|"That's a pretty handsome face.|
Do my flight feathers look too
fuzzy today, Mommy?"
(Chicklet, my Lovebird)
Photo by Carley
As the years passed, things changed. For a variety of reasons I gained a lot of weight. During these overweight years, I very rarely looked in a mirror. I only fussed with my make-up and clothes if I happened to be going somewhere ‘special’, which was not often. Even then I did not put as much work or thought into it as I had in previous years. I avoided shopping for clothes; practically, at all costs. I refused to admit that I need to shop in the oversized department, so therefore I did not want to shop at all! I would look in the mirror and felt that I did not recognize the reflection. For about a decade I the face looking back at me was not mine. It was something that felt very unsettling and I never got used to. I thought I was ugly. I even developed a self-harming habit that reinforced my thoughts that ‘I am ugly and I deserve to be ugly’.
Later when I started to lose weight my self-esteem started to rise again. The lower the number on the scales and the size on my clothing went, the better I liked myself. However, I still did not let myself look in the mirror often. I learned later, that just because I was changing physically did not mean that my mental state was going to change with it. Even though I had lost about 50 lbs at that point, I still was not ‘thinking thin’. I was still thinking in the same way I did as an overweight person. One day, as I was getting ready to go somewhere I was running around doing about 14 different things at the same time. I was in my bedroom wearing just my underwear and I caught my reflection in the mirror. I could not believe my eyes! I was completely overwhelmed and I started to cry. There was a new person looking back at me. This woman was the one I remembered from before... before I ever gained weight when I was happy with myself. She looked incredible... yet she is me!
As time went on, I lost even more weight, but I did not lose the ‘fat thinking’. I still struggle with it at times. Granted, I love the new energy levels and the attention. I also rediscovered my love of shopping for new clothes and make-up. As time went on I began to realize that the biggest problems in my life were still there. My self-esteem started to plummet again, adding to the mix of problems from Bipolar Disorder.
God has been helping me with these issues by reminding me, on several occasions, that I am made in His image (Genesis 1:27). In the book called “Who Calls Me Beautiful?” author, Regina Franklin talks about how we are deceived by the worldly views of what is ‘beautiful’. We are bombarded with images that tell us that thin is beautiful. Kids as young as 6 and 7 years old now are preoccupied with the shape of their bodies. We strive for perfection that is not possible because of false ‘photo shopped’ and airbrushed photos. The media around us and the voices within become false idols.
The bible tells us that this is not how God sees us. To Him, we are each one of His unique children. He knows us so well that there is no need for a ‘first impression’. First impressions with God are a mute point. He knew us before we were born; before we knew ourselves. (Jeremiah 1:5). He loves us just the way we are. When we say mean things about ourselves it hurts Him. Each one of us is a one-of-a-kind creation in His image... a masterpiece made by the most Holy God! He does not want our self-esteem to be shaped by the reflection we see in the mirror. He does not want our hearts to be filled with ugly thoughts or feelings about ourselves or anyone else. If we see ourselves as beautiful, according to God’s definition, we become more and more like Jesus... and we do not have to spend a dime! The scales and the size of my clothing are just numbers; that give ratings according to a worldly defined system of measurement. Granted, we still need to make our bodies and our minds healthy, but those changes are to be worship of God, so to make our bodies the temple He meant it to be (1 Corinthians 6:19). He has to be the number one reason in our hearts that we make changes. Otherwise we are still worshiping the false idols. Even the hottest and sexiest supermodel on the runway today, may not reflect beauty in God’s mirror. When we can look in His mirror and see a reflection of Jesus, then we know that we are truly seeing beautiful