July 3, 2014

Ladies, When You Look in the Mirror, What Do You See?

Ladies, when you look in the mirror, what do you see?

 If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, your answer can be “I see a beautiful reflection of God when I look in the mirror.”

Why is it so difficult for so many of us to easily and honestly give that answer?

Perhaps no one has ever told us we are beautiful reflections of God.

Reflections of God must be nothing less than beautiful, if we believe God to be beautiful. If our God is beautiful, surely we must share at least a sliver of that beauty in our physical selves. We can see it every day and acknowledge it with gratitude and grace.

Do we let the world tell us what is beautiful? Did some of us get mixed up and lost at that point? 
Basically, the world tells all of us that only a very tiny number of us are (or ever can be) truly beautiful and the rest of us must spend some of our spare time imitating, adoring, watching, and obsessing over “the beautiful.” When we are finished with the obsessing and the adoring, we are (directly and indirectly) instructed to head off to the stores and sites to buy something to bring us to a near approximation of beauty. We are offered no guarantees we will actually arrive at “the beauty destination.” We are, however, told we can never give up trying. Trying, by the way, often seems to involve spending lots of money and experimenting with lots of products and waiting in lines in salons, spas, gyms, and the like.

I am all for enhancing physical appearance. Of course, we all want to look our best. Healthy enhancement, however, begins from a place of self-acceptance, not a place of self-denial.

God tells us we are beautiful because we are His children. I like that approach to beauty. It’s possible for everyone to qualify to be beautiful in God’s approach.

How often have you watched family and friends smile over a newborn, certain the child will grow up to be beautiful because both parents are “good looking”?

Can any less be true for the children of God?

Recently, someone posted this quote on my facebook: “Do not fall in love with what’s on the outside. Fall in love with what’s on the inside, because that is what you will live with.”

I decided to memorize that statement because it is an ongoing reminder to me of how easily so many of us are seduced by good looks, of how easy it is to believe if someone is physically attractive they must also be good in the ways that really count and really matter.

Like many of you, I followed with interest and excitement this year’s media coverage of the Academy Award winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o. Her stunning expression of confidence in her own beauty (based on character and skill and preparation and courage, along with genes!) seemed to convince many that beauty had no single look. I hope that belief lives on.

Too many of us believe if we have dark skin, tightly curled hair, and full lips, we cannot be beautiful in anyone’s eyes, including our own. That belief is a spiritual problem, because that type of thinking elevates the legacy of colonialism and slavery over God’s permanent declaration of the goodness and beauty of His people.

Too many of us believe if we have fair skin and straight hair, we need to be “fixed” with tanning and (chemically caustic) perms. That belief is a spiritual problem, because these processes are known to damage the health of the physical bodies we need to continue living on the Earth.

Too many of us believe if our bodies do not match a certain size or number, we have no right to be seen in public, and certainly no right to go to swim at the beach or in a public pool, or to wear bright, happy colors. That belief is a spiritual problem, because God does not wait for us to reach a certain size before He expresses His love for us and sends His Holy Spirit to live in us.

Too many of us believe if we have reached a certain age, the best is behind us and we can never achieve any new heights because we are too old to be accepted or appreciated. That belief is a spiritual problem, because all of the life experience God has allowed you to have can guide and bless someone who waits to meet you around the bend on life’s road.

Beauty is a gift from God, and must always exist in whatever form He has chosen to create us. If that’s too difficult to believe, I invite you to spend more time listening to God and reading His word, and less time listening to those who aren’t in “the family of God.”

Beauty was not created for some of us to generate envy or jealousy from the rest of us. Beauty exists at all because it is God’s expression of self, and must be good and can live always within and upon anyone who is His, who is in “the family”, who looks to Him for everything worth knowing and having.

P.S. “Family” membership is open to any and all, at no cost, and upon request.  No sponsor is required for this membership. You can nominate yourself. That’s “the good news”, aka The Gospel.

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