I shouldn’t be even be thinking this I told myself.
But that didn’t change that fact that I was.
The parade of beautiful women, most 20 years my junior, sent my mind reeling.
How did they get so…perfect?
To be honest, my thoughts caught me off guard. Of all things! Body Image – a topic I often speak and write about. Why was I thinking these thoughts?
I had allowed my mind to put me at the gate.
Let me explain.
In Acts 3:1, Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, were on their way to the temple to pray when they saw a man crippled at birth. Every day this man was put outside a gate named Beautiful, leading into the temple courts. There he begged for what he needed.
When the crippled man saw Peter and John, he asked them for money. “…Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.” (Acts 3:4b -5)
The crippled man had a need and he looked to others to meet it.
The name of the gate struck me.
I immediately thought of us women. We, too, are “put every day at the gate called Beautiful”.
Sometimes, it’s by choice. The gate called Beautiful might be called our closet, mirror, or make up bag. We look to these things to give us what we need. For others the gate is our friends or the man in our life. The gate called Beautiful might be the scale we hope will tell us the “right” number, the gym we join to become the “right” size or the mall we cruse through looking for the “right” outfit.
We go to the gate Beautiful.
Sometimes, we don’t choose to go to the gate. Ads, TV and social media constantly confront us with society’s beautiful.
And like the man put at the gate every day, many of us are crippled too.
Crippled at birth, the man didn’t do something to disfigure himself. He couldn’t prevent it. His maiming had everything to do with his birth.
For many of us, the way we are crippled isn’t our fault either. Daily, living in a culture obsessed with perfectionism, we’ve been damaged.
Because it is all we know, we go to the gate called Beautiful and we beg. Like the crippled man: “So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.” Acts 3:5
If we get a new outfit, we expect others to notice. A new hair style deserves a compliment or two.
Here’s the great news: we can be healed! Just like the crippled man. “Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.” (v.7)
When he took the hand of Peter, the one bringing Jesus’ healing, he stood up. Became strong.
That is what Jesus wants for us; for you! To become strong; a woman no longer crippled by culture’s standards. Who takes Jesus by the hand to become healed!
After he was healed, the Bible says, “He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (Italics mine)
Friend, if we take Jesus by the hand, allowing Him to heal our distorted view of beautiful, others will notice. Seeing our new-found confidence, they will be in wonder and amazement at what has happened to us too! When we allow God to heal us, we open the way for other’s to receive His healing too.
Let’s say: no more. It’s time we stop letting culture “put us at the gate” and grasp this: God says we are beautiful. Like the crippled man, let’s take the hand of healing.