When You Feel Ugly, God Is The Gardener
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." -John 15:1-8
I paused and thought a while about using the word, "ugly." I don't use that word very often, but that's how the enemy can make me feel when I'm at my worst. I might even have an "ugly cry" over it. I've realized that these feelings come and go, our bodies grow in stages, but the Lord is always there, taking care of me no matter how I feel about myself.
If you think about the life cycle of a vine, there’s the sapling, the vine, the branches, the flowers, the fruit. A plant looks different throughout the various seasons. Sometimes there will be pruning and cutting back the excess, sometimes there will be healing and growth, other times there will be fruit and abundance. And behind every beautiful, changing plant is a good, trust-worthy gardener who waters, weeds, and cares for it in every season.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
How do we allow God, our gardener, to care for us through every season? When we remember our place and relationship with God, He can fulfill His purposes for us.
The Father is the gardener, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches.
Giving thanks and resting in this truth helps keep us in place with peace over how we may look in the moment. And God always thinks we are beautiful. He created us when we were born, and sustains us now.
1. Give Thanks For God the Gardener
Sometimes we feel yucky and unworthy of the mirror. It might be a passing mood, but in that season, let's look to the Father and give thanks that He is the gardener that tends to us and nurtures us, body and soul. The mirror does not make us worthy, but the Father does.
Other times, the weeds of stress threaten to entangle and manifest as fever blisters and eczema all over our skin. We are not alone. The good gardener comes and pulls those weeds. The good gardener takes care of us for His glory and our good.
2. Remain in Jesus the Vine
When we start to get unhappy about life and our bodies, take a deep breath and remember that we are branches, connected to the vine. The point of the vine is to bear fruit, not just look pretty. We can only do what is good and bear worthy fruit by resting in what Jesus is already doing through us.
It can feel like nobody cares and buying new clothes, putting on the best makeup, or losing the right amount of weight seems like a way to be noticed. Remember that we’re already part of the vine. Jesus not only sees each one of us, but we are one with Him. Abide in Him, and fruit will come in due season.
When we remember where we fit, we won’t worry as much about what we look like. We will be able to trust and be thankful. We will be more excited about the long-term fruit than worried over a short-term season. When we feel ugly, God is the gardener. Jesus is the vine. He will be here throughout the ages.
Reflect and Respond
1. Are you in a place of worry over what you look like? Focus on trusting the Father and abiding in Jesus. Have hope in the amazing things God will do through you through faith.
2. Have you ever said, “If only I could change ___ I would be happy”? Are you searching for happiness in somewhere other than the Lord? If something in your life needs to change, ask the Lord for wisdom. If this is a good change, ask for help along the way. You can do nothing good apart from Him (v. 5)!
Edited by: Danielle Holmes