“Someone Like Me”

Recently, I was watching an episode of Three’s Company, and I saw something I had never seen before. Keep in mind, I’ve watched this episode MANY times (it’s one of my favorites), but the other night was the first time I noticed what I’m about to share.

It was the episode titled “Strangers in the Night”. Jack was dating a “Southern Belle” who, in my opinion, was no gentile lady. She was needy, demanding, jealous and incredibly conceited. Basically, she was ridiculous, and it was obvious to me, Jack was with her for no other reason than the outward package that her true self was wrapped in. Jack could do nothing right in this woman’s eyes. When they got to the Regal Beagle (the pub they frequented on the show), he led her to a table, and he sat down. She remained standing until he realized she wanted him to pull out her chair for her. The “bar maid” comes to the table with menus, and Jack begins to order first. He glances up at his date, and she’s giving him a look of disgust. He realizes she’s upset, because he didn’t let her order first. The lady takes their order, and this woman proceeds to lay into Jack saying she saw how he was looking at the other woman, and maybe he’d rather be with her instead. Ugh..gag me. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about a gentleman pulling out a chair  and opening doors for a lady; my husband does it for me. I’m all about a man standing up when a woman comes to or leaves a table. But what I’m NOT about, is a woman who brow beats a man for not doing these things.

Believe it or not, this is not what I noticed about this episode, but it needed to be said to lay the groundwork for where I’m going. Later in this same scene, Jack’s date excuses herself to go use the phone (again, she gets upset, because Jack didn’t stand up as she was leaving the table). While she’s gone, the bar maid, Lily was her name, I believe, comes back to the table to chat with Jack for a minute. She tells him she’s tired, and when he suggests she take a break, she plops her happy self into his lap. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. You got it..Miss Congeniality comes back to the table, gets mad and storms out of the pub.

Upon returning home, he tells Janet, Terri and Larry what happened. To win her back, they suggest doing something romantic that would appeal to her old fashioned side. They decide on him serenading her under the window of her apartment. He would then climb to her balcony, and give her a hand-written invitation to a homemade, gourmet dinner.

So, the time comes to carry out the plan. Jack and Larry serenade the song “You are so Beautiful to Me” (actually, Larry did the singing; Jack lip-synced). Jack then climbs the drain pipe to the second floor, and in true Three’s Company style, he starts to fall as the pipe becomes detached from the building. As he’s heading for the ground, he heaves the invitation through the open window. Unfortunately, he doesn’t stick around to see if she received it or not.

Fast forward to date night. Jack opens the door to find a heavy-set, but very sweet lady named Bernice standing where the Southern Belle should be. As she starts telling Jack how much she loved the invitation, how beautiful his voice was and it’s her favorite song, he is beginning to realize exactly what happened.

Here is the part I’ve been building up to. Bernice, bless her sweet little heart, makes a statement that hit me like a ton of bricks. She looks at Jack and says, “I just could never imagine something that wonderful would ever happen to somebody like me.” And that is where it hit me.

Outwardly, Bernice is obviously nothing like Jack’s blonde, curvy southern woman who is tall, thin and by society’s standards, very pretty. Bernice is on the heavier side with brown, curly hair. But the differences don’t end there. Bernice is a beautiful woman on the inside, where it matters, and absolutely adorable on the outside, with her bubbly personality, sweet disposition and innocence. She’s also very endearing, funny and passionate. In other words, she is leaps and bounds more beautiful than ol’ what’s-her-name (and to be honest, I truly don’t remember the name of her character)!

Bernice said she could never imagine something so wonderful happening to her. Why not? Her weight? Her looks, or how SHE thought everyone else saw her? I know this is just a TV show, but this is a reality for so many people. We are so afraid there won’t be anyone willing to look past the outward to get to know who we truly are. There are many, myself included, who look at themselves and don’t see what those who love us see. There are those of us who struggle with self image, because we aren’t what society or the media says we should be; we don’t look like they think we should or what they consider beautiful. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how everyone else sees us. We shouldn’t be looking through their eyes, anyway. We need to see ourselves as God sees us:

Psalm 139:14a (New Living) –Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:17-18 (New Living) – 17 “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

Zephaniah 3:17 (New Living) – “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Song of Solomon 2:4 (Amplified) – “He has brought me to his banqueting place, And his banner over me is love [waving overhead to protect and comfort me].”

Jeremiah 1:5a (New Living) – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.

Bernice, like so many others, truly believed she didn’t deserve anything good because of how she looked. She saw imperfections that, in her mind, disqualified her from being loved, wanted or desired. But what we need to realize is, our worth is not in what we see on the outside. Our true beauty is in WHO we are. God doesn’t look on our outward appearance; He looks at our heart. To Him, that is where the beauty lies.

I Samuel 16:7 (New Living) – 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.”

And when we have Jesus as our Savior, He sees Jesus in us. He sees us as redeemed and forgiven. He sees us a new creation:

II Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified) – 17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].”

You are a masterpiece created in the image of God:

Ephesians 2:10 (New Living) – 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES! YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE! YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT! 

Even if no one else wants you, God wants you, and you are here, because HE wants you here.

Psalm 27:10 (Amplified) –  Although my father and my mother have abandoned me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].”

