizzy.  I was already teased for having red hair so the frizz only made me feel even more awkward.  I know there may some young ladies reading this today and you may also feel awkward in your body right now or maybe you have been made to feel bad about yourself because of the rude remarks of others.

I understand those same kinds of feelings. I was a funny package on the outside but the truth is that God puts the best gifts in the funniest packages and it is those gifts that outshine any outward beauty.  As a teen I was not in a relationship with God like I am now.  I knew he existed and I said my prayers now and than but I had no idea just how special and beautiful I was to him.  Inside that awkward package that I was, there were the gifts of laughter, friendship, loyalty, and kindness.  In the years to come I would find my way into a deeper relationship with God. In my walk I have learned some very important things. For example I now see that God is not interested in how we look from the outside. He is concerned with how we look from the inside.  God is concerned with the condition of our hearts.  If you are feeling like a funny package on the outside remember this…. so are most of the other kids your age.  The sad thing is some of them don’t realize just how special they are so they conform to the world’s idea of beauty.

You don’t need to be like that. Don’t waste your time trying to look beautiful in the eyes of the world, let your beauty come from what is within. Psalms 139:14 is a perfect verse to claim for yourself.  Learn it and remember it. Let the truth in the verse speak to your heart.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

As I said before, God puts great gifts inside of funny packages.  Never forget to share your gifts.  Let them spill out of you and be a blessing to all those who are around you.  Also, do not let the comments of others bring you down because you are of royal blood. Jesus Christ the King of Kings lives in you and you are perfect just the way you are.  My fuzzy hair is now gone along with my puffiness but one thing is still the same.  I am still full of laughter, friendship, kindness and loyalty.  God has also filled me with many other gifts and when I look in the mirror I still see the same funny package and I am happy with who I am.  I hope you are happy with yourself too.

Originally Posted on the Whatever girls page.  Be sure to check out their page

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