I remember my blissful ignorance as a girl--never realizing my teeth stuck out into the next state until I got braces, or that I had undereye circles the color of plums until a woman asked in concern if I had slept the night before. And, suddenly, right around the time the acne hit, so did my self-awareness. Where before, all I needed to feel pretty was braids and a Daisy Kingdom dress, now I realized the world's definition of pretty, and I thought that my fat eyelids and red skin could never measure up.
Sadly, I have a hunch that I am not alone in this never-ending comparison game. Despite our best efforts, and the best proverbs ("Beauty is as beauty does," "Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain,"), we still find the opportunity to bemoan our worst faults before the mirror regularly. Yet, this beauty I spend so much energy worrying about is only passing: "When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; Surely every man is vapor. Selah (Psalm 39:11)."
Of course, I know--and I hope that you know--that I find my worth not in my outward appearance but in my standing as a redeemed child of God. I have something much more important than outward beauty with which to concern myself--I have a soul, once black and ugly, now made new and beautiful, bought with the very dear price of the life of my Savior.
I also know that God created me. Created me the way I am with exactly the features I have for His purposes. I remember as a child spending the day with my great-grandma, the mother of my grandmother and Mama's mother, who died before I ever met her. Great-Grandma looked at Lauren and I searchingly that day and said, "Your eyes are exactly like your grandmother's--hazel and green, changing in the light."
The very next opportunity I had to go to the bathroom, I did--and I stared hard at my eyes, not admiring any perceived beauty, but trying to imagine them as Grandma's eyes and what she must have looked like in person. I felt oh-so-proud to have Grandma's eyes after that. Never again did I wish for the blue eyes of my favorite heroines.
And then, there was the time a few months ago, where Papa made a passing comment about how I had the deep-set eyes of my Bobcha. These "deep-set eyes" have been the bane of my existence, but the minute he told me that, I knew he was right--I could already picture the very same feature on the face of my beloved great-grandmother (Papa's grandma).
This new year and always, I hope that you too will look at yourself searchingly and find those features which make you you but which also have been passed down through the family. Be blessed by the preciousness of sharing something in common with those whom you love so much. Then, remember that this is insignificant and generally unimportant: "Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God (I Peter 3:3-4)."
Take the time, after that exercise, to engage in something eternally significant and vital: look at your soul and heart searchingly. If you have not been redeemed by Jesus Christ, then you will find nothing beautiful or Godly there, and you must hasten to the cross to receive the gift of salvation and be covered by the blood of Christ. Be grieved at the sin and ugliness you still find and plead with God to eradicate those features carved into your being, but also rejoice, if you are saved, at the similarities between you and your Heavenly Father and how the Spirit is continually conforming you to the image of God!
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." ~II Corinthians 3:18
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: She Hit Pause Studios