In the last two weeks, I've read two articles featuring naked people that amazed me in a good way. And no...I'm not surfing porn sites for articles these days.
The first article was ESPN Magazine's Body Issue which just happened to feature a bunch of naked athletes. And although these photos were a bit on the racy side (and nude), I found them to be absolutely beautiful.
ESPN Body Issue
I didn't find as much beauty in the photos as I did the article. Each athlete is known to us for having some kind of strength, in part due to their incredible bodies. However, the article went into detail about how each athlete had an aspect of his/her body some might consider "undesirable". The basketball player showed off her big arms, big hands, etc. Another athlete highlighted her overall "density". The gymnast had to learn to embrace her overly muscular legs. The article embraced things society often considers to be imperfections and revealed that often things that might seem imperfect actually make us unique and give us ability. Although I'm fairly confident ESPN didn't intend to help highlight the beauty God created in each man and woman...that's exactly what the article did for me.
When God created man and woman, he created us naked and without shame.
Adam and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.
I think the ESPN article represents some innocence, vulnerability and a raw beauty rarely captured. (Now please do not confuse the beauty I find in these examples with a promotion for nudity. God created us naked but being naked is not exactly acceptable these days. Just wanted to clarify...please don't go around flaunting your raw, naked beauty to the world.)
The second article featuring naked people actually humbled me and quickly destroyed the beauty I found in the ESPN article. The article actually featured war veterans that were photographed in the same style as the ESPN photos. Athletic, strong...and naked (or almost naked).
As I read through the articles and photos in the ESPN article, I admired the beauty in the body God created. As I read through the war veteran article, I was reminded that beauty is actually not defined by a body. Beauty is better defined by a soul.
1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him [Note: this is referring to God rejecting Saul - characterized by outward appearances!]. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
In our world we are so consumed with outward appearance. From clothes to style to physical deformities. We define "normal" based on appearances. However, God is blinded to what we look like. He doesn't care if we wear white after Labor Day or have chunky thighs or have only 1 arm because we fought a great battle. He looks at our heart. And our acceptance of our Savior, His one and only Son. His one concern is our soul...and yet our concern is rarely focused on the soul.
So yes, I have been looking at naked magazine photos and articles. And yet these mainstream sources of entertainment, help remind me to focus on Jesus, my soul and the souls of those around me.
Nudity, beauty and Jesus,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.