Several years ago I saw a photo on the cover of a Christian women’s magazine that has had a lasting impact on my life. It was of a young woman. No makeup, long hair, no jewelry or fancy clothes. She was partially facing away from the camera so more of her profile was visible than her full face. But what struck me about the photo was that the woman looked like a godly woman. I wanted to be, and to look, like that woman.
In some ways, what I saw – or thought I saw – in that photo has been a hindrance to my feelings of self-worth as a Christian. I’ve always imagined her to be quiet, soft-spoken, calm… all the things I’m not. (As anyone who knows me will verify!) And at times, my admiration for that woman has brought a sense that I’m lacking in some way because I’m not that kind of person.
Thanks to the counsel of some wonderful, godly people over the years, and the love of a husband who is truly my biggest fan, I’ve come to the realization, however, that I don’t have to be that kind of woman to be a godly woman. I just have to be what God wants me to be and serve Him the best I can. That’s my living sacrifice to Him (see Romans 12:1).
It’s hard to remember at times that God made me the way I am, just like He made that young woman the way she is – or at least the way I perceived her to be since I have no idea what her real character was like. My thoughts and feelings were based entirely on a photo and nothing more. But assuming she is all I’ve believed her to be, it doesn’t change the fact that God makes us different because He chooses to. If He wanted us all to be quiet and soft-spoken, I believe He would have made us that way.
Some of us, like me, are loud. We get excited! We over-react. We jump the gun at times and we get ahead of the Lord. And while those can be considered negative traits, they can also be tempered to make us passionate Christians who want to do things for Jesus and who want to be a part of what He’s doing in our world. We’re often the ones who push for change, encourage action and make life interesting, if nothing else. That’s not to say that calm, soft-spoken people aren’t passionate about Jesus, but they’re certainly quieter about it. 😉
The thing is, we need to accept ourselves for who we are and not try to be someone else. Our purpose is to be pleasing to God. And God doesn’t want robots or clones. He wants individuals who will seek to live godly lives, putting Him first and loving Him with all that they are.
While sometimes I’d still like to be more like that woman whose image stays in my mind, I realize that God loves the me He made. And that should be good enough for anyone.