Defined By God
Shari Braendel

"The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Psalm 45:11 (NIV)

One word. Flabbergasted.

That was the emotion I had coursing through my body as I sat at the coffee shop discussing my weight issues with a friend.

I told her I had recently cut out certain foods from my diet, but was continuing to maintain my "happy weight," that number the scale just seems extremely happy to faithfully report whether I have eaten healthy and exercised that week or not. We had a good laugh as she described how sometimes she locks her scale away so she's not tempted to jump on it every day just to find out if she's still her same "happy" self.

As a result of this conversation I realized that if I am not careful I can easily allow the scale, or the mirror, to become a compass that shifts my focus and points me in the wrong direction. It seems illogical, yet at times I look to this digital device, or this earthly reflection to gauge my emotional status and essentially define me.

The Bible tells us that the God of the universe is enthralled with our beauty. Seriously? Yes, indeed! He thinks we are amazing and wonderful. Unfortunately, more often than not, we look in the mirror and only see our flaws; hair that's just a mite too frizzy; a tummy that's a bit too fluffy; and thighs that have a few too many dimples on them. My friend Renee likes to call her cellulite "the fingerprints of God." One time I shared that with a group of women, and one of them said, "Well then He must have REALLY big hands!"

So, what would life look like if we accepted God workmanship? Can you imagine how different we would feel about ourselves if we glanced in the mirror and told God "thank You for making me so wonderfully"? If you listen closely, I bet you would hear Him respond, "All beautiful, you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you" (Song of Solomon 4:7, NIV).

No matter your size or shape, the number on your clothes tag or your scale, you are beautiful! Let's embrace that we are fine just the way we are because if God says so, then it's true!

Dear God, thank You for making me the way I am. Please help me to have more confidence. I will practice defining myself through Your eyes and not my own. I am grateful, and humbled to be Your beautiful daughter, and I can feel Your approving gaze upon me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Shari’s new book, Good Girls Don't have to Dress Bad: A Style Guide for Every Women is a complete, full-color, style guide with lots of pictures of real women of all shapes and sizes!

Visit Shari’s Blog to continue this conversation and to enter a contest to win a signed copy of Good Girls Don't have to Dress Bad: A Style Guide for Every Women along with your own set of personal color swatches to help aid in choosing your best colors when shopping.

Do You Know Him?

Behind Those Eyes: What's Really Going on Inside the Souls of Women by Lisa Whittle

Application Steps:
Make a list of five things you really like about your outer appearance.

When you find yourself in a funk, remember to define yourself through God's eyes.

Accept a compliment with a smile and a thank you.

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to treat yourself to something new? You are valuable to Him, and to those who love you. It is okay to take care of yourself too.

Does my scale define me?

Power Verses:
Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (NIV)

Song of Solomon 4:1, "How beautiful, you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!" (NIV)

Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)

© 2010 by Shari Braendel. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your posting is so timely for me. Just yesterday I had a coversation with a friend about this very subject. The scales keep me on an emotional roller coaster. I am trying to focus on eating healthy and exercising. I am trusting Him in this journey. I do not want the scales to determine my success in this. I want to increase in Him. Thanks for your reminder of what we are to Him.

Anonymous Barb Met said...

OMG!Iknow it's so overused-but I am REALLY saying "oh my God" to your post this AM. I am saying OMG because I have forever been allowing numbers to be my focus each day-be they numbers on a scale,or on a clothes tag. I am wonderfully made & I say OMG-I love you for making me so!

Looking in the mirror (as of late) has been particularly difficult for me; my outer beauty has taken a downward turn. Thankfully, I'm not defined by outward appearance but, rather, by my heart, and my heart tells me that I am beautiful before my King.

Thank you for this encouraging word to my weariness this day.


Blogger Kim said...

While I do agree and know that I am beautiful in God's eyes and by His design, I also must realize that it is my responsibility to take care of my "temple" to bring glory and honor to Him. While I too struggle with my weight and allow it to bring me down, it is a situation that with His help I can take care of. Yes, I do thank Him for how He made me. Yes, I do want to honor Him with my being. Yes, it is my job to take care of myself...not to dwell on the numbers, but to do something about it if I am using it to keep me from being all He would have me to be.

Blogger Momma Jensen said...

Shari -

Thank you for this post. I am always amazed when God puts something out there that I really need at just the right time. Isn't He awesome like that? Thank you for being His tool to minister to me this morning.

Today was weigh-in day. The number on the scale this week was eerily similar to the number last week. Very frustrating for this gal who is working very hard to clean up her temple. Although the temple is larger than it's original design, it is still loved by it's creator. : )

Have a blessed day!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"thank You for making me so wonderfully" - this is something I've been saying since I started working out. Not after the workouts, but during. I'm able to do pushups! I have found His temple is able to do so much more than I gave it credit. He has created each of us different, but given us abilities that just blow me away. From nursing our babies - wow! - to walking, running, jumping, lifting, to the way our bodies develop fevers to make us aware that our bodies are being attacked by infection - we ARE wonderfully made!! Thank You God. Forgive us when we do not give thanks for the way You have created us. We praise You Lord! We praise You!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow this was a slap in the face this morning. Just as always God has his hand on me when I need to be reminded that I am who I am because he made me. Yes it is given with a responsibility to take care of it. I know that of late the number on the scale and the mirror image is nog what I like. So it is up to me with his help to make it presentable. Keeping in mind it is still beautiful and acceptable to him. Thank you God for loving me just as I am and reminding me of that just when I need to hear it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you GOD for using Shari to impart this truth to us. I too hate to get on the scales, it has steadly climbed up over the last several years. I never had a weight issue when I was younger or even after having 3 children I was very slim. As the years have passed by I have gained 40 - 45 lbs and of course I look nothing like I used to. I now weigh 164lbs @ age 48, which at times has really bothered me. I have come to this conclusion: I am not a teenager or a young woman, why should I try to look like them? I am a wife with a loving husband and a grandmother to 5 beautiful grandchildren. GOD loves me just as I am without having to starve myself to fit in with what the world thinks we should look like. Thank you for the reminder that we are GOD's beautiful creation. Love in CHRIST, Teresa

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Just yetserday I cried when I was getting dressed because I was so frustrated with how exhausted I was from exercising and trying to eat right and the fact that it's taking so long to make a difference. Thank you for the encouraging words and scripture!

Blogger Anniem said...

Just what we need to hear. Thank you for being God's vessel to relay it. May we all be doing as much for others as you are in the Name of our Father!

Anonymous Kristin said...

Being one that has recovered from anorexia nervosa, I really know what it's like to have the numbers on the scale and nutrition labels control my life. And, of course, God doesn't want this for us! He wants us to know that He made us in His image and that we are not flawed in our physical appearanc3e because of this!
I have no clue how much I weigh, and it is truly liberating :)
One verse that I really like regarding this is 1 Peter 3:3-4..

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog, I hadn't noticed earlier in my searches!
Keep up the wonderful work!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful devotion,recovering from anorexia, self starvation and the constant need to be thinner. I know I'm not where I should be in this journey yet, but I do know that my Jesus is right here with me, everyday is a chance for a new victory. Thank you.

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