You are altogether beautiful, my love;
there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
I went to a wedding a few months ago with two close friends. Once at the church, another friend took our photo. Even though I felt confident in my sparkly dress (I know! Almost never happens!)—I critiqued the way my arms looked in the photo.
My friend replied: “Wow. I’m so sorry. It must take up so much energy to constantly be so critical of yourself. You are beautiful.”
I hadn’t realized it but I do this a lot when I see photos of myself. And I do know better but sometimes my mouth moves faster than my brain, and I blurt out the very first thought that I process. Sometimes that is something negative. Ugh! I hate that.
I have to change my thinking. Maybe we all do.
What if our first thought was automatically something positive? February is a time when we celebrate love. I know that Valentine’s Day is a consumer-based holiday setting up single folks and pressuring coupled folks to buy candy and dinner—but it does remind us of something that we need in our lives.
Love is all we need
Love. It’s all we need. Duh. Jesus is love. And we are loved by God and called beautiful.
The latest issue of Café is about love. Kristen Kuempel writes: “In baptism, we are reborn children of God. In the baptismal liturgy we are marked with a cross and told, ‘Child of God, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, and marked with the cross of Christ forever.’ . . . God speaks out over the chaos and tumult of life to announce to the universe, ‘This is my child, my beloved. With her I am well-pleased!’”
So when we encounter our neighbor or view ourselves in the mirror or in an Instagram photo—let’s remember that our first thoughts and words can be about love.
Speaking of love.: Come to Women of the ELCA’s gathering this July in Phoenix. Our theme is “Just Love.”
Elizabeth McBride is learning to do things better every single day. She is the director for intergenerational programs for Women of the ELCA and editor of Café.