God made you to fit a specific shape and purpose in this world that couldn’t be fulfilled without your presence. You are unique, you are wanted, you belong.

Identity can come from many places, true identity comes from the Creator. Even if you don’t believe this, I want you to be encouraged by a few truths about how valuable you are and why it’s okay to believe it’s true.

Humility.

This is not the ability to degrade your own work or put yourself down in order to make others seem higher, it’s having an accurate picture of yourself and others, including God.

It is ok to look at your talents and strengths and say, “I am really good at that! I excel at this!” When you do, you are giving credit to the one who made you with that ability rather than denying how wondrously you were made by pretending you aren’t capable of wonderful things. In this, seek to align your heart with that of a servant’s, rejoicing that because you do have this skill you are able to both enjoy it (which is good) and bring joy and blessing to others (which is purpose and also brings you joy). This is glorifying to God, and it’s fulfilling. You weren’t meant to be a speck of dirt on the wall, you were meant to be radiant and in that bring light to others. That is what humility and confidence can do together.

Beauty.

You are beautiful, don’t you want to believe that? Then understand that at the end of your life when you look back on who you are and who you were and who you wish you had become, when you admit to yourself that you’ve always wanted to be beautiful, you’ll understand that at in times in your life you felt it was true and you will wish that you had the wisdom to hold on to that in the moment and keep it. You won’t be able to freeze that one fresh look you put together and keep it. You can’t depend on the approval of others that temporarily allows you to sustain a confidence in your appearance. You have to decide that you are beautiful, and choose to believe it. It doesn’t cost you are anyone else a penny. It’s free and it’s freedom. Choose to believe, ” I am beautiful.”

Skin deep.

I have learned a truth about beauty in this season of life.

The way you feel about your insides completely decides how you feel about your outside.

It’s true people say that beauty is only skin deep, but that’s looking at physical beauty in a way that removes false value and allows pretty and attractive to be appreciated as ascetically pleasing, crediting the creator for his skill. This is different. This isn’t about associating value of the non-physical with the physical, well, I mean it is, but I’m getting at something more.

Think about a person you heard about before you knew them and you decided you liked them. Perhaps a celebrity or friend of a friend or even your pet lab puppy comes to mind. The way you are able to appreciate what you know and like about them was superficial, real, but limited as if you had goggles around your eyes or only saw in one dimension. When you got to know them through personal experience and relationship, there was a depth their with three dimensional perspective.

It’s like that with beauty.

You can and should appreciate what is attractive and appealing to the eye, but you need to use all that you were given to see the depth and dimensions and layers. Like using every type of vision rather than just what your two physical eyes can catch. I’m talking x-ray, infrared, and those other weird ones I can’t remember but they look cool. Look without your eyes as much as you look with your eyes.

When I come home from a day of working hard, knowing I did my best with my heart and my mind, I feel beautiful. That feeling of knowing I am doing what I’m made to do and willingly putting in all my effort is satisfying in a way that changes my view of myself. I see myself as someone whole and worthwhile. I am thankful for the care I pour into others in my job. I delight in the fact that I’ve been able to use my skills and blend in my interests and hobbies. It feels beautiful, I feel beautiful. Beauty has become so much more than just what you can see, it truly can be felt.

Loved.

We people spend an enormous amount of time with our minds fixed towards others creating a list of how we should be like them. Meanwhile, they don’t notice how much cooler they are than us because  they are doing the same thing.

Imagine if we could get off the boat and stop riding these senseless patterns of behavior in favor of bending our thoughts towards what lasts. Or even what doesn’t last but needs to be continually replenished for our own good.

Like positive thoughts about ourselves and others. I’m not buying into a wishy-washy type of “positivity” fixes everything. I’m talking about power. Your thoughts lead to words and words have power. Have you ever felt better because someone gave you a compliment? How many times have you kept a compliment inside instead of giving it to someone? How would your world look different if you spoke every encouragement?

That type of thinking, on what is good in others’ behavior, is worth your effort. Taking a moment to acknowledge how far you’ve come when you have many miles left to journey, you need that, it’s worth your effort.

Take time to think about how loved you are. Remember the kinds words. Remember the gifts you’ve been given and the acts of service done to care for you. Place yourself in the shoes of those whom you have a positive impact on in your life and think about how valuable you are to them. When we have trouble showing love to others and just as much trouble remembering what we are shown, we need to make a habit of keeping these thoughts in mind to continually encourage ourselves and others.

Don’t wait to feel

Today I didn’t have a moment of sudden inspiration push from within my tummy like a hot air balloon of sunshine needing to be shared. Nope. It’s like that sometimes, the inspiration to write, but not today. I did it anyway. When I wasn’t sure what to do or how to encourage myself out of this rut that I’m trekking in (not standing still-no sir), I remembered the kind words from those who said I had an impact on them.

I don’t find certainty and constance in myself. I am changing in mood and feeling so often that as a human who is not perfect with feelings that lie, I know that’s not a place I can depend. At times it helps me deal with uncertainty by holding onto what I believe to be true. On days like this, I grab hold of a small truth and let it lead me to action.

I am made to love God and love others. If I know that my words can be an encouragement to others, then I use that gift that I enjoy to bring life to someone else today.

You.

I pray you are encouraged by these words today, and I hope that you will share your encouragement with those around you so that we might exponentially lift one another up. If we do that without ceasing, we might find that we’ve all begun flying.

It is Him that taught me and continually teaches me to love, my Lord and savior Jesus. And it is Him who gives us the ability to lift one another up and do so as long as it is today.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:30-31

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