Never lose hope. Whether you know it or not, you have a heavenly Father, a Daddy, Who loves you with an everlasting love. He loved you before you were even a thought in the mind and heart of your parents. He loves you in spite of the mistakes you’ve made (or will ever make). He is for you, even if everyone else is against you.

Romans 8:31-19 (Amplified) – 31 What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us? 32 He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect (His chosen ones)? It is God who justifies us [declaring us blameless and putting us in a right relationship with Himself]. 34 Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more than that, who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us. 35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written and forever remains written, For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11-13 (Amplified) – 11 “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

I love this one, as well. The Amplified is the absolute best for this scripture. Here’s what I mean:

Hebrews 13:5-6: 5 “Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” 6 “So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say, The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

Nothing and no one will EVER change how much God loves and adores you. EVER.

 

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The Ever Faithful One

On August 1st, I felt Holy Spirit drop an idea into my mind. “Have a weight loss challenge at work”, He whispered. I had been praying for the Lord’s help in once-and-for-all losing weight. For good! I’m one of these people who needs accountability. If I don’t have someone or something keeping me accountable, I don’t finish what I start. What can I say? I’m a work in progress. Thankfully, God isn’t one of those people. He never quits. He’s One Who means what He says and says what He means, and He won’t stop until the work He started in me is done. Praise God for His faithfulness. 

Philippians 1:6 (Amplified) “I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].” 

As I said, Holy Spirit gave me the idea, so I made a flyer and put out a sign-up sheet for anyone who wanted to join me in a weight loss challenge from August 1st to December 1st. Nine of us have signed up, and I’m so thankful for these precious coworkers of mine who agreed to the challenge. We each put in $5 for the one who loses the most weight/inches. I want so much to win this, but for me, it’s not about the money or beating anyone else. For me, winning means that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, and that is prize enough for me. I’m competitive (remember, work in progress), but in this case, it’s not about competition. It’s about God giving me a way to be held accountable to create and keep good eating/lifestyle habits, and nothing says accountability like organizing a weight loss challenge! Let me be clear: this is NOT a diet. I said a long time ago, I never want to be involved in anything with the word “die” in it. This, for me, is a complete lifestyle change; one that I will continue until I go home, or He comes back to get me.

What I have felt the Lord leading me to do is, cut out sugar, soda, coffee, etc., up my intake of water, and basically eat clean. Oh, and making it a priority to do that whole exercise thing, which has been the bane of my existence for a very long time. I used to say, “I like to exercise, I just don’t want to do it by myself.” Yeah, SO not true. It’s amazing what you find out about yourself when you’re put in situations that cause you to take an honest look inward. In a perfect world, I would love to exercise, and I would do it every day with vigor and enthusiasm. How many of you know, we are not in a perfect world? BUT, God is working on that, too, Praise His name!

In a previous post, I spoke about being addicted (OK, ADDICTED) to sugar. The Lord knows for me to succeed, I will have to have some alternatives to said sugar, so He has sent numerous healthy, good for me, desserts across my computer screen. There are several websites I follow that give me just that. Pinterest is a big one, as well as Facebook. I have tried numerous ones, and there are many that I haven’t liked. However, I have found a few that are fab-tasteic (I totally just made that up. True story).

So, since August 1st, I have only had sugar maybe once or twice, and it was a minimal amount. God is teaching me how to eat His way, because it’s the right way. He’s giving me the grace I need to pick healthy options in over 90% of places Jason and I have gone to eat. My flesh totally wants to get whatever (and I do mean whatever), looks good on the menu. I used to go for whatever made me drool the most, but since starting this journey (again for the 211,516,565,865th and LAST time), He has patiently guided me to things that are better selections and will allow me to stay on track. For example, Jason and I, along with my in-laws, went for a 6 mile walk yesterday (Sunday). When we were done, J and I were famished, so we went to Labowski’s in Robins to grab a bite. From the name, I’m sure you can deduce this was not a health food restaurant, but because God is so faithful, I immediately started looking for the salad section of the menu. I settled on a very healthy grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Things continued in my favor, because I drank a lot of water before the meal got to the table, causing me to eat a lot less (this was a big salad). I ate less than half, and I was full. These are the types of things God is doing for me, because He loves me beyond human comprehension. I also keep the following scriptures in the forefront of my mind a lot:

I Corinthians 6:12, 19-20 (Amplified): 12 “Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will do away with both of them.”

19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20 You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.”

Time is so short, and if I’m going to do what He’s called me to do, I need first answer His call to be the healthy, energetic woman He’s created me to be. I need to honor Him in all things, and food/eating habits are one way I am doing that. He’s been so faithful to me, and I’m honored, so honored, to be called His daughter. Remember, obedience is better than sacrifice, and He’s made it clear how He feels about the way we treat our bodies. My obedience is far better than giving in to any sugar cravings, because I know when I’m healthy, it means I’ve done what He said to do.

I Samuel 15:22 (New Living Translation): 2 “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lordyour burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

He knows when we are obedient to His voice and what He tells us to do, it will be for our benefit, and we will reap the rewards. He can see the bigger picture, and His ways are always better than our ways.

Thank You, Lord, for your Love and Faithfulness. Thank You, that I am precious in Your sight, no matter what choices I make. Thank You for loving me so incredibly much.