A few months ago, I competed in my first duathlon. It was an excellent experience: perfect weather, fun friends, fairly easy course. However, when one of my friends tagged me in a photo on Facebook later that day, I shuddered. It was one of the most unflattering photos I had seen of myself in quite awhile, and I immediately wanted to untag myself and pretend like it didn't exist. However, what I have learned in studying emotions over the past several months is that while almost all emotions serve a good purpose, SHAME serves no good purpose - EVER!
When I delved to the bottom of what I originally thought was just irritation at an unflattering photo angle, I realized that what I was actually feeling was shame. So, I left that picture on my wall! (It's still there if you are my personal FB friend - feel free to check it out!). I then made this photo collage to illustrate a "Before" and an "After":
These two photos were taken all of TWO DAYS apart. In the first, I'm about to run a 5K, bike 15 miles, and run another mile. It's about 7 a.m. and I have minimal hair and makeup. In the second, I've been prepped by a makeup artist and photographed by a professional. Today, I wanted to take time to remind you that you are beautiful because of who you are, NOT because of what you look like. Even over a period of two days (shoot, two hours even) your physical image can change dramatically. This is dependent on lighting, wardrobe, hair, makeup, how much sleep you got, who cut you off in traffic before the photo was taken (haha), and a myriad of other factors.
Who you are at the core of your being will evolve - hopefully we are all growing and becoming better each day - but goodness, gratitude, and love will shine through no matter how put together or not your physical image may be on any given day. So, I am not ashamed of that picture on the left. I am thankful for the legs that powered me through that race and the opportunity to support a great charity (the race was a benefit for the Mustard Seed - learn more about this wonderful charity at http://mustardseedinc.org). I am grateful for that photo as it reminds me that I am learning to embrace my worth no matter what I look like on any given day. It is my hope and prayer that you value yourself, too, regardless of what you look like on any given day. It is my mission to help you see that you are beautiful because you are created in the image of God, no matter how much you weigh, what kind of clothes you wear, or what your skin, hair or nails look like!
Own who you are at this very moment, because you are created in God's image! Rejoice in that truth, and rejoice, too, that God is daily refining those who seek Him.
--Psalm 139:14 I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.