Tag Archives: true beauty

God doesn’t discriminate

In the world we live in there’s so much proclivity for physical beauty. In an average girl’s eyes, a cute guy is one who is tall, and bears a six pack. In an average guy’s eyes on the other hand, a beautiful woman is one who has voluptuous boobs, an endowed bum and basically has an hour glass shape. That is how we measure beauty. But does God judge the same way?

In 1 Samuel 16: 1-13, The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you continue grieving over Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. But now get some olive oil and go to Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse, because I have chosen one of His sons to be king.”

“How can I do that?” Samuel asked. “If Saul hears about it he will kill me!”

The Lord answered, “Take a calf with you and say that you are there to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will tell you what to do. You will anoint as king, the man I tell you to.”

Samuel did what the Lord told him to do and went to Bethlehem, where the city leaders came trembling to meet him and asked, “Is this a peaceful visit, seer?”

“Yes,” he answered. “I have come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me.” He also told Jesse and his sons to purify themselves and he invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Jesse’s son Eliab and said to himself, “This man standing here in the Lord’s presence is surely the one He has chosen.”

But the Lord said to him, “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as man judges. Man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.”

Then Jesse called his son Abinadab and brought him to Samuel. But Samuel said, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen him either.” Jesse then brought Shammah. “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen him either,” Samuel said. In this way Jesse brought seven of his sons to Samuel. And Samuel said to him, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen any of these.” Then he asked him, “Do you have any more sons?”

Jesse answered, “There is still the youngest, but he is out taking care of the sheep.”

“Tell him to come,” Samuel said. “We won’t offer the sacrifice until he comes.” So Jesse sent for him. He was a handsome, healthy young man, and his eyes sparkled. The lord said to Samuel, “This is the one-anoint him!” Samuel took the olive oil and anointed David in front of his brothers. Immediately the Spirit of the Lord took control of David and was with him from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

Naturally, if it was just some random human being looking to choose a king, they would have picked Eliab; he was tall and handsome. Even Samuel thought he would be anointed as king. And after God rejected him, one would expect one of his other brothers- except David- would be chosen. But God surprised them all when He picked David, who was the youngest and smallest of Jesse’s sons. No one saw it coming.

God made it evidently clear; He, unlike human beings, doesn’t look at the outward appearance; He looks at the heart. Sometimes when one is feeling so downcast, they feel God wouldn’t look their way either because they have committed something they feel guilty about or because they suffer from a certain disease.

The readings above make one thing irrefutably certain; He doesn’t see the blemishes; He doesn’t see the crime committed; He only looks at the heart. If one feels God wouldn’t consider them for a favour, they shouldn’t look at their physical appearance, but their heart. Therefore, in my opinion, we should not judge people by their appearances but by their hearts, just as God, whom we serve does.

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’; that is an adage I heard when I was very small. It doesn’t apply to books only. If one decided to judge a book’s contents based on its cover, there are numerous books that would be gathering dust on bookshelves, unread. I speak from experience; if the books I’ve read are anything to go by, some of the books with the most unattractive covers turn out to be the most interesting.

love thy neighbour

That said, next time don’t disregard someone just because they don’t match your expectations. They could surprise you-in a good way of course. Give people a chance; let them show you who they are. If you end up dismissing them, let it not be because you assumed them, but because you have interacted with them and don’t like them. Whatever the case, don’t judge; don’t discriminate.

Love your perfect imperfections: Part 2

I was elated; my friend had just complimented me; I looked amazing. Even though he was just a friend, his words seemed to impact my life greatly. And now that I had his validation I felt great. I was doing things right. That got me all psyched up; I maintained my low carbs diet and intense work outs. When I looked at myself in the mirror I loved what I saw. My curves were just how I wanted them. I was thrilled.

A few weeks after that night, mom sized me up as I set the table for dinner. “You’re slimming,” she remarked. I had noticed it but somehow I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

“No, it’s because I’m in baggy pants.”

“I know the pants don’t particularly fit but I’m telling you, you’ve lost weight,” she insisted. “It must be the intense work outs you’ve been doing lately.”

I didn’t want to argue with her. I just went to my bedroom and stood in front of the closet mirror. I tried outfit after outfit, to see if what mom had said was right. My clothes fit, but I could see there were some unfilled spaces that were once filled. But even as I looked into the mirror I didn’t want to admit what was right in front of me; I was slimming. Given that I was still petite, it meant that if I lost any extra weight I would appear unhealthy. I had just come out of a phase where I’d lost so much weight because I had been straining too much at a job I had, which had led me to quit after realizing I’d started feeling weak.

I couldn’t imagine dragging myself back to that phase consciously. Whenever I bumped into friends on the streets they would look at me like I was sick. I was too skinny. At the time I hadn’t met my skating buddies. We only met later after I had quit my job and had put on some pounds.

That night when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized mom was indeed right, I made a choice. I could opt to slim to please my friends, or I could just be my real curvy self. I opted for the latter. I would be myself. Whoever wanted to be in my life would have to accept me for me; with all my perfect imperfections.

Beauty is more than just the outside appearance. I learnt that ages ago when I was still a kid. I wasn’t about to let people I considered my friends dictate the life I lived. If they wanted to be my friends they would have to let me be the person I wanted to be, and slim wasn’t it.

Around that same time I found myself too busy with school work; I didn’t have much time for hanging out with my friends. When I was free they weren’t and when they were I was tied up with something. Sometimes though, I felt like I was deliberately avoiding them. Months later, last year, one of my skating buddies and his family moved. I was devastated, because somehow I liked him more. He appeared to be the head of the team, even though no one had officially appointed him. He was just cool like that. In my opinion he was the skater with the coolest moves.

That same day I found out they had moved, I called my other friend to check if he knew as he’d been out of town for the past few months. He didn’t seem to know. While we were talking I asked him if he’d be signing up for a skating competition that was being held in a few weeks’ time. He hadn’t heard about it so I sent him the link. Before we hang up he asked how I was doing and I told him I was great even though I was still feeling bereft after learning our friend had moved.

“I know you’ve put on weight,” he teased. I just gave him a mirthless laugh. I didn’t confirm or deny it. He said he would let me know when he was back home. When I hang up, my thoughts lingered on his words. ‘I know you’ve put on weight.’  I realized he was just a vain guy, fixated on my weight. I wasn’t going to live a miserable life trying to please someone who couldn’t see past my flesh. That day something inside of me died; the desire I had to be validated by my friends.

I decided I wouldn’t let them call the shots. It was my life, my rules. If they thought I wasn’t good enough to be their friend just because I wasn’t slim, then I had no business trying to force myself on them. I wouldn’t live a dejected life trying to live up to the expectations of men who had a twisted notion of the essence of true beauty; flawed men who thought they knew what true beauty was.

John Legend’s song stirred something deep inside of me.

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

If someone loves you for real, they will love you for you; with your perfect imperfections; without trying to change you into what/who they want you to be.