My Repulsive Self

I rounded the corner of 2014 and stared at my looming 31st birthday – yet another birthday and Valentine’s Day without a boyfriend. I wanted a Valentine this year, and I sighed as the day neared again with only the prospect of a call from my dad and a card from my roommate.

I’d long since given up the idea that something must be wrong with men in general because I was still single. My thoughts turned to my now-defunct lists, and how I used to have so many “deal-breakers” when it came to men.

He has blonde hair? He’s out. His last name is weird? He’s out. He doesn’t agree with me on some minor theological point? He’s out.

So if there was no more list and nothing wrong with men in general, there must be something wrong with me, I mused. It must be because there is some deal breaker about me, something that makes men take one look and say “she’s out.”

Clearly, if I could fix that thing (or those things), then I wouldn’t be single anymore, I told myself.

Fortunately, I only believed this lie for about two seconds before I realized how crazy it was. But since I’ve been tempted off and on to believe it since then, I’ve had the chance to process it a little.

Practically speaking, if there were a horrible flaw in me that automatically turned men off, and if there were a way to fix it, then I’d be attracting lots of men – not only the one God has for me. And I know my personality well enough to know I could NOT handle that.

Also, if I spent all my time concentrating on my deal-breaker flaws and fixing them so that I could get a husband, I would be focusing all my attention on pleasing men instead of pleasing God.

The first time I was tempted to believe the lie that I have a deal-breaking flaw I must fix, those practical/semi-spiritual truths were enough to shut it down. While they’re true, though, they’re not the whole story.

What I’ve realized since then is that, in the most important relationship in my life – the only one that actually lasts past this lifetime – I’m full of deal-breakers. In my relationship to God, I’m so repulsive (Isaiah 64:6-7) that no amount of work (Eph 2:8-9), perfumes, gym time (I Timothy 4:8), or charitable deeds (Titus 3:5) will make me beautiful enough or lovely enough to deserve His son.

Fortunately, God doesn’t expect me to do anything to make myself acceptable to Him. He accepts me anyway, because His son (Jesus) came and made Himself repulsive for me. Jesus came down to earth as an unattractive man (Isaiah 53:2), sacrificed Himself in the most hideous manner possible (Isaiah 52:14), and went to the grave so that He could negate all of my “deal-breakers” (Hebrews 2:9).

Then He rose from the dead so that He could clean me up (Isaiah 1:18), make me smell nice (2 Cor 2:15), get me in shape, and make my deeds pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:21). He gave me His own robes (2 Cor 5:21), brought me into His own family (Eph 1:5), and gives me all the promises of God’s kingdom (2 Cor 1:20).

So instead of wallowing in the lie that something about me must be repulsive to men, I choose to revel in the truth that everything about Jesus makes me attractive to God.

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