Mirror Images: Learning to Love What We See

It was late in the day. I’d already sat through meetings and workshops for hours and I was tired. My friend sat next to me in the car and snapped picture after picture of my face and laughed as I couldn’t keep a straight face while trying to tell her to quit. It was funny, but I was not feeling very pretty at all. My hair had fallen flat and my makeup was wearing off after having worn it all day. I felt dirty and really just wanted a bath, some food, and my bed. I always seem to get caught off guard when it comes to taking pictures and I am far from being queen of the camera. Yet, I’ll go with the flow and usually laugh at the photos and try not to shriek at the imperfections looking back at me. But this day was different. I can recall making the comment that I hated to see myself in those pictures. As she tried to get me to look at each of the funny ones she’d captured of me, I just couldn’t bring myself to let my head turn in her direction. “I don’t like what I see looking back at me,” I told her with a straight face and a voice of honesty and vulnerability. Deeply, I hated it. And then it hit me. So often I pretend to love what I see, because it’s funny and those around me are laughing. No matter how many times she’d say to me, “but you look so pretty,” I couldn’t believe her. My heart and my head were in different places. And on that day, I said just what my heart really wanted to say, “I don’t feel pretty at all.”

The reality is, many women have probably faced moments when these feelings overwhelm and destroy. They force our hearts to be shut off to all life-giving truth. I’ve literally stood in front of the mirror in my closet and thought about all the ways I wish I could be different. I’ve wanted to look like my strong, skinny friends and know what it was like to be able to buy those cute clothes I see all the skinny women wearing these days. I’m guilty of looking at my reflection in the mirror and trying to change everything I didn’t like about myself. If I could only be taller……If I could feel comfortable wearing sleeveless shirts……If I could just be athletic I wouldn’t look like this…..If I could feel good in a shirt without worrying about my belly…..If I could wear those sassy heels…….If my legs weren’t so thick……If my hair was longer……If my face wasn’t so round……If my body wasn’t so Ahem, SOFT!

Ladies. You probably know what I’m talking about. I talk with girls about this all the time. I want them to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who just doesn’t make mistakes. I tell them they’re beautiful (because truly, they are!) and expect them to believe me. But we’re women. We’re human. And often what others say to us about our own beauty we let pour through the drain of our hearts instead of taking root in our soul. I wonder how many times I’ve missed the mark on this.

I’ve asked God lately, “Lord, why do you have me here?” I’ve wondered why I’m in this place and have often felt like a lone captain, steering this jon boat to who knows where in a sea full of million-dollar yachts.

However, comparison always magnifies the flaws and minimizes the truth.

The truth is, we are created by a God who doesn’t make mistakes. We are loved deeply by a God who knows His creation. When I take my eyes off of the beauty that God created in me and place my focus on desiring to be like everybody else, I always miss the mark and honor the creation instead of honoring the creator of it all. When I compare myself to those God has placed in my circle, I’m allowing myself to believe the lie that I am not good enough or beautiful enough to be here. I’m minimizing the truth of who I really am in Christ and instead magnifying what is beautiful and unique about me, I focus in on what I consider flaws because I don’t look like the other girls.

God pinched my heart and reminded me that no matter how I appear to myself in the mirror, there is no mistake in me. There is no flaw that was ever created in me because God’s creation is flawless. Song of Solomon 4:7 says, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.”

We are created in the image of God. We were formed to the exact specifications that God himself saw fit for us. We were chosen and called by name. We are a masterpiece. We are magnificent in the eyes of our Father and held close to Him like a priceless jewel.

Don’t trip in the trap of comparison. Don’t get caught up believing the lies that you aren’t enough or that there are mistakes in you. I’m learning that when I feel out of place, or like I just don’t fit in with everyone else around me, it is okay. I wonder if God could be calling me to NOT be like them- to be unique and be set apart, to look different. In those moments of my vulnerability and weakness God’s most beautiful work is on display. Instead of wishing and whining and wondering how I can just be like everyone else, I think God is calling me to embrace and esteem Him as the creator of all good things. I will magnify the truth of who I am in Christ. I will bring glory to the God who doesn’t make mistakes and honor the beauty God gave to me.

Comparison


Father, forgive me for seeing my differences from others as flaws. Forgive me for missing the opportunities to praise you and honor you as the creator of good things. You don’t make mistakes. You have never made one mistake and you never will. I may be a mess at times, but I am not messed up. There is no flaw in me. As you continue to create me and mold me to be just like you, help me to embrace the times of my own insecurity and look only to you. Help me to see beauty in the differences and esteem you as my magnificent creator. You have made good, good things and I am one of them. Amen. 

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