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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: A Heart for God
By Donna Howard


A Heart for God

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ “ -- I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

I was a skinny child. I mean REALLY skinny. I wore a long-sleeved blouse or shirt, even on the hottest summer days to hide my bony arms. As a teen-ager, I grew taller, but not much wider. My self-esteem rode precariously on the tops of my shoes, and threatened to topple off at any minute. As a result, I was determined to do everything to perfection. I took advantage of “extra credit” assignments in high school in order to ensure good grades.

I was sure no boy would date me for my looks, so I tried to appear smart, witty and confident, although I was none of those and I was sure I was doomed to the life of spinsterhood. Then, wonder of wonders, in high school, a young man began to notice me. He was tall, dark and handsome with a quick wit and a marvelous sense of humor. His blue eyes sparkled with delight when I laughed at his jokes, and his gentle manner made me feel special. The fact that I was a freshman and he was a junior made it all the more amazing. We flirted for several weeks, and then he invited me to go to the school play with him. I happily accepted and we had a wonderful time. More dates followed, in spite of my lack of confidence and lingering fear of rejection.

Several months passed and I discovered an astounding truth. This young man really liked me. Skinny me! He liked me because I listened to him and made him laugh, and because we enjoyed being together. He wasn’t focusing on my outer beauty, or lack of it, he was seeing something else. Something inside me that I didn’t even realize was there – a sweet spirit, a happy heart and a gift for encouraging others.

We read in 1 Samuel 16:1-13, how God rejected Saul and all of David’s brothers as King of Israel and led Samuel to choose David instead. The others were all stronger, heartier youth, but God wasn’t looking at David’s size. He was looking at David’s heart and he saw a gentle and loving spirit. A heart for God.

God doesn’t look at how short or tall, skinny or fat we are, or at the color of our skin and hair. He notices when we love others and are kind, when we cry with those who are grieving, when we help those in need, and when we encourage those who are feeling low. He sees when we strive to become more like Jesus. He looks at what is in our hearts, just like my husband did.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for looking at our hearts and seeing us as we really are.

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Joanne Sher 06/14/07
Definitely a devotional teens will be able to relate to. Great examples (I was skinny too, by the way - still am actually LOL). This ministered to me too - and I haven't been a teen for, oh, um - a while! ;)
Lisa Holloway06/14/07
This article has nice flow from beginning to end. There's just enough insecurity for teens learning to find their place in life to identify with, but also a good message about what really matters--and what makes a good friend.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/15/07
"A sweet spirit, a happy heart, and a gift for encouraging others." Wow, true inner beauty and something for every teen (and adult) to strive for!
Leigh MacKelvey06/16/07
Teens need devotionals that address self-esteem and confidence. In fact ... we all do! Very nice writing.
Mo 06/18/07
Great ending!, loved how you added "husband" in there!