The Beautiful Ugly Duckling
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".1
Most of us will be familiar with the children's fable of the ugly duckling how a mother hen had six beautiful golden yellow chicks and one ugly gray one. The ugly one was picked on by all the other chicks, rejected, made fun of, and made to feel terrible because he was so different. You can imagine how he felt. Some time later when all the chicks were grown, along came a flock of beautiful swans. How the ugly duckling adored them and lo and behold, he looked into the water and saw his own reflection and came to the profound realization that he wasn't an ugly duckling but a beautiful swan! His life was forever changed.
Did you ever feel like you were an "ugly duckling" misfit? Many of us have. Many still do. I've known beautiful people who felt and believed they were ugly. In younger days I had a "girl friend" who told me I was ugly. Tragically I believed her! She wasn't my girl friend very long but the image she planted in my mind took a long time to erase. When we define ourselves as ugly and believe it, it can be devastating to our self-image and behavior and how well we do in life.
When parents or peers repeatedly tell us we are ugly, clumsy, stupid or whatever, and we believe what they say and define ourselves that way, we tend to act accordingly because we always act consistently with what we believe deep down—no matter what we may profess.
I know it is easier said than done, but there is only one way to truly define ourselves, and that is how God sees us. And when we see ourselves this way, our life can be forever changed too!
Certainly God sees our wounded-ness, our brokenness, our sins, and our failures, but he separates our person from our actions and sees beyond these. He sees us as his creation and loves us with an everlasting love. He sees the person in us that he envisions us to be . . . our potential and what, with his help, we can become.
As Michelangelo said, "I saw the angel in the marble and chiseled until I set it free." That's how God sees you and me. He looks beyond the rugged exterior and sees the "angel" within each of us.
As God said to the ancient Israelites, he also says to you and me: "For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
May God help each of us to see ourselves as God sees us, to see our God-given potential, and with God's help become that person. (If you haven't already done this, it begins with accepting God's Son, Jesus Christ, as your personal Lord and Savior. For help, click on the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.)
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you know and see me exactly as I am—and love and accept me totally as I am. Thank you, too, that you have a wonderful plan and purpose for my life. Please help me to see this, believe it, and define myself as you see me—and with your help, become that person. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."
1. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)