"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right (very) well. My substance (frame) was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously (skillfully) wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect (unformed); and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:14-16
I don’t know anyone who is 100% satisfied with how they look. I’ve heard skinny people speak of how they need to go on a diet, and I’ve seen people with big muscles try to get bigger muscles. The muscle heads are not hard to spot at the gym as they wear tank tops and spend as much time looking in the mirror as they do working out. They are the envy of those of us aspiring to be like them, although my love handles are bigger than my biceps. I’ve watched them flex in the mirror and still seem to be unhappy, looking for more refinement in the upper quadrant of their pecs.
When I was young, I did not think much about how I looked as I was pretty easy going kid. I combed my hair and brushed my teeth because I was supposed to, but I only put in enough effort to look respectable to the public. As I got older, I became more aware of my appearance and noticed that my love for food impacted the way I looked. Sunday spaghetti lunch went straight to my gut and love handles, and I seemed to grow more wide than tall. I didn’t care enough to change my eating habits, but I did notice that I seemed to be less desirable to the opposite sex. No seventh grade girl was attracted to a five-foot 130 pounder who only seemed to grow the wrong way. I am not sure how I got to that weight so quickly, but it seemed to happened overnight.
The older I got the more I cared about how I looked, and I made sure to wash my face to avoid pimples and to brush regularly to avoid the yellowing of my teeth. I lost my baby weight as I played soccer and basketball for school, but I was still not satisfied with some of my facial features. I have a wide nose which was passed down to me from my dad and many others in my family, and it’s often referred to as the “Mendez nose”. My nostrils are rather large, and I can fit my whole thumb inside of each nostril without touching it. I was never voted most handsome guy in my class or even the most handsome guy with the last name starting with M. I looked at other guys and sometimes wished I could look a little more like them. I wanted different color hair and eyes, and I grew tired of the girls in my class putting me in the “friend zone”. I would often hear, "You have a great personality" and, "You are such a great friend." I did not want to be a great friend but I wanted to be a great boyfriend like the Abba song, "Take A Chance On Me."
I failed to realize in those self-conscious years that God had fearfully and wonderfully made me. He made me with the Mendez nose, and He made my hair and eyes the exact color He wanted them to be. He made me short by design and not by default. He tinted my skin the exact color He wanted it to be, and He gifted me in certain areas and not others for His honor and glory. He did not make a mistake in how I look, but He designed me with certain birthmarks and personality traits. He made me for this time in history, and I am certain that my God makes no mistakes. I no longer worry too much about how I look, even though I know I need to lose some weight which is now more for health reasons than physical appearance. I still brush my teeth, comb my hair, and shower to be presentable to the public, but I take comfort in that while I am not perfect to the eye, I was fearfully and wonderfully designed by my great God.
Do you ever look in the mirror and wish you looked like someone else? Maybe you wish you looked a famous star or more like your sister or brother. Maybe you wish your nose was smaller, your eyes were a different color, or your hair was curly or straight. Maybe you wish your neck or legs were longer. We often look for value in our appearance, but our value is found in the shed blood of Jesus Christ who values us so much that He died for us. Do you thank God for how He made you? Do you thank Him for the uniqueness of you? Do you look to use the talents He has given you for His honor and glory? Do you take credit and get puffed up for your physical appearance and spiritual gifts, or do you humbly bow and thank God for how He has created you? May we praise Him for how we are made, and may we bring Him honor and glory in how we use the talents He has given us.
Stay in the fight!