This is Part 5 in a series titled Unseen. If you are just joining in, please begin here. Part 1 also includes an index listing of all parts of this series.
My thumbs moved in rhythmic circular motions massaging the soft, pink edges of the dress into the palms of my hands. It seemed to slow the pace of my heart. My eyes focused on my ankles and feet. One, two, three, four. I counted the pleats on my lace trimmed socks folded so they touched the top of my polished black shoes. If I stared hard enough, I imagined I could see my reflection in those shoes. Periodically, I stopped rubbing the smooth pink dress and reached underneath to the not-so-soft ruffles.
If I stayed still, the itch wasn’t so bad. When I twirled it reminded me to reach beneath and give it a quick scratch. The outside and the inside of the dress were in stark contrast to each other. The soft and delicate outside hiding the painfully uncomfortable inside.
Looking up from my feet, I inhaled a deep breath. The air in my lungs sent a message to my hands, which now opened and hung loosely at my side. My lips were sealed together. I wondered if I held them together long enough would the lip gloss work like glue. One last breath and one last pucker. It was now my turn.
When they called my number, I pranced across the stage feeling the eyes of the judges as they watched me. They noticed the grace, or lack thereof, with which I walked. They noticed the turns and curtsies. They noted how my eyes sparkled and how I engaged them with my smile. 45 seconds of all eyes on me as I worked to gain their acceptance and approval.
During my 45 seconds on stage, I was judged on my appearance, my smile, my perceived personality, my dress, and my gracefulness. I was judged on what was seen. A moment stamped into my memory forever. What others see in me matters. It was proven to me on that stage when I was 5 years old.
I did not receive the first place trophy; though, I felt I had done everything right. Was my smile not pretty enough? Should my dress have been a different color? Should my shoes have been shinier? What could I have changed so they would choose to like me? What was wrong with me and what could I do better next time?
Judged on the exterior and left feeling unaccepted. What would they have thought if they took a look beneath the surface?
The experience etched a message on my heart – what is seen is important. Your value, your worth, comes from what is seen.
When I read God’s Word, it contradicts just about everything the world wants me to believe to be true about who I am and if I’m approved.
1 Samuel 16:7
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
You see God sees us. We are His beauty queens, created to have a heart for Him. He sees not what the world sees. He doesn’t look for what is seen. He doesn’t use the scale the world uses. He looks at what others are unable to see in us.
God sees the heart He created within each of us. And redeemed by His blood I have Christ in me: the unseen in the seen.
I say that I know this to be true. I believe it in my heart. But the fact is, on a daily basis, I find myself acting not out of this confidence that He looks at my heart, rather looking for what the world sees.
This challenges me with each post I’m tempted to place online for the world to read.
Am I fishing for acceptance? Am I back in my 5-year-old body, in my pink ruffled dress attempting to gain acceptance based on what is seen? And even if I’m not fishing for acceptance, what does my heart feel when the likes don’t come in?
Each day of our social media lives can have the tendency to take us down that road. Each time He says, look up. Just look up. Look up before you go online. Remember I accepted you because of my son. Now, go ahead and enter into the social media world. You will be ok because now you remember you are accepted by me, and that is all that matters.
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