Fearfully and Wonderfully Made | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
November 2014

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

By: Katherine Harris

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

God made the universe, and saw that it was good. God made the earth and everything on it, and saw that it was good. God made humankind, and saw that His creation was good.

Woman looked in the mirror, and saw that it was not good.

A Dove-commissioned study on women’s views of beauty and self-esteem found that only 11% of girls surveyed globally felt comfortable calling themselves beautiful. In adult women, that number drops to a staggering 4%. Four percent.

The phrase “fearfully and wonderfully made” is one that most of us are familiar with. The same phrase is worded in the Common English Bible as follows:

“I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.”

Marvelously set apart. Fearfully and wonderfully made. You do know that God is talking about you, right?

Women often receive conflicting messages about our bodies from both the church and secular culture, and they are equally negative. The church sometimes teaches, implicitly or explicitly, that our bodies are shameful, that the human form (particularly the female form) is fundamentally displeasing to God.

(Full disclosure: I grew up in a very conservative denomination and only found my way to the Methodist church in college, so my religious upbringing was culturally quite different from my current church.)

On the flip side, secular media tell us that our bodies are objects, and are treated as such. Sex sells; the more skin, the better. But rather than being empowering, this message is damaging too. While exalting the body and physical beauty, the media simultaneously tells us that our bodies are not good enough. Too fat. Too skinny. Wrong skin color. Wrong hair type. Too much, too little—everything seems to be in excess or famine.

Neither of these messages—the shaming of fundamentalism or the hypersexualized consumer culture—are healthy, or true. Your body is not an evil thing, nor is it a thing at all—it is the physical home of your soul, formed by the Creator who made all bodies, and saw that they were all good. Every single one. No exceptions.

How differently would we treat ourselves if we kept that truth in mind? How much kinder would we be to ourselves, how much more would we love the skin we’re in, if we continually embraced our identity as God’s beautiful, unique creation?

Learning to love your body is not easy, especially when you are bombarded with messages telling you that it is inherently flawed. But it is possible, and we come one step closer every day that we make the conscious decision to smile at the mirror, treat ourselves kindly, and remember this: God made all of us—all shapes, heights, weights, colors, and abilities—each as wonderful and set apart as the next.

You are marvelous. God said so.

Discussion Questions: Do you think you’re beautiful? Why do you think we are often so much more critical of our own bodies than we are of other people’s? How do you think God wants you to view your body? What steps can you take in your daily life to help improve the way you see yourself?

See more devotions from Katherine and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.