Do You Think I’m Beautiful?

This morning in our Bible Fellowship Class, we started a new study, which is going to be Do You Think I’m Beautiful? by Angela Thomas.  We watched a portion of the video for the first chapter of the book, and she started out by describing how she looked in Middle School.  Now, her description made her sound like the ultimate geek, but she included a couple of pictures in her study guide, and I really didn’t think they were that bad.  But they always say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder right?  And even if I didn’t agree that her pictures were that bad, I can still relate to what she was saying.  See, I thought the same thing.  I ALWAYS thought I looked horrible.  I had these huge glasses that took up half my face (just like she described) and my hair was unruly and unmanageable.  But looking at my old pictures, I don’t really see what the big deal was.  I wasn’t as dorky looking as I remember.  I’ve included a few pictures of me here, so you can get an idea of what I looked like – They are extracted from camp photos, since that’s really all I have to work with at the moment lol.

See, I wasn’t that bad…but I thought I was.  I hated my hair.  I hated my glasses.  I hated myself to be quite honest.  (But as you can see, I was pretty good at covering it up with a smile.)

So then, the next thing that Angela was talking about was how she was invisible, and she didn’t want to be.  I wasn’t completely invisible.  Some people noticed me, especially the teachers.  I was the one who always had the answers.  I was teacher’s pet.  I don’t say that because of any arrogance or anything, but I was smart.  Maybe not so much in high school, but in middle school, I was pretty darn smart, and I was well-behaved (that was through middle AND high school), and I did my work and tried to get it in on time.  I liked making my teacher’s happy because they always told me how proud they were of me.  I had a favorite teacher, though.  His name was Mr. Tei.  He has always been my favorite because even when I felt the most invisible, he never made me feel that way.  Was he the EASIEST teacher – no.  In fact, I distinctly remember him telling me once that if I didn’t stop whatever it was I was doing at the time, he was going to spank me.  That was when it was still “allowed.”  LOL.  But he didn’t do it in front of others, and he spoke to me privately.  He never belittled or made me (or anyone in my opinion) feel small for not knowing something.  I just loved Mr. Tei for how special he made me feel.

Angela went on about how middle school and high school shape our lives, and as a time that clenches in our hearts how we feel about ourselves.  If we women don’t feel beautiful by the time we leave high school, chances are, we take that with us through college and every other facet of our lives.  It colors our perceptions and drives our actions and reactions.

I started out 9th grade not wanting to be invisible.  I wanted people to notice me.  I thought I was pretty great – well – sort of.  See my “pain” had already started.  I grew up being told that I wasn’t as good as the other kids – not by other adults, but by the kids themselves.  I went to a Christian school from 4th through 8th grade, and I originally liked it, but you know how kids can be.  They aren’t very nice – especially in grades 6 – 8 (and I still see it’s the same way with my girls – one is in 6th, the other in 7th).  So, these girls would tell me that I wasn’t as good as they were because I wasn’t a preacher’s kid.  And while I knew better, I bought into that hook, line, and sinker.  It wasn’t long before I withdrew from everyone and lived vicariously through my books.  Oh how I loved books.  I still do.  They are the one thing that can’t lash out at you and make you feel bad.  They don’t talk back and you can imagine that you’re one of the characters and dream about what it would be like to live in that world.

People thought I was strange – I rode the bus, and I would read, and these kids would pick on me.  I was made fun of because I went to the Christian school.  I didn’t think much of it though because I loved learning about God, and I loved the classes, I just didn’t care much for how I was treated by the kids.  I don’t recall having very many really close friends there.

So, in 9th grade, I convinced my parents to let me go to the public school.  I started out not wanting to be invisible, as I mentioned, but I initially thought of MYSELF as better than them. Maybe it wasn’t conscious at first, but eventually I became aware of it.  Because I was a Christian, I thought I was better than everyone – while at the same time not thinking I was worth much.  Which is a study in contrasts if anything ever was.  I don’t know how that works, but somehow it was true.  It took almost a year for me to realize how stupid that was.  I was and am, no better than anyone else.  Just because I accepted Christ as my Savior, doesn’t make me perfect, nor does it make me better.  I am still a sinner – though I know that God has a place for me because I accepted His free gift of salvation one day when I was 8 years old. There is nothing like other kids to help humble you.

In 10th grade, I had a falling out with my very best friend.  I had been friends with this girl for a long time, it had to have been since like 3rd grade, though I truly don’t remember how we ever met since she was a grade behind me.  I was on fire for God.  I talked about Him all the time.  I was not ashamed to be a Christian, and I wanted others to know.  And I really wanted my best friend to know.  So much so, that when she asked me to stop talking about God, I wrote her a note (stupid) that said that I would not stop talking about God.  My friend refused to talk to me after that.  I was so hurt and lonely that she would do that.  That’s when I learned that I had to keep my mouth shut and stop talking about God.  Oh I still did once in a while, but not like that.  A part of me was lost – and my courage fled.  I could handle talking about God as long as I didn’t lose anyone.  I had forgotten that God said that whoever did not “hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, and his own life also, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26) This doesn’t mean to literally HATE them – we are just supposed to love God MORE than them.  And I did, but I let this bad experience shut my mouth to some extent, and I became afraid to talk about God with anyone except other Christians as a result. Something I still have a problem with today.

