Monday, July 18, 2011

The Reflection in the Mirror

~~1 Samuel 16:7~~But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”


 
Chicklet looking in Mirror. That's a pretty handsome face. Do my flight feathers look too fuzzy today, Mommy? Photo by Carley. All copyrights reserved.
"That's a pretty handsome face.
Do my flight feathers look too
fuzzy today, Mommy?"

(Chicklet, my Lovebird)

Photo by Carley
Sometimes it seems that I check the mirror a hundred times before I finally let myself walk out the door.  Even then at times I finish fixing everything in the car.  My hair has to be just right.  The bangs have to be straight and not curled too short.  On the curly-hair days, the curls have to be fluffed and puffed just right; but not too much or it looks like fuzz.  On the straight-hair days it needs to have that ‘just combed’ look, and then I want it to stay that way.  My make-up has to be flawless.  The outfit has to hang straight and look well put together.  I do not want to look too fat.  If I happen to be having a bloated-belly day than I have to cover it, yet making sure that I do appear as though I am trying to hide a bloated belly.

Many years ago a friend, who had done some modeling during her younger years, taught me a lot about dressing well; making sure that I knew such things as, what type of neckline I should  be wearing for my body type.  Plus, I had the privilege of meeting a professional make-up artist who taught me about doing my cosmetics in a skilled manner; teaching me not only the correct colors for my skin tone, but how to reshape my face with shading.  For years, I purchased only professional TV-cosmetics, and used only professional brushes and tools.  I special ordered all my supplies through my make-up artist friend.  In addition, my hair stylist was a guy who worked for modeling agencies.  He was expensive, but he was known as the best in town.  I spent a lot of money on how I looked.  Looking good is important, especially for first impressions.  A first impression can only happen once so you have to be ready!

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



~~Dear God~~ Your definition of ‘beautiful’ is far beyond anything that we can completely comprehend.  Our worldly defined views and creations of beauty do not begin to compare.  Please remove any desire I have to follow false ‘beauty-idols’.  Help my body and mind become healthy in a way that pleases You.  Make my heart become like that of Jesus so that I will reflect His beauty to all those I encounter.  In Jesus name, AMEN.


 

32 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 19, 2011

    Great message sister. I too have had a hard time with the mirror over the years.The last time I remember seeing a waist was when I too was in underwear and walking past a mirror and caught a reflection of my body. I tell you that was over 40 years ago and I haven't seen my waist since then!!
    When you are pregnant it is expected to not be able to see your toes in the last trimester but it is NOT OK when you are not with child.
    That is another thing I have not seen for years are my feet, unless of course I bend over and I try not to do that to often as it might put my back out!
    Growing old is not for the faint in heart; it is really tough therefore I am so grateful that God looks at us as a finished product not as we see ourselves, flawed and unworthy of love.
    Thanks again for writing from your heart. I want to say how much I love and appreciate you.
    Love Spicy

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  2. QUILTINANDI1July 19, 2011

    I love this scripture! Thank you for reminding me that no matter how I appear to society's eyes or the eyes in the mirror, God will always love me, NO MATTER WHAT. You've made my day!

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  3. QUILTINANDI1... I'm so happy that I helped you in some way. People say things like that to me about my writing, and deep down I'm not sure I totally understand it, because it's people like you who tell me nice things like that, that keep me motivated. You made my day by letting me know this. Thanks so much. Hugs.

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  4. QUILTINANDI1July 19, 2011

    You just keep being the you God made you to be. Hugs back!!

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  5. Thank you for a lovely writing. God bless and many hugs your direction!

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  6. Thank you soooo much Jamer123 :-)

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  7. AnonymousJuly 20, 2011

    thank you so much i can really relate to your story. especialy the one part about not wanting to look in the mirror. i do have a problem with that yet. i have had someone say that i need to tell myself that i'm beautiful whenever i pass the mirror. that is hard for me.

    kathleen

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  8. AnonymousJuly 20, 2011

    Great blog! For years, I never wanted to be in front of the camera but instead behind it. I also did not like to look at myself in the mirror but that's history now. Not only am I getting healthier, but my appearance is improving by the day.

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  9. GrandmaL21July 20, 2011

    That was powerful message. I feel like you were writing about me. God creates everything beautiful and we are His creation.

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  10. Very nice

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  11. Great blog!

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  12. Thank you so very much for telling me that. It helps so much with my motivation to keep writing.

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  13. GrandmaL21July 20, 2011

    You are a powerful writer and a great witness. Keep up to great work and testimony!

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  14. Thank you loved, loved, loved "reflection in the mirror". And equally so, if not more, your blog on dogs/God. Thank you so much for your very inspirational blogs.

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  15. You are incredibly awesome in how well you express yourself and how God sees us. Even down to the beautiful graphic: I grew up with parakeets in our family, and it's amazing how much time they would spend in front of the mirror!

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  16. LOL Thanks so very much EHAGFELD. Chicklet is a lovebird. He's my baby. He's quite the character sometimes. He is fun to play with and he has a great personality.

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  17. SPARKLISEJuly 21, 2011

    That was beautiful!

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  18. FRANCESHDJuly 21, 2011

    Great. Perfect for MOST OF US who are struggling with body image and self-esteem. Thank you for the reminder that God sees our heart

    BLESSINGS!
    Hugs

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  19. QUILTINANDI1July 21, 2011

    Not only does He see our heart instead of the ourside, HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US!!! That is the thought that gets me through tough times and struggles, I am NEVER alone.

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  20. STRAWBERRYLASSJuly 21, 2011

    Again thank-you for posting this blog.

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  21. poetandmoreJuly 21, 2011

    I have and know my identity...and I often ask myself is my soul clean? Am I acting with spirituality, with everything I do? I care so much about that and love Jesus. Amen.

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  22. LeanJean6July 22, 2011

    Great blog! Thanks!

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  23. Great Blog. Thanks

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  24. To all my readers, and especially those who are leaving comments I just want to let you know that I appreciate you so very much. You are all angels in disguise sent to me with special little messages from God. Thank you so very much for the feedback and the encouragement. It helps to motivate me to continue writing. Hugzzzzzzz to each of you.

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  25. Your quote as follows: "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..." is what has encouraged me today. It saddens me that I am so worldly that what I think about myself can so quickly change from day to day. You have reminded me that what I need to focus on is what and who God sees me as.

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  26. Anonymous - God works in mysterious ways. He's also one to use my own words to remind me of stuff. For the past month I've been hating myself, because of all that's happened recently in my life. I blame myself. I too can change my views from day to day; but this time it stuck around for a while. I'm glad I inspired you; but in turn you also inspired me. I wrote this blog last July & I had forgotten some of the details of what I said. Thanks for reminding me. God used you to remind me of my own words. Sometimes I wonder if he gets frustrated with me for having to teach me the same lesson over and over again.

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