I peeled apples this morning.
Fifteen small McIntosh apples one by one lost their red skin to reveal grainy flesh. Peel fell into the waiting trashcan in short, wide layers; I have yet to master Meg Ryan’s curly-q technique. Though a tedious task, these apples were bound for a purpose that kept me peeling — the promise of apple butter outweighed the monotonous work.
As layers disappeared, they unveiled hidden blemishes beneath shiny red skin. Brown scabs, bruises, and discolorations affected each one. These were not flaws of a bad apple – simply normal, just not noticeable from the outside. If you peeled away the layers of just one and compared it to the other shiny red ones which had not been peeled, you might think the one peeled apple was bad, that it was unhealthy and therefore useless.
Over the past few weeks, we have been focusing on some specific women’s issues with the girls in our ministry. We did an event called “Stand Up For Your Sister” during fall retreat, and just this past week we had a dessert and discussion on authentic community, bringing up topics like forgiveness and conflict resolution which seem to especially plague women’s friendships with each other.
And my hope and prayer through this is that girls stop comparing their flawed flesh with the shiny red skins of others.
Several girls have admitted to lying on their “Stand Up For Your Sister” survey because they thought they would be the only one who struggled with that issue: praise the Lord that they were able to visibly see that they are far from alone!
My hope is the same for you, whoever you are, reading these words. You know your own flaws and struggles and sins more thoroughly than anyone else in your life, so when you compare yourself to others, you normally compare your flaws to the assumed perfection of those around you. I know I so easily get discouraged at how often I fall and how far I still have to go, and I have a tendency to think no one else is experiencing loneliness or body image dissatisfaction or discontentment with their current life stage.
But the truth is, we are each flawed. We all have things we wish we could change or improve or resolve, but those things don’t make you any less valuable or worthy of love. You have been accepted by God, just as you are. He chose to save you when even you didn’t know about your bruises and blemishes. And He offers you a freedom that can only be found in Him.