By the end of High School – I didn’t mind so much being invisible.  Factors that I will not discuss in a public blog had a part in that.  The ultimate result was that I wanted to be invisible.  If I wasn’t noticed, nobody could expect anything of me.  I didn’t have to worry about meeting anyone’s expectations because if I was invisible, they didn’t expect anything of me.  The problem is, that I wasn’t invisible.  And people had very HIGH expectations of me, and I let them down.  I let myself down.  I let everyone down.  And I hated myself for it.

Fast forward to today (since this is becoming a very long blog, that was unintentional, but apparently this is something that needs to be shared).  Today, I don’t want to be invisible.  But I spend much of my life feeling invisible.  I hide behind my shyness.  And I am shy – but it’s a self-inflicted shyness.  I hide myself behind my wall, where nobody can get to me.  Because to let anyone get to me, would be to open myself up to getting hurt, and I don’t want that.  So I hide behind this high wall that nobody has the time or the energy or perhaps even the desire to climb.  The only one I am truly open with is God, and that’s because I have nothing to lose there.  He already accepted me for me.  He took me with all my faults and all the sins I had committed and will commit.  He knew what I was before I ever knew what I was, and He loved me anyway.  Besides, He already knows everything about me anyway, so what’s to hide?

But God did not make us to be islands unto ourselves.  He made us social people with the need for relationships.  Yes, He wants our ultimate relationship to be with Him, but He told us to reach out to others – that right there ought to be the clue that we are to build relationships with others.  I live my life in a self-styled loneliness because of fear.  Ultimately, that’s what it boils down to.  I am afraid.  I am afraid to let others know me because if they knew who I am and all the stupid stuff I’d done, they might hate me.  And I don’t want to be hated.  And I don’t want to be rejected any more.  I have been rejected so often in my  life – and it hurts.  And I don’t want to get hurt again.  So I hide.

But I am trying to break down that wall, one brick at a time.  I’ve broken out a few bricks, but not enough to open up to others.  Oh I’ve felt the desire.  I know God has something for me to share.  But to do that means I have to tell others about me.  YIKES!!!  So, now I feel like most of the time nobody really notices me, and I am starting to want to be noticed – not for who I am, but for who God is making me.  God has a plan for me – I just know it.

All this is to share that God doesn’t just have a plan for me.  He has a plan for you, too.  Jeremiah 29:11 says He has a plan for you – a plan to “prosper you and not to harm you.  To give you a hope and a future” (partly paraphrased).  It doesn’t matter what you have done or how horrible you think you are.  God sent His Son into the world “not to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).  The Bible says that God is “not willing that any should perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  He doesn’t want us to, but He will allow it if we don’t accept His free gift.  He offers a choice – all we have to do is make a choice.

So, that’s a part of my story.  I didn’t mean for it to be so long, but apparently God had other plans for my blog today.  Perhaps, this is His way of helping me to take out those bricks.

~~Gabby~~

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3 Comments

  1. gabbygee1976 said,

    February 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    that was beautiful mom. from your loving daughter kayli

  2. gabbygee1976 said,

    February 28, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    MOM WHAT YOU JUST WROTE WAS AMAZING I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT YOUR NOT LONELY(although you probably already know that). I LOVE YOU,ASHLEY LOVES YOU,YOUR WHOLE FAMILY LOVES YOU,BUT MOST OF ALL GOD LOVES YOU! I KNOW THAT WHEN I SAY I LOVE YOU IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE BECAUSE I DO NOT REALLY SHOW IT. I ALWAYS ACT LIKE THE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND JUST ME AND THAT MAY BE BECAUSE I FEEL LONELY BUT NOT BECAUSE OF YOU BECAUSE OF ME. I JUST MIGHT FEEL THAT WAY BECAUSE I ACT RUDE AND THEN NOBODY WANTS TO BE AROUND ME BECAUSE I WAS RUDE. SOMETIMES WHEN I AM BEING RUDE OR IF I AM HURTING SOMEONES FEELINGS I DO NOT EVEN REALIZE I AM BEING MEAN. MOM I ACT HOW YOU SAID YOU USED TO ACT WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER. MOM I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH! FROM YOUR LOVING DAUGHTER-KAYLI! =)

  3. gabbygee1976 said,

    February 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    P.S. I LLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

    FROM KAYLI


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