This year has been interesting. Is that the right word? One of the hardest things for us has been all of the plans that have been changed or cancelled. Our family was supposed to take our first trip to Disney World this past May and COVID came and ruined that plan. As things started to open up, Nathan and I were praying about how to redeem part of the year that was lost. Our family’s happy place is exploring nature, so we started investigating a hiking adventure.
We looked at our bucket list of places we want to visit, and selected Utah as the destination of choice. Let me tell you, Utah is beautiful! I think God couldn’t make up His mind when He created the landscape for Utah. He put a little bit of everything in one amazing place! We enjoyed the beautiful national parks of Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon while we were there.
Since COVID hit we have enjoyed the laid back attire of quarantine. I got used to the lack of needing to do make-up and hair on a daily basis. So when I packed for our trip, I decided to leave all the products and make-up at home. To go all natural. I’m not much of a girly girl, but this was a first for me.
Our first hike was at Arches. It was amazing. There were large pillars of red sandstone everywhere. Like Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, there were some rocks that appeared to be just waiting for a big, strong wind to knock them down. The first landform we hiked to was one called “Balancing Rock.” We scrambled around observing this massive rock and exploring its structure. Afterwards we decided we needed to take a picture. There was a nice family also exploring and we cautiously asked them to take our family picture. (COVID sure does make this simple question all of a sudden seem more risky.) But anyways, the mom agreed.
Ashamed and Unworthy
After she took our picture she was gathering her family together to for a picture, so I extended the offer to take their family picture. I was stunned that her immediate response was “NO!” Then she proceeded to explain that she didn’t like how she looked. She explained that if she was several pounds lighter than maybe she would consider being in the picture. But she didn’t want to document the way she looked. In other words, she was ashamed.
This immediately broke my heart. This sweet mom had deemed herself not worthy of being in a picture with her family just because of a number. This picture, the memory of this vacation, the quality time spent together, would not be documented. One of the key players would forever be missing. All this due to a preconceived notion that a certain characteristic determines beauty and worthiness. For her it was weight. For others it might be status, clothes, wealth, or contribution to society. We have all been there and have self-diagnosed ourselves as unworthy. Can you relate? What is it for you that makes you hesitate to have something documented?
Tell a Story
I immediately spoke truth to combat the lies she was believing. I told her that she was beautiful, and that weight does not determine beauty. In the background her husband immediately backed me up. Way to go hubby!! She explained that she had gained weight after each of her four pregnancies, and she hadn’t been able to lose it. In response to her explanation, I helped her reframe her perspective. She should focus on 4 beautiful children being brought into the world, not on the way it changed her figure. I explained that she needed to be in the picture to document the time they enjoyed together as a family. That it wouldn’t be complete without her. Her family echoed my thoughts, and made the statements that she always takes the pictures and is never in the pictures with them. She paused and then hesitantly joined her family underneath the balancing rock. I snapped the picture. Here was victory step number one!
As I walked away, sweaty from the one hundred degree temperature, without make-up, in a baseball cap with a fanny pack pushing out my own pregnancy love handles, I was also reminding my own self of the meaning of true beauty. I know my definition is not the same as the Lord’s. I prayed for that mom and also for myself. That day I could relate to that mom. I too have stayed out of pictures for similar reasons. I honestly still have some steps to go to free myself from this type of thinking. In response I determined that on this trip I would embrace the time with the kids. I would not hesitate to document this precious time with my family no matter what I looked or felt like.
There is no such thing as “picture-perfect.” I love the reminder in 1 Peter 3:3-4:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Being healthy and taking care of your body is very important! But let’s determine today to not attach our value to a certain look or number. Your value is based on Whose you are, not what you look like. You are valuable because you are a daughter of the King. You are valuable because He created you in His image. He made no mistake when He created you! You are perfectly and wonderfully made. You’re picture perfect in His eyes! Let’s follow God’s scale and focus more on what is on the inside, not on what we look like on the outside.
So as we head into the holiday season, take that picture! Let’s determine that documenting the precious moments with family and friends is worth it. Remember these relationships are more valuable than looks! You are valuable, and you are needed in those pictures.
Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge