I am a very insecure person at times…especially among other women my age. It’s easy to spot any other woman who has better hair, better make-up, nicer clothes, cooks better, hosts better, exercises more, is more creative, is more entrepreneurial, has better behaved children, yells less, laughs more, has a better house, is more generous, or more punctual, or just generally seems to have it all together. As I go out for my walk each day, I cringe at what others must think of me. My unkempt wet hair, pulled into a sloppy pony-tail. The 6-year-old black fleece jacket I’ve never really liked. The jeans with a hole near the ankle. The athletic shoes and socks (better for my feet, but not very attractive), and the shirt I’ve worn two days in a row (which is on inside-out since I got dressed in the dark). Applesauce on my sleeves, and baby snot on my shoulders. I feel practical, not pretty.
It’s often easier to stay in the house, than go out and risk the imagined criticisms of others. As I walk around a high school full of teenagers dressed to the nines, I often feel completely out of place. They have the newest fashions and the newest technology, and here I am looking like the “Before” woman on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” I would much rather pray as Matthew 6 instructs: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” But for the sake of accountability and outreach, I am outside walking around in plain site, when I would rather crawl under a rock and hide.
Jesus told the disciples that “they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). I’m pretty sure that means we should pray whether we look good or not. You should pray whether you wear stiletto heals, slippers, or Birkenstocks to work. You should pray if your clothes come from Nordstrom or Goodwill. In fact, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). So if you’re going about exhausted with your shirt on inside out, and baby puke down your back, God has chosen you! When you don’t know what to pray, you don’t feel like praying, you don’t think God can use you, and you don’t feel like you look the part…keep praying and don’t give up.
Finally, don’t compare your insides to others’ outsides. King David made himself “undignified” before all Israel (2 Samuel 6) to celebrate the return of the ark of the Lord, and Paul called himself a “fool for Christ”. There’s nothing wrong with looking foolish if it’s for the right reasons. Remember, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4). God cares a lot more about what is going on inside your heart than he does about your appearance. He sees your unfading beauty, and you have great worth in his eyes.