It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others, isn’t it? For me, a 55 year old dude with a few pounds to lose, a crooked back, and so much pain I have to walk with a cane some days, it seems I’m constantly surrounded by younger, thinner, healthier people. This one has six-pack abs or that one is older than me and can still run around with their grandkids. Our minds make the leap from “different” to “better.”
They MUST be better, because they’re younger/thinner/more talented/healthier/better looking, right? No, that’s a lie we tell ourselves.
Around 3,000 years ago, Israel had a king, Saul, who refused to obey the Lord, so God decided to appoint a new king. He chose His servant Samuel to go to the house of a man named Jesse and anoint one of his sons as the new leader. Proud as a peacock, Jesse strutted most of his sons out to Samuel.
No doubt they were showered, had their hair combed all nice and purdy, and were wearing their Sunday best.
When Samuel saw the oldest son, Eliab, he thought, “Wow, that’s got to be the one!” I’m not sure what Eliab looked like, but he must’ve been an impressive physical specimen.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart‘” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Thus, “taller, older and stronger” did not mean “better” in God’s eyes.
That’s been such a comfort for me over the years. When the beautiful people (side note to my heavy metal friends: I can’t use that expression without hearing Marilyn Manson’s voice in my head, singing, “The beautiful people, the beautiful people!”) look upon us with scorn, disdain and/or disgust, we can remind ourselves we’re adopted children of the King.
“God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5).
He CHOSE us to be His children.
Back to the story: Samuel looked at each one of the sons present, and was sure none of them had been chosen by God to lead Israel. He asked Jesse, “Are these all your sons?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”
The “but” is interesting in this sentence. “BUT” he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats. As if Jesse was saying, “Well…yeah…there is one more; DAVID. But he’s just a boy, not even worth considering. We have him watching the flocks.”
But again, humans look at the outward appearance, while God looks at the heart.
“So Jesse sent for him (David). He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, ‘This is the one; anoint him’ (1 Samuel 16:12).”
Jesus has a heart for rejects, freaks and losers, man, I’m tellin’ ya. Even Jesus Himself was a reject. In Psalm 118:22, we read, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” The Pharisees and many others flat-out rejected Jesus, thinking He was some kinda whack job.
But He wasn’t, He was the very Son of God! And His heart longs to call you “friend.”
Do me a favor and try to be kinder to yourself, ok? So WHAT if you don’t look like someone else, or sing or write or cook or play football or spelunk as well as them?! You weren’t created to be like THEM, you were created to be more like Jesus.
You be you. Love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and try to love yourself as well.
By the way, I’m preaching this to the choir, since I deal with self-loathing.
I’m guessing our biblical “heroes” weren’t much to look at, but thankfully, God doesn’t judge us like everyone else does. No matter what you or anyone else thinks of you, the Lord is crazy about you.
One thing I do to try and help my putrid self-perception is see myself through the eyes of those who love me the most. It’s still a struggle, but it helps.
Be happy, you’re God’s chosen! In His courts, you’re one of the beautiful people.