“Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

When a stranger looks at you, what do you think they notice? Maybe your eyes. Maybe your hair. Maybe your smile. (If you’re wearing one.) At first glance, your appearance will always be the first thing someone sees. Before your personality, dreams, goals, or past experiences, all a stranger can capture is everything on the outside. So of course, a lot of us strive to look polished, at the very least. I know that when I leave my house these days, I basically want to look hygienic and friendly.
But I’ll delve a little deeper than that.
Personally, my outward appearance has changed a lot over the past few years. For a long time, I used to make ‘throw-back thursday’ pictures of myself in high school compared to myself now and laugh along with everyone else about how I was ‘such an ugly duckling,’ and had ‘such terrible hair’ and how ‘everyone used to make fun of my bushy eyebrows’. At first, I made these comparisons because I enjoyed the positive attention it gave to my outward appearance now. Look how much I changed! I was so ugly a few years ago! And all of my peers seemed to agree. They just couldn’t believe I was the same exact person.
Then I stepped back. In those old pictures of me as a freshman in high school with big curly hair and braces, I never saw myself the way everyone seems to say they saw me now. In fact, those were extremely happy times in my life. I had plenty of self-worth, great friendships, and never would have compared myself to anyone. Especially, not myself.  Here I was now, a grown woman who lacked self-confidence and set the standard of her worth on how she learned how to curl her hair just right every morning and figured out what her best angle was when a camera was about to snap her picture. 
The reality is, I have changed a lot. But what should be the focus? Am I kind? Have I been generous? Do I love and cherish others? Am I still an ambitious hard worker? Do I enjoy meeting new people? Am I eager to learn new things? 
The shiny skin of an apple can easily mask a rotting core.
Take care of your body and treat yourself with respect, yes. But shine the light on what’s going on inside of your heart and your head. And your peers will grab onto that growth, too.
– Jenni

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