Because I did'nt feel beautiful. I felt ugly...inside and out. When I looked in the mirror....what looked back at me was a far cry from even pretty.
Now....I have to explain that one of the most beautiful women in the world, Chris Noel, was my baby sitter....so I had a huge mark to hit. Chris was a real movie star. She actually starred with Elvis in one of his many beach movies. She was everything I wanted to be just like....in my gawky stage. One day, after I was a mother, I found a verse in Luke and began to grasp the concept. “But Jesus told them: ‘You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.’”(Luke 16:15) Appearances mean a great deal in our society and world today. Everywhere you look ….fashion models stare at you from the covers of some magazine or television show…telling us that if we do not fit this mold…something is wrong with us….and we buy into it…every single day. Billions of dollars are spent every year on products to enhance our looks, surgery to correct our looks, braces, contacts…and the list goes on….but….do appearances really count? What a person seems to be….appears to be, is that really more important today than who he or she actually is. I bought into the myth hook line and sinker. Most of my life…I have struggled.. trying to be good enough…good enough to please a host of people in my life. To be acceptable to all those that mattered to me. I struggled to be the perfect daughter to my parents….and failed miserably. I was not the brightest in school…I had some talent…sang at Church…loved serving God…but…I just never felt it was good enough for my parents…I tried so hard. My earthly father told me one day…it did not matter what I did…or tried to do…or looked like…he would always love me….because I was me. I was his special girl. I loved that man.
I was speechless, yet I still stuggled to be the perfect Christian…I did everything I was supposed to do…sang praises to God….worked in the church…everything…to be good enough for Him...and one day I realized…He loved me…because He made me. I may not be a finished product yet…but I am loved.
Masks are worn by many people. I wear masks sometimes. I stand on the stage and sing…and believe me it comes from the heart. I have a self-esteem problem. I have had this problem for many years. One Sunday it reared it’s ugly head once more. Diane Sherrill was going to sing at our church…for those of you who heard her…she was awesome. She has such a stage presence and was full of bling, blonde hair, and a lot of makeup…I too was supposed to sing a solo…and when Blue told me she was going to make a guest appearance…I told him…That’s fine…I will sing my solo another Sunday. I wanted to sing it another Sunday…for you see…My self-esteem could not handle this. Blue was adament…and I could not tell him…I can’t do this Blue…I did tell Rhonda Blythe and Steve Forehand…that I was NOT going to sing…and when Rhonda asked me why…all I could say was….She has on Shiny shoes! I thought Rhonda would fall in the floor from laughing so hard. Needless to say….I stood on that stage after the band had left…and waited…for what…I did not know….but…God knew…and he sent Brother Donn to fix the feelings of great apprehension I had…Brother Donn thought it was time for him to give his message…and he came running up on stage…realized I was still standing there…hugged me…told me he loved me…and returned to his seat. The hug was the best medicine anyone could have ever given me. I had a message from God to share…and that is what my purpose was....sharing God's word. Appearances meant nothing to Jesus, and little was more offensive to Him than pretense…or fraud. He could spot them in an instant. What was of greater value to Him? Sincerity….and authenticity….and a proper attitude toward God. Even right now….many still hold to the worldly tradition of thinking about appearances. Jesus gave us a wonderful story to help us better understand what is truly important. Once upon a time there was a very poor man..a beggar named Lazarus. He went to the rich man’s house…and begged for scraps. This rich man had it all…and probably threw out more than enough to feed Lazarus…but…he did not feed him ….and Lazarus died. The angels took Lazarus to heaven where he sat in a place of honor next to Abraham. The rich man died too and he went to hell. when the rich man looked up saw Lazarus, he begged him to feel sorry for him. He begged him to just dip his finger in some water and touch his scorching hot lips with it. Abraham reminded the rich man of what he had done when he was alive and the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth so that Lazarus could warn his family so that they might not suffer as he was suffering. Is what you look like, where you live, what you wear…is it of any real, lasting significance? NO! What matters is your attitude toward God…because that determines your condition in the life to come….for those who choose to follow Christ, the next life will be greater than anything they have ever known here on earth. They will be rewarded for their Smart Choices. The ones who have chosen unwisely...you got it, they will be punished. Appearance is not always an accurate indication of reality. The tax collector stood away from everyone else thinking he was unworthy to even look toward heaven…He pounded his chest and cried out, “Oh God, I am such a terrible sinner,” “Please have mercy on me.” A Pharisee…who was a man of the church…prayed at that same time….his prayer was, “Oh God, I am so grateful that I am not selfish, dishonest, and unfaithful like other people…especially like that tax collector. Which man pleased God that day? Pharisees were the purest of the Jews….they openly lived their commitment to Judaism by strictly following not just Jewish law…but countless unwritten interpretations of those laws. Rules governed everything they did. Pride in himself…was what the Pharisee showed that day. Pat me on the back…I am a good Jew….Pride like this leads us farther and farther away from the humility necessary in following Him. It prevents us from seeing with His eyes….and it blocks prayer from achieving its purposes. Humility…not appearance is important to God. Jesus looks past appearances…and beneath surfaces….and ahead…beyond present limitations…We on the other hand…see right here…and right now. Jesus sees future potential. His view of the horizon is much broader than mine is. He notices the little things…the things we overlook…or label as unimportant….and… more than just notice them…he gave value to them. Aren’t we glad…that God does not look at us…the way that we look at other things? Closely connected to our pride…is our ability to judge…and we do it well. “Why is it so easy for us to detect a tiny speck in someone else’s eye when we have a log in our own?” How can we point out faults of others…and not expect ours to shine brighter still? I am no prettier than I was back then. Becoming a Christian did not make the image I see in the mirror change drastically.....but what I learned was that it does not matter how you appear to others. What matters is our response to Him. It is because of Him that we can appear before God as someone forgiven…and valuable…and what He has done for us…we are to do for others. Our role is to point them to Christ…to gently point out the love shaped hole in their hearts…and show them how He can fill it…at this point I ask myself….Me? How can I do this? I am not worthy!…Is God sure I can do this? Jesus’ answer comes to me very loudly…”Oh yes! Without a doubt you can do this…you begin…by seeing people as I see them. Look beyond the appearances…Look at each person as someone God loves…as someone Christ loves…as some you can love…because you love me! Look at every person as someone of great value and expand your definitions of value and worth!” I am a Christian…I am not perfect…but I am forgiven. My job…is to tell about Him…the best way I know how. Hi…my name is Karen…I am a singer for the Lord.