"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (English Standard Version)
There was one item in my make-up bag, namely my foundation, that was used the most this last week and this weekend. I woke up one day to find a huge zit to the left of my chin. P-lease!! I thought pimples were a hardship of adolescence, not something someone approaching her middle years should have to deal with! It is amazing to me how one red bump on my face can change my confidence level, but it is so true. All I could think about last week and this week was that the only thing anyone saw on my face was my blemish. I found myself using my hand to cover up my face whenever I could or turning on an angle that made the left side of my face more difficult to see. People who talked to me got only half my face. I am normally a pretty confident person, although shy at first. Because I have come to accept the truth of God's Word, that He loves me more than I can fathom, my self-esteem has gotten a huge boost in recent years. I used to be burdened by what the mirror told me. That pretty much has been laid down...that is, I thought it was laid down until this pimple appeared.
I spent the better part of last week inside my house because I didn't want my blemish to show. Now that just took guts to write that because it sounds so silly when I see the words on my computer screen. I let an imperfection on my face hamper my freedom. It's ridiculous, but I think my obsession with perfection is more pervasive than I once thought.
Do you and I have to be perfect all the time? We know that we will never be perfect, but the standard that we set for ourselves is ridiculous. Just go to any gym in the U.S. The majority of women at the YMCA that I go to look like they just stepped out of a magazine for athletic clothing. The hair is perfect, the make-up is fully in place, and the cute little outfit is coordinated with the shoes. These women look like they are ready for a pageant rather than the true purpose of their visit--to sweat like a pig in order to burn off calories so that they are in need of a shower to wash all that makeup off their faces.
We women are so obsessed with our looks. One little blemish and that is all we can focus on. We are sure all eyes are on us and that the eyes are seeing something we already know but are hoping to hide--that we don't have it altogether. Girlfriends, my question to us today is what flaw of ours is keeping us from being fully effective in the kingdom of God? Is it our weight, our mousy brown hair, our wrinkled skin, or our imperfect teeth that don't allow us to flash that Hollywood smile? Maybe, like me, it is freckled skin, unusual hair color, or being convinced we have no talent. Maybe it's the lie we have believed for so long that we are dumb, slow to learn, unintelligent, uncreative, unorganized, un..., well, you fill in the dots.
We need a reality check! Guess who God decided to use in the pages of Scripture? A prostitute named Rahab who saved her family when the walls of Jericho fell because she hid the spies from Israel. A judge named Deborah who had to fight alongside a scared-silly man named Barak as she brought her people relief from their enemies. A barren woman named Hannah who gave birth to a little boy named Samuel, whom she had begged God for, who became one of the greatest prophets ever to live. A poor Gentile woman from Zarephath whose obedience to Elijah's request to use the little flour she had left to make a cake for him first sustained her and her son through a three-year drought. Another woman from Shumen was given back her son from the dead because of her kindness to the prophet Elisha. She chose to use her wealth to help him in his ministry. The list goes on and on. Perhaps the most startling surprise is that the Savior of the world was born of a teenage mother with scandal surrounding His birth. And what was Mary's response to the angel's message that she had been chosen to be the Messiah's mother?
"For nothing is impossible with God," [the angel said to her].
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:37-38 (New International Version)
What would happen if we said the same thing to our Jesus? He doesn't want those who feel they are adequate for the task. They cannot be used because they have their own agenda. No, He the women He has always used most powerfully for Himself are those who understand they are blemished and imperfect. They understand that they have no strength by themselves. They have no courage. They have no promise of what tomorrow will bring. But they do understand that God delights to take the broken, the blemished, the imperfect and transform them by His power and glory.
What's holding us back being used by Him, girlfriends? I can't believe that those women mentioned above didn't struggle daily with their imperfections. But they refused to be ruled and overshadowed by them. You and I must do the same. We have been called to God's own individual purpose for our lives--something that would blow our minds, give us ecstatic joy, and the deepest satisfaction that we could ever know this side of heaven if we are willing to glory in our weaknesses. We must stop looking in the mirror for all that is wrong with us and tell that woman on the other side who she is according to the Word of God. It is spelled o-v-e-r-c-o-m-e-r!
Jesus, let me glory in my weakness. Anytime that I do things in my own strength, I compete for Your glory. It is Your strength that is made perfect in my flaws. I am blemished, but You delight to use that in my life! Help me to walk according to the truth of Your Word, not the lies of the mirror. I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as You have said.