This is an exercise for the evening or nighttime, preferably on a clear night, when the stars and moon are clearly visible. Outside is best, but if that isn’t possible, anywhere with a view outside a window will suffice.
You are part of a magnificent, vast, overall plan. You can’t see that plan, but I can. You can’t see how beautifully you fit in with the overall panorama of life and the balance of the universe, but I can. Someday you will see it too, and you will marvel together with Me at how wonderfully it all came together and how perfect it all is.You are unique. There has never been a person like you, nor will there ever be another just like you. That’s one of the things I like most about you.
Each person is a V.S.P. (Very Special Person) because we are each created in the image of God.
Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
My heart skipped a beat at the sight of the beautiful sign—not beautiful in an aesthetic sense, but beautiful because of one magical phrase: FRECKLES AND BEAUTY MARKS REMOVED. To my eager eyes, those words seemed written in silver and edged in gold, for they held a promise of freedom from the thing I had always hated most about myself.
Things, actually—seven of them, dark enough to pass for careless spatters of ink by a Creator too busy to notice His mistake. Since I had never seen so many dark “beauty marks” (who invented that cruel term?) on anyone else, the spots had made me feel singularly unattractive. Now I could put all that in the past.
A motivational speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up.
He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you, but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple the bill.
He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.
“Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.
At a workshop I attended, art and drama therapist Emily Nash shared an experience she had while working with traumatized children and adolescents at a residential treatment center in the U.S. The boys who attended her class were often combative, prone to negative and self-destructive behavior, and unable to trust adults or even one another. Almost all had histories of severe abuse and emotional neglect.
They routinely brought their negative attitudes into the classroom, as reflected in their foul speech and rough mannerisms.
“That’s not fair” must have been my three most-used words when growing up. It seemed that someone—or everyone—always had it better than me. By my early teens I had a well-developed measure-and-analyze mindset, and I was particularly obsessed with comparing my looks, personality, and abilities with those of other girls my age.
When I came into young adulthood and joined an office team, it was all about measuring up at work. I was convinced that the only way I would ever be accepted or appreciated was if I made up for my relative lack of skill and experience by working harder than everyone else. I was always trying to gain points (whatever those were and whoever was giving them out), and I was always frustrated with my self-assessed score.
If all the flowers in the world were one color, or if there was only one type of tree, it would get boring after a while. Beauty is found in variety—the varying types and textures, hues and shades. I don’t understand why people try so hard to all look alike. What’s the beauty in that? I look at these models walking down the runway, and while many of them have symmetrical chiseled features‚ great skin, and what the media and fashion industry promote as “perfect” bodies, most of them look similar. They’re perfect examples of cookie-cutter beauty.
The display cases at a pottery exhibition I visited recently were filled with items, large and small, some functional and some decorative, but all crafted with care. Practical coffee sets and elegant vases, ordinary fruit bowls and intricate ornaments, plaques and plates and figurines, mugs and jugs, jam jars and soup tureens, teapots, coffeepots, and sugar bowls—each item spoke of its creator’s passion and attention to detail. The art of fashioning clay into bricks, tiles, or porcelain objects is one of the oldest known to the human race.
Each item started off as a lump of clay, more or less. What made the difference? A pair of skillful hands, to be sure, but more than that: a purpose and a design. Will this item be a slender vase to display bouquets of flowers, or a set of dishes? Will the craftsman fashion a tiny pitcher to pour cream for coffee, or a large jar for pickling vegetables?
Dressing my three preschool sons alike seemed sensible at the time. It made clothes shopping easier, for one, and because they were brothers with similar builds and complexions, they looked good in the same clothes. At home it gave a sense of order, however superficial, to a household with three little boys in perpetual motion, and in public it showcased what I was sure was the most adorable set of kids ever. On a deeper level, it appealed to my sense of equity. I didn’t love one above the others, and had determined to never say or do anything that might cause them to think otherwise; I would treat them impartially in all things, big and small.
But as soon as they got old enough to make more of their own choices, coordinated clothes were out. As their individual needs changed and became more diverse, I found I continually needed to adapt and change how I gave each one my love and support. I still didn’t love one more or less than the others, but I couldn’t always treat them the same.