Ever been in a barren place you’ve never traveled through before? A place where your sure-footing lost its balance for a time?
When life is hard and it’s hard to find yourself in the midst of it; when it’s hard to just be you– then just be…
When life takes a 180 and you find yourself not feeling quite like yourself–then just be…
God knows you and He is El Roi, the God who sees you right where you are. You’re not lost, you’re not MIA, you’re right where you are supposed to be. And you are still who you are, no matter how your feelings may tell you differently.
I’m not talking about mindfulness or tense in time–I’m talking about resting in refreshment for your soul.
Present or Present?
Sometimes knowing we are going to be okay right where we are allows us time to just be present (adjective), instead of trying to present (verb) ourselves as we think others need to see us. We can quell the search for acceptance because we are already accepted. It is finished; Jesus made us His own.
We can know who we are in Christ–but that can elude us if we have trouble grasping what that means. It’s become almost a catch-phrase, and without the true meaning, we remain bewildered.
Who we are in Christ to me simply points us to the cross–the gospel and how we were bought with a price, delivered from sin, redeemed, and are being made holy through the ongoing process of sanctification.
Jesus created us, saved us, and called us to a holy calling.We are not perfect but we are perfectly loved. Click To Tweet
We are the saved-by-grace-through-faith daughters, and when we are in Christ, God sees us through His Son.
And we have an advantage over the BC girls. For them, Christ had not yet come to fulfill the law and save the world. So how did they know who they were?
Those God’s girls were looking forward to the coming Messiah–as we are looking forward to His return. Like us, I’m sure they had those days when they felt they needed to be who everyone else needed them to be.
This was probably a difficult test for Esther–but her true identity, though hidden for a time, never left her…
The Search for a Beauty Queen
Esther was a naturally beautiful young woman who I’m sure didn’t need a stitch of make-up. She was an earthly orphan with a heavenly Father who had her plans in place–even when her life took a whirlwind turn through a season of change.
The king was in the market for a new queen and an edict brought a sea of young lovelies to the citadel of Susa. Esther was among them, a beautiful girl who became an object of beauty in the king’s palace.
Awe, shock, wonder, fear, excitement–what was she feeling?
Can you just imagine?
I think when I was at the age she must have been, I was twirling a baton and singing into a hairbrush in front of my bathroom mirror.
The Book of Esther tells us she was beautiful and had a lovely figure. I’m not sure what that means in biblical terms, but it wasn’t as shallow as it sounds. It was ammunition for her armory. If she had been one of the ugly stepsisters this whole thing wouldn’t have worked out.
Her Hebrew name was Hadassah which seems so fitting…
Hadassah is a feminine form of the Hebrew word hadas, meaning “myrtle,” a common perennial shrub with evergreen leaves and white, star-shaped flowers. The flowers of the myrtle are used for perfume, and the berries for allspice. Myrtle is referenced symbolically in the Bible as a sign of peace and God’s blessing…” gotquestions.org
Before a young woman could go in to see the king, twelve months of beauty treatments were required. Picture living at the spa for an entire year. The meaning of her Hebrew name represented the very things probably used for her beauty treatments. Perfumes and spices. How prophetic.
And that part about a sign of peace and God’s blessing? Quite fitting as well.
She found favor with the man in charge of the girls, Hegai, and was given what seems preferential treatment. God had a hand in her finding that favor, but His name is never mentioned anywhere in the entire book.
We don’t need to see God’s name to see God’s providence.
A Story Worth Reading
I imagine Esther was humble and sweet. Her presence stood out so she could be sought out and called out to fulfill her purpose.
I wonder if she struggled with identity. I wonder if she felt like an object, lost in a sea of oils and perfumes.
Did she wonder who she had become? Who she was? No mother or father and now a mere object of beauty, pampered and prettied up to be turned over to a strange man–for an entire night?
Did it feel like a fairytale or a nightmare? Exciting or frightening or a little of both?
If you’ve never read the book of Esther, you must. It is all the feels and all the true-to-life Cinderella meets Wonder Woman. But don’t read it just because I told you to or just because it’s one of the coolest stories you’ll ever read–read it because God wrote it for us so we could know…
Read it because God wants us to know what He can do in and through us for His glory when we are willing.
More Than Just a Pretty Face
I imagine Esther was as beautiful on day one as she was on day 365. We fall for it though, don’t we, girls? The ads, the promise of lasting beauty. The creams and lotions that tighten and smooth?
Although the pampering treatments went on for months, she had no idea what she was truly being prepared for.
She becomes queen to the king, but that never negated her true identity, a daughter of the King. Her fierce calling unfolds as God sets the stage for this beautiful queen to outwit the enemy with her beautiful mind. And people were saved.
God sets the stage for the part we play in His big-picture plan. And people get saved.
And we must beware not to compare ourselves in the beauty game. Esther’s outward beauty opened the door, yes, but the beauty of her courage and calling shined brighter than her clear skin and adorning jewels.
We may not always feel like the beautiful creations we are–but inward beauty and the do-it-afraid kind of courage is what really shines. To put things into perspective, have you ever met a beautiful girl who became increasingly unattractive the more she talked?
The Freedom to Just Be…
I write this not about beauty and pampering and having clear skin and our nails done. I write this because we need to trust God has a plan even when our life does a 180.
And who we are?
It’s not just who we see in the mirror. We can stop striving to be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, friend, housekeeper, cook, businesswoman, leader…
We can just be, because God calls us to rest in Him. When we do, we melt into who we really are–and we can be real with God.
You have a fierce calling, woman of God. You don’t need twelve months of beauty treatments to do what God calls you to do. And when you find that new wrinkle? I hope it’s from smiling at hurting people or that child whose warm breath whispers sweetness into your ear.
Honestly? I wouldn’t mind twelve months of beauty treatments. You?
But people need to see the beauty treatment God does on the heart, not what a mud-pack does for the face.
Be you, and not a version of who you think others need to see. Be you, and not a version of who you wish you were.
Be you, and when your you gets tired and weary, just be so you can be ready…
Because you are made for a purpose, you are loved, and you have a fierce calling unfolding before your eyes. It is not always obvious even in plain sight. You may not see it until you travel ahead and look back.
Laugh Without Fear of the Future or the Past
We can look back without fear, not to see what used to be but to see how far we’ve come.
We can look back without fear, not to see what used to be, but to see what God has done.
We can look back without fear, not to see what used to be, but to see how God uses every moment to prepare us for what we are called to do for the glory of our King.
We cannot judge our beauty by these outward shells, but by what God wants to do and tell others through us.
Live your real life, lave in living water, and love the you that you are.
God has you, so just be–by resting in Him and with Him.
Love in Jesus who created your You,
May I pray for you?
Father in Heaven, I pray for my sister reading this prayer. I pray she would see the beauty in not only the joys but also in the trials of life. I pray she would seek Your face as You reveal her fierce calling and purpose. Lord, help her to love others through grace and truth as she makes Jesus known. Allow her to look back without fear and look forward with great anticipation of what You want to do in and through her. May she surrender total trust to You and find her security totally in You. Give her courage and Your peace, Lord, in whatever she faces and wherever you lead her. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Photo by Kyle Sudu on Unsplash