Throughout the summer I have been leading a small group of lovely gals through a study of the book, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge. We are a little over half-way through, and it has been a powerful experience. I have mentioned before how much I love the truths of that book, and this time has been no different. We have been challenged to constantly consider who we are taking our internal question of worth to; is it God? Is it men? The world? We have reflected on the messages we believe about ourselves that come from wounds from our past. We've also talked about how spiritual warfare is incredibly real, and we must be equipped with the armor of God on a daily basis as we are faced with an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. We must claim Christ's truths over the lies we have come to believe about ourselves. We have discovered that something women don't often think about is how we are specifically hated by Satan because of our beauty. The Eldredges describe women as God's "crowning moment" of creation. He created women to be the great beauty. Satan started as the most beautiful angel in all of heaven. It was when he became so completely full of himself and blinded by his own beauty that God kicked him out. Thus, he has what the authors term a "special hatred" for women and their beauty. I think he often expresses this hatred by convincing women to hate themselves. Yet we must not cower in despair. It is essential to realize and remember that the One who is in us is so much greater than he who is in the world.
Monday night we had a beautiful discussion about the way God romances us. Do you think of God that way? As being passionately romantic and in constant pursuit of you? In our culture we are trained to think that a fairytale often involves a man sweeping us off our feet, bringing us flowers, and wooing us endlessly. Well, let me just tell you, to a great extent, I have that man. I don't say that to be trite, but to say that God answered my prayers with a wonderfully romantic man...yet I still greatly struggle with my beauty, my worth, my value, and peace with who I am. Why? Because on Kevin's best day he cannot and was not intended to answer the question in my soul that I am asking. And if I am not allowing God alone to be that truth in me, I won't be able to enjoy Kevin anyway. True intimacy will continue to allude me. Single or married, happy or sad, at the highest mountain top or the lowest valley, the affirmation of our question of beauty must come from our Creator alone. At all times. Anything else is temporary, futile, and not at all what we were created for.
If you don't think God is pursuing you, perhaps it is because you are not paying attention. I encourage you this week to pay attention. Listen carefully. Create a comfortable space in front of a window in your home. Early in the morning or at some quiet point throughout the day just sit there and dwell on any element of beauty God is using to woo you. Is it the incredible sky, or the breeze through the trees? Is it a colorful garden, a flourishing field, or a beautiful bird with an intricate sound? Perhaps it's a song you hear, or a prayer that's been answered. It could be the little ones you have running around who have an amazing energy and fascination with life. Maybe it's a scripture that seems meant just for you, or a quiet whisper in your heart that you desperately want to believe He could actually be saying to you. The beauty around us speaks boldly to the beauty within us.
Monday night I encouraged my friends to let that moment come. Allow yourself to feel silly, and giddy, not fearing the vulnerability necessary to receive this great love. Cast off the weight of the world that you are consistently tempted to bear. Believe that what you most deeply desire to be true of you is being adamantly whispered in your soul by God, and shouted by him in his astonishing creation. It is true. I have been greatly convicted lately that it is not the romance around me that is missing; it is my insecure unwillingness to receive it.
Take some time to dwell on Luke 10:38-42 this week. It is the story of Mary and Martha. Mary "sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said," while Martha, "was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made." Do not miss any priceless moment to sit and listen to the Lord this week. Look for the times you can be absolutely present with someone God has placed in your path, who you can pour love on before getting anything on your "to-do" list accomplished. Do not wear yourself out trying to prove your precious worth. Instead, rejoice in this passionate romance in which you are playing a beautiful role.