Dear Reader: You Are Beautiful

 

Dear Reader_ You Are Beautiful

Dear Reader, you are beautiful.

 

When you wake up in the morning and slip out of your bed, you are beautiful.

 

When you stand in front of your mirror, with hair disheveled and shadows under your eyes, you are beautiful.

 

You are beautiful in your pajamas, the ones you hope no one will ever have to see, with skin blemished, covered in acne or freckles or wrinkles.

 

Your hair is frizzy, skin is bumpy, and your body’s discolored – but you are beautiful.

 

That person in the mirror – the one you criticize for your imperfections, will into being thinner, pinch into being prettier, make up to cover imperfections – that person is the one that God loves.

 

God loves the person in the mirror without nice clothes, without a status or title, without a nice scent, without makeup or product or styling.

 

God loves that person because He is their Creator. And that person is you.

 

Don’t believe the lie that being beautiful doesn’t apply to you. Don’t believe the lie that says you are not enough. Don’t believe that you couldn’t possibly be loved, that you could never receive the free love that God gives.

 

Dear Reader, I beg of you, please do not fall prey to the misconception that you are the exception. God sees you as beautiful because He sees His Son’s perfection inside of you, radiating from every part of you.

 

He sees you as beautiful because He looks at your heart; that same heart that He has made as pure as snow and called holy and blameless.

 

1 Samuel 16:7b

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

He sees you as beautiful because you were made in His image.

 

Genesis 1:27

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

 

God has made you with care and wonder.

 

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

 

And you are beautiful because God promises it.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11a

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

 

As you stare at yourself in the mirror, curling and straightening and setting your hair, applying powder to your face to hide your scars and blotches and bumps, and dressing in the perfect outfit, remember that you are loved regardless of it all.

 

Remember that God sees you as beautiful, and loves you in spite of all your imperfections.

 

You were created in love, given a beautiful life to live, and a blank slate that God is using to write His story.

 

Forget the pressures of who everyone wants you to be, and come to your Father – blemished, messy, and exactly how He wants to see you: as you.

 

Friend, never forget that you are beautiful, and that you are loved. You can do nothing to change this truth, for everything you are is loved by the One who invented you.

 

He imagined your personality before you existed, and He called it good. He knew your thoughts before your parents knew you, and He loved you.

 

Never doubt how God feels about you, Dear Reader. He loves you, and He calls you beautiful.

 

*aj

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It’s Okay Not To Be A Writer.

 

It's Okay Not To Be A Writer.

It was a regular Tuesday morning. I had just awoken to the sound of my alarm (which I am nearly deaf to) after hitting snooze who-knows-how-many times and trying my best to keep my eyes open to no avail.

 

I had written a blog post the night before, so as I always do on Tuesday mornings before starting my day, I skimmed through likes, comments, and my blog feed.

 

Do you ever read a blog post wherein the author says something fabulous about another blogger and it makes you want to check them out? Well, that happened to me. I read a post recommending a blog and read a few posts.

 

The first line that popped out to me was this:

 

“I’m not a writer…”

 

Wait…what? You’re not a writer? You have a fabulous blog and you’re not a writer? What is this madness? Aren’t all cool people writers? (Apparently not.)

 

This is what got me.

 

I am not a writer. I am a blogger, among other things. One that keeps telling herself that someday, I’m going to write a book, and someday, I am going to get a fantastic idea that sticks with me and become really popular and everyone will love me.

 

Maybe a little exaggeration there, but you get the point.

 

For the past few months, I’ve been all wrapped up in the concept of being a writer (whether fiction or nonfiction) and have forgotten my identity.

 

I am not what I do.

 

It’s okay to not be a writer.

 

It’s okay not to be a pro surfer.

 

It’s okay not to be an Olympian.

 

It’s okay not to be perfect.

 

It’s okay not to try to shove myself in a mold that I do not fit in.

 

When I was three, I started gymnastics and I continued until age eleven. Eight and a half years, and that was my life. I dreamed of going to the Olympics, or getting a scholarship to some nice and fancy gymnastics college. I’d be flexible at fifty-three and stronger than anyone I knew.

 

But it never happened, and I know it never will.

 

When I quit, there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I was still me. Just because I wasn’t a gymnast anymore did not mean that I was any less of a person. I realized that it was okay to not be a gymnast anymore, because as much as gymnastics was a part of my life, gymnastics was not and could never be my identity.

 

Now, I’ve found the same thing with being a “writer.”

 

I haven’t stopped blogging, but currently, I’m not writing a novel.

 

For so long, I felt as if I had to prove to the world that I’m serious about who I am.

 

Prove that I am cool because I write books.

 

But you know what? I don’t write books. I write blog posts. And I’m happy with that.

 

It’s okay not to be a writer, but it is not okay to force myself into that one-size-fits-all mold.

 

This is my writing. Not books. But yet, writing isn’t my identity.

 

My identity is so much more important than a title. I could be a doctor, or a writer, or a teacher, or a lawyer, or an editor, or a mother.

 

But as much as those things could be part of me, who I am does not rest on that.

 

I am a child of God because He adopted me.

 

I am holy because He has made me holy.

 

I am precious and loved because He has chosen to love me.

 

I am forgiven because Jesus Christ died for me.

 

I have new life because He rose again for me.

 

None of these things are what I’ve made for myself, but who God has made me to be and given freely.

 

I say all of this to say: no matter who I choose to be, my identity will not rest on that. I might identify with some things, but it doesn’t matter what name I make for myself. Ultimately, the only name that will be important is “Child of God.” “Forgiven.” “Loved.”

 

It is very okay for me not to be a writer if I would have to get there by pushing and shoving and stabbing.

 

That is not okay.

 

No matter who I am, a writer or not, I will still be loved. I will still be Amanda. I will be just as valuable as if I had chosen a different life.

 

It’s okay not to be a writer, if that means that I get to follow God’s plan for me in another way. His way is the best way, and I accept that.

 

*aj