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. 

What REALLY Makes You Beautiful…

There seems to be a new trend taking hold in churches across America and in the lives of Christian women. This idea that true beauty lies within is nothing new- especially in the eyes of women who’ve been advocating this concept for years. But what I’ve seen most recently is that not only is this value leaving its mark on the ministry of the church as a whole, individual women are grasping the deep-rooted ideas from God’s Word that they are unique. They are valuable. They are beautiful when their lives line up with that of the Proverbs 31 woman. If I could share one thing with young women in my circle of influence it would be what you are about to read. Too often we give up the dream of ever meeting the man God made for us because we’re the “good girl” and we’ve allowed the misconception that boys don’t like “good girls” to creep in and steal away the very dream that God’s placed in our hearts. This isn’t just for the single woman or for the young lady who’s just trying to be pure and follow God’s plan for her life. It’s for the lady who leads women to be close to God’s heart through her ministry and for the mom who’s daughter needs to hear she’s beautiful and valuable in God’s eyes.

Ladies,  What makes you beautiful to the right man won’t be the clothes or the jewelry you wear. It will be the smile that lights up your face because you know who you are in Christ.

It won’t be the way you walk, but the way you unashamedly and fervently worship Jesus, your Savior.

The right man won’t be looking to see how many friends you have or who they are for that matter- he’ll first notice your words that are seasoned with love and grace and spoken to everyone no matter if they’re a long-time friend or just an acquaintance.

He won’t be checking out the house you live in, but the way you’ve made a home for Jesus in your heart.

What makes you beautiful to the man God made for you won’t be the job you have or the car you drive, but the way you’ve made it your mission to share Jesus with others no matter who you’re with or where you go. Time, place and season don’t matter. Sharing Jesus with the lost does. 

He won’t be concerned with how many people follow you in the crowd, but how you follow Jesus with all of your heart.

The right man won’t love you for the features of your face or your body, but for the way heaven shines on you when you humbly worship with all you have.

He won’t fall in love with you because of your personality alone, but because of the way you bring joy when you walk into the room- knowing all along that your joy is found in Jesus.

The man God made for you will look beyond the physical and into the spiritual. He’ll see inner beauty as having far greater value than outer beauty could ever obtain.
The right man won’t be sidetracked by what the world has to say about love because he’ll be so consumed by what God has to say about love and be ready to love you God’s way.

He won’t get caught up in social status symbols like names and titles because he can look at the way you live your life and know- really know- that you belong to Jesus first. There will be no doubt that you are a part of God’s family.

The right man will be able to see into the darkness that fake living creates. He’ll be able to discern who is genuine with their intentions and who is not. He’ll seek out meaningful relationships and stay away from those that have nothing to offer in the end but broken hearts and emptiness.

You see, the right man will be someone far greater than you could ever dream. In our futile minds we have a tendency to place want before need, but God always knows what we need- and He supplies it. God has the ability to make broken hearts new and ready to love and be loved again. He is by far the most beautiful author of our life stories, if only we’ll give him the pen.

My sweet Jesus girls- now is the time to stand up and be who God has called you to be. Walk confidently along the paths of His plan for your life. Be courageous and follow Christ. Fall deep in love with Him and all other loves will follow. Speak with the authority, which God has given to you. With love and grace, preach the truth. Go out into the corners of the world and share Jesus with the lost, the hurting, and the dying. Bring comfort to the sad, peace to the restless, and help to the wounded. Be merciful. Be gracious. Be humble.

Walk in favor and blessing everyday. This is where the man that God made for you will find you. Like Ruth who worked diligently and obeyed humbly, you too shall live. Keep about the business God has placed in your hand. Use your gifts and talents to glorify your Father. You’ll shine far brighter than the rest and the right eyes will fall on you in God’s beautiful timing. For now, keep doing your thing, sister. Keep doing your thing.