By Kelly Basham
While browsing an outdoor clearance event at a local antique store, a set of metal serving trays caught my attention.
The trays had pictures of elegantly dressed ladies sitting down for tea.
The price tag read, “$2.00 for the pair.”
I was surprised by the price and that they were included in the sale.
I picked up the trays to examine them further, gently tracing my fingers along both trays’ top, bottom, and edge.
I found its imperfections charming.
Every mark told a part of its story, hinting at an eventful past.
Spots where the paint had worn and chipped away from being handled often signaled they were an essential kitchen tool.
Indentations in the metal alluded to being accidentally dropped on more than one occasion.
Rusty cup rings imprinted into the trays suggested someone had repeatedly placed their beverage on top of them.
The trays had been through a lot, but were still functional.
So, I bought them, spiffed them up, and put them in my online vintage shop.
Those trays have since sold and found a new home, but recently a thought came to my mind about them.
Why could I see the value in a pair of old trays, yet struggle to see it in myself?
How We See Ourselves
Blinded by my own dents and dings, I often fail to see my potential and struggle to see myself as valuable.
The leftover residue from my sins, mistakes, and shortcomings triggers worry that God will view me the same way I do: damaged, useless, and unworthy.
I long to serve God, but fear I’m too inadequate and broken to serve Him properly.
It’s not easy to look past our imperfections.
Most of us have been taught to look for perfection—any sign of defect and we deem it unfit.
We think the better choice is if something looks lovely, seems strong, and appears blemish-free.
Fortunately, God doesn’t view things the way we do.
As Scripture affirms, God can look beyond our imperfections.
How God Sees Us
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
In 1 Samuel 16, God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem and anoint His chosen one as the new king of Israel from one of Jesse’s sons.
When Samuel saw Jesse’s eldest son Eliab’s robust appearance, the prophet thought Eliab must be the one.
However, God tells Samuel He sees things differently than we do.
Samuel is then presented with Jesse’s other sons, none of whom are God’s chosen king.
Knowing the Lord said His anointed was among the sons of Jesse, Samuel asks if these are all of his sons.
Jesse brings in his youngest son, David, who was out in the fields shepherding sheep.
Scholars aren’t sure why David wasn’t presented along with his older brothers.
Perhaps Jesse assumed David was unlikely to be chosen as the youngest son due to traditional standards.
Or maybe David’s appearance wasn’t similar to his brothers, and they considered him the least fit to hold such a position.
Whatever the reason for being excluded, David tended the sheep until Samuel asked for him to join them.
At David’s arrival, God tells Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one” (1 Sm 16:12, NIV).
As a shepherd, David was dirty, smelly, and considered unclean after caring for sheep in the fields.
But God chose David–a young shepherd boy–to be His future king, despite his appearance, rank, or position.
God saw a heart willing to seek Him and carry out His will within David.
Just as Samuel thought Eliab was God’s chosen one because of his stature and appearance, we can also view ourselves the same way the world does.
But what if we began to see ourselves as God sees us?
We Can See Ourselves as God Sees Us
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10 NIV
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word “heart” in 1 Samuel 16:7 means “inner man, mind, or will.”
The usage of this word reveals God was more concerned with the character of the future king than his appearance.
The world may have viewed David as a shepherd boy, but God recognized his willingness to seek Him and carry out His will (1 Sm 13:14; Acts 13:22).
When we see ourselves as God sees us, we can see we’re valuable and have a purpose.
Where we come from, what we’ve been through, or our mistakes don’t disqualify us from serving God.
We follow a God who looks beyond our imperfections.
God created us and doesn’t see His handiwork as unworthy.
God loved us so much that despite our imperfections, sins, and blemishes, He sent His Son, Jesus, to lay down His life for us so that those who believed in Him would be saved.
Yes, we have dents.
Yes, we have stains.
Yes, we have scratches.
Yet despite these things, God doesn’t discount us.
If we start to view ourselves the way the world does, let’s pause and remind ourselves how God looks within our hearts and sees our potential.
No matter how dented, dinged, or scratched we may be, we still have a purpose—we aren’t damaged goods!
We are chosen and treasured by a God who loves us.
He’s created us to bring Him glory as we serve Him and live out what He created us to do.
Kelly is a writer and blogger at Blossom in Faith. Passionate about pointing others to God’s Word for all of life’s obstacles, she encourages us to grow in our relationship with Jesus. Living in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Kelly enjoys arts and crafts, hunting for vintage accessories, and planning her family’s next visit to the mountains. Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.