"You look nice," my husband, Evan, offered as we finished dressing for a fancy-schmancy party. Goodness knows I'd tried to pull together a stylish outfit but remained uncertain about my appearance. I responded to Evan with a harrumph while he quietly sheathed his rejected compliment.
You see, I do not feel beautiful — I never have — and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in feeling this way.
When God created Adam and Eve in His image, He called them very good (Genesis 1:26-31). He saw them as full of beauty, beauty full. Not just physically, but holistically. Contrary to the messages defining beauty in Western culture, God defines beauty as so much more than just the outward appearance (1 Peter 3:3-4).
And then there was the Fall. While Adam and Eve experienced clear consequences for disobedience (relationship disunity between male and female, pain in childbirth, sweaty work for survival, eventual death), God's love for them and how He saw them never changed. What changed in that moment was their understanding of how God viewed them. And that understanding is still askew in how we see ourselves today.
My rejection of my husband's compliment devalued his view of me — and ultimately God's view of me. It withheld from my heart the feedback I longed to hear but would not allow myself to receive.
How then can we learn to be more receptive to the positive feedback God wants to give us? How do we accept God's view of us, especially through the words of our husband? Here are a few tips:
Recognize the hiss.
Long ago in a garden, the first husband and wife were created in God's image: beautiful. But the Evil One (in the form of a serpent) wooed them into believing they were not loved, and through their ultimate disobedience, "ugly" entered the world. The hiss of the Serpent still echoes in our ears today, telling us that we are not beautiful: You are not smart enough, attractive enough, good enough or godly enough. Are you listening to the hiss instead of to God?
See the way God sees.
When we give our lives to God, He begins to open our eyes to the reality of how He created us and has always seen us — beauty full. How might embracing this reality change us as we choose to see God's view of us?
Beauty is more than curves in all the right places. I've discovered five elements that reveal our beauty:
- Voice: Our unique personality.
- Vessel: Our physical body.
- Womb: Our creative potential.
- Scar: Our painful story.
- Sway: Our influential legacy.
Each of us probably struggles with at least one of these elements. But each of us also probably embraces at least one of these elements. When we accept these elements as places of beauty, then we can uniquely offer them to our husband.
Take a moment to consider how receiving God's pronouncement over you might change the way you receive your husband's proffered compliments. How might seeing yourself the way God sees you silence the voice of the Evil One and alert you to all God wants to offer you in your husband's care?
God loves us. When we open ourselves to God's love — and only then — are we at last able to see ourselves as He does: as beauty-filled beings.Elisa Morgan is the author of Hello, Beauty Full. After serving for 20 years as CEO of MOPS International, she now co-hosts the Discover the Word radio program for Our Daily Bread Ministries.
If you or someone you know needs marital help, Focus on the Family has resources and counseling to assist. You can contact us Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain time) at: 800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) or help@FocusOnTheFamily.com.