When I was in highschool and also as a freshman in college I wrote on my mirror.
“I am merely dust. Christ died for me.”
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
These words on stickers or scribbled in magic marker were a visible reminder of the truth of God – I am loved, and I am valuable in His sight. They were a reminder that of all the things in life my appearance should perhaps be one of the least important things. Words of life from a loving Father, encouraging me to do right even when I was so pulled towards eating disorders and other things.
I haven’t had anything written on my mirror for quite some time, but today I am resuming the old tradition.
It seems kind of silly, a little juvenile even.
I’m an adult! A wife and a mom! Shouldn’t all of that struggle be old news – something I conquered in a seemingly former life?
Why is the mirror such a bittersweet friend and enemy, particularly for women and even for girls?
How will I teach my beautiful, beloved, baby girl about beauty?
She is so precious to me. Incredibly beautiful in every way.
I remember as a girl, no more than perhaps – what, eight? – standing naked in front of a mirror, crying, desparing. So broken and so angry. The emotions are so vivid. I still remember my thoughts as I stood there…”You are disgusting. How could God be pleased with this? Did He really make you this way? You are so ugly and vile.” I could hardly stand to look at myself. I remember being self conscious about my weight as an even younger child.
Somehow life went on. I loved life in spite of how I felt sometimes. I grew older, played varsity sports, thinned out a bit and made peace with my face and body to an extent. God blessed me with good friends and a busy life full of good things. Despair about my appearance and my weight flared up from time to time. I sought accountability for my tendency towards an eating disorder and God was faithful to lead me through some dark hours.
And yet, here I am, years later.
Some days the mirror and something deep inside of myself still screams…
Is that the best you’ve got?
It’s paralyzing, really. Sometimes I feel like life isn’t worth living if I’m not pretty.
It’s hard to think of others and it’s hard to whole-heartedly serve the Lord when you’re mostly just devastated by a sadness and a brokenness.
Lord, how can I go on…while I feel so…not-beautiful?
Acknowledging these thoughts makes me so angry. Why is all of this so important to me? Is there anything of eternal importance or value that is bound up in my appearance or how I feel about my looks?
Maybe I’ll feel better when I lose the rest of my baby weight. I’m working on it. But I fear that this is a battle that I’ve fought for most of my life and it will probably continue.
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
This is what I am writing on the mirror now.
This morning, before church, I loaded up a Veggie Tale on Netflix for Kaya (haha! – she was bored of it in a few minutes – but mommy kept watching!). It was about “Sweetpea Beauty” and “Snoodlerella”! It was so so cute. You can read about it here. It blessed my heart today and gave me a bit of hope – God is listening to my prayer, He is helping me to care more about others and less about myself! I trust that if I continue turning to him he will speak to me and silence the voices that I hear telling me terrible hurtful things about myself.
LORD, help me to value You, and inner beauty, and the words of life that You speak to me. Help me to dwell on these things rather than what my own wicked heart would have me believe!
And thank you for loving me even when I am un-lovely.