Masterpiece: 1. A work of outstanding artistry, extraordinary skill, or workmanship. 2. An artist’s or craftsman’s best piece of work.
“For we are God’s own handiwork (His workmanship). We are His masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus so we may do the good things He prepared and planed in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Do you think I’m beautiful?
If I’m really honest, deeply hidden somewhere within my soul is this question. It’s the question I sometimes ask without ever speaking it out loud.
I might package the question in different ways.
- “Does this dress suit me?”
- “Do you like my haircut?”
- “Does this colour look good on me?”
- “Does my bum look big in this?” Yes, I have actually asked this question! (More than once!)
I’m really asking, “Am I beautiful?”
Do you think I’m beautiful?
This past week on her blog, my friend Melissa Taylor shared that we are God’s workmanship. We are a masterpiece. We are a work of art. Made by the Master. We are a ‘piece’ of the Master, made in God’s image. I loved how she broke down this word. God’s. Master. Piece.
But sadly as I read over 100 comments on her blog, my heart was broken and heavy for all the girls who shared that they were going to have to work hard at believing Melissa’s message that they are God’s masterpieces. Girl after girl shared that they had never seen themselves through the eyes of Jesus. A work of art. Loved. A masterpiece. Beautiful.
And I understood. I knew how they were feeling because I’ve been there.
No-one ever called me ugly. No-one ever laughed in my face. The problem is, no-one ever noticed. And no-one ever told them me I was beautiful.
When I was in Grade 6 (I would have been about 12 years old) my mousy brown hair had finally grown to shoulder length. For some reason my Mum had always kept my hair cut in a very short bowl cut or bob cut. She must have thought it looked cute and pixie-like. It didn’t! Trust me, I’ve got the photos to prove it! Anyway, my hair had finally grown and one particular day I thought it looked beautiful because I’d worn it in two plaits (braids) during the day and when I’d come home from school I’d shaken out the plaits and lo and behold, my straight, boring, mousy hair had become wavy! (You have to remember, this was before curling wands and hair straighteners!) I felt like a Princess! I wasn’t the ugly stepsister. I was Cinderella riding my horse around the paddock without a helmet on just so I could feel the wind through my wavy, shoulder-length hair! (Yes, as you can tell, I remember this day vividly!)
Then my Dad arrived home from work. And do you know what he said to me when he saw me?
“You look like a witch with your hair like that.”
Ouch. Poof. One wave of the wand and Cinderella was gone. And I was the ugly stepsister again.
I just wanted him to tell me I was beautiful.
It took me years to finally believe that God created me in His image. An image that is both amazing AND beautiful! And somewhere along the way I learned that ‘beautiful’ is a subjective word. After all “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. What’s beautiful to one person might actually be considered ugly to the next. The question I finally asked myself is, who is my beholder? And the answer is, it’s God!
No matter how many times Tim looks at me and tells me I’m beautiful, although it makes me feel like a princess, it doesn’t validate my beauty. God validates my beauty. His Word validates my beauty. And if I am beautiful to Him then I am truly beautiful in every sense of the word.
Michelangelo is reported to have said (about his 17-foot marble sculpture of ‘David’ in Florence, Italy) “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo chiseled and chipped away at the stone that didn’t look like David.
As I’m reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book Unglued, I am (slowly) beginning to understand that during the times when things get tough and start to hurt
a bit a lot, these are the moments when God is chiseling and chipping away at areas in my life that don’t look like the way He wants me to look. It’s during the hurting times that He is removing the pieces of stone that look different to the way He originally made me. Beautiful.
You Are Beautiful by Katherine T Owen, 2009
God says, “You are beautiful.”
I say, “No I’m not.”
God says, “Do you think I am a liar then?”
I say, “Of course not, You are God. You do not lie.”
God says, “Do you think I am mistaken then?”
I say, “Of course not, You are God. You do not make mistakes.”
God says, “Do you think you know yourself better than I know you?”
I say, “Of course not, You are God. You see everything. You know me better than I know myself.”
God says, “Do you think I created something ugly and bad when I created you?”
I say, “Of course not, You are God. You create, and You see it is good.”
God says, “Do you think you are more powerful than me? Perhaps I create you beautiful, but you change yourself?”
I say, “Of course not, You are God. How can I be so powerful as to change the essence You give me?”
God says, “When you look at it, what you think about me is insulting.
You think I am a liar, or mistaken, or don’t know you well, or create bad things, or that I’m less powerful than you.”
I say, “I’ve never looked at it that way before.”
God says, “Do you listen to other people more than you listen to me?”
I say, feeling ashamed, “Yes Lord. But I thought they were talking for You.”
God gives me a look of sadness and frustration that His people do not always speak His words.
God says, “You are beautiful.”
I say…, and I don’t know what to say. My head, full of contradictory information, feels like it will burst.
And I know God is telling me something I really don’t want to know.
It goes against what I’ve been taught.
I don’t want to know that everything I’ve been taught is wrong.
I reply, saying,
“Yes God, I am beautiful.”
I am crying, and I am confused.
And I feel God will punish me for my pride.
Yet it is God who pushes and pushes me to see this as the truth.
God holds me in His love and lets me cry.
“Thank you,” He says. “Thank you for listening.”
Nicki (to God): Do You think I’m beautiful?
God (to Nicki): Yes, I do.
(And He thinks you’re beautiful too.)