I have a confession.
And it’s an embarrassing one.
But I’m going to tell you anyway.
I love that pop song by the teenage boy band, What Makes You Beautiful. And when I say I love it, I don’t just mean I think it’s catchy and will hum along should it happen to come on the radio. Oh no. I mean that I will search it out on the radio, crank it up and sing along as loudly as my far-from-teenaged lungs can manage. I mean that I have convinced my four-year-old it’s our favorite song. I mean that I have been driven to defend it to my friends who point out (and rightfully so, I suppose) that I am about 20 years past that band’s target audience, and don’t I feel just a little ridiculous?
Yeah, I really love it.
Why? Why am I
obsessed with such a fan of this silly song? Is it that the first notes of the song (and the video, if you must know) echo the song Summer Nights from Grease, one of my favorite musicals/chick flicks/movies ever? Is it that I admire the songwriter’s audacity to consider rhyming “make-up” and “cover up” acceptable? Is it that I simply love the floppy hair and sweet harmonies of British boy bands?
Um, no. (Although, I’m not going to start lying now. I do love every single one of those things.)
I love this song because it says the words I long to hear. At first, I only recognized my desire to be seen as beautiful. I mean, really, what girl (30-something years old or not) doesn’t want to hear someone say this? “You’re turning heads when you walk through the door. Don’t need make-up to cover up. Being the way that you are is enough.”
Despite that ridiculous rhyme in the middle, those words are sweet. And sometimes a person just needs to hear that she’s beautiful!
But this song speaks to a deeper desire than just that. If I take the lyrics of this song to heart (I’m not saying I do, but maybe I do.), I begin to think, even if just for the moment that it’s airing on the radio, that I have something special to offer.
You’re insecure (don’t know what for!)
If only you saw what I can see!
Everyone else in the room can see it,everyone else but you.
How many times have I wished, so desperately, that someone would notice me? That someone would recognize my potential? That someone would look me in the eye and say, “Hey! I see you. I see you, Mary. I see you and I understand you and I think you are fabulous. God has given you amazing gifts, and I can’t wait to see how you’re going to use them. You are His wonderful creation, and I see it.”
I don’t think that desire ends with adolescence. I think that desire lives in many of our hearts our entire lives. And that’s why I’m not actually all that embarrassed to belt out this song as I cruise into the grocery store parking lot or preschool pick-up line.
Throughout my life I’ve been blessed to have a few people who have said those words to me. (Granted, they neither rhymed nor danced while saying them, but I’ll take what I can get.) Most recently, my friend Janet has sat across the table from me and shared the most kind, encouraging, I-believe-in-you words I’ve heard in years. That conversation – or, more accurately, those multiple conversations, because she has continued to feed my spirit with encouragement – changed my life. It really did. Those words healed so many hurts and eased frustrations and, I’m not kidding, changed my life.
I’m beyond grateful for that friendship and those conversations. That’s not to say my needy emotional tank will stay full and I’ll stop loving What Makes You Beautiful and boy bands. But it does mean that I’ve been thinking more lately about who I need to say those words to.
For the past few weeks, my church has shared a series of messages about just this. We’ve heard about how God speaks to us – or sends others to speak to us – to tell us, “I see something awesome in you.” Of course we all have unique gifts, talents, personalities and experiences inside for someone to notice, but this series has been a great reminder that a few things remain true for every single one of us. So I want to tell you something.
and wondering why on earth someone would write hundreds of words about a boy band pop song.
I see you, and I think you are fabulous.
You are God’s wonderful creation. He made you, and He loves you.
He loves you so much He sent His son to die for your sins.
Yeah. That much.
And He made you for such a time as this, for the place and time you are living right now.
He made you for this, and you are going to shine. I just know it.
I see you, and you are beautiful.
If only you saw what I can see! Really, if only you saw what God can see. You may not know you’re beautiful, but I promise you are. Just read these words, these words that are so much more true and real and important than any pop song lyrics:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
(Psalm 139:13-16, MSG)
You were created by God. And just like when He created the first man and woman, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1: 31) He knows you. He sees you. And He thinks you are wonderful.
Has anyone ever told you how beautiful (wonderful, talented, special, amazing) you are? Have you heard God, your very Creator, tell you those truths? Do you believe it?
By: Mary, Giving Up on Perfect
ABOUT MARY CARVER
Mary is a recovering perfectionist who writes about giving up on perfect and getting on with life. She's also mom to a sweet (and sassy) preschooler and wife to her high-school sweetheart. When...