child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Thursday, September 30, 2010

why does the mirror lie?

I asked my best friend yesterday if I had really lost that much weight. She asked what I meant.  People are noticing.  Friends have stopped me to tell me that I'm looking good.  People who know nothing of my struggle are saying how much weight I have lost.  The front desk lady at my children's school flat out asked me if I was anorexic and if that is why the kids missed 4 days of school (when I was in the hospital).  A friend told me the other day that I had lost alot in my legs, to which I responded, "Well, that's debatable." My in-laws joke that when I stand sideways they can't see me and try to give me seconds on dessert when I'm over there.  My husband says that while he still thinks I am beautiful, this thin is not his favorite look on me.  And then I look in the mirror.  Everyone around me seems to see the pounds I have dropped but the mirror does not.  I have gained a couple of pounds back and my stretch marks are no longer loosely hanging.  My ribs are not nearly as prominant as they were a month ago.  So why is everyone seeing that I have lost weight?  Or more importantly, why am I not seeing it?  My friend wisely told me that the mirror is lying to me.  And now I want to know why.  Why does the mirror lie to me?  Why do I see that my thighs are not fit and my belly has a little pooch?  Why can't I see what everyone around me sees?  And why do I hold only myself to this standard?  I don't look at my friends and see their imperfections, why do I see mine in such exaggerated detail?

I was challenged with this, stop looking at the mirror for beauty and truth because the mirror can give you neither.  Look in the word for beauty and truth, it is found only there.  She also suggested I re-read Proverbs 31 and examine God's definition of beauty. 

Proverbs 31:10-30 (Amplified Bible)

10A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman--who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.

11The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.

12She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.

13She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].

14She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household's food from a far [country].

15She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.

16She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

17She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.

18She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].

19She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].

21She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.

22She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made.

23Her husband is known in the [city's] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

24She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service].

25Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!

26She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].

27She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.

28Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying],

29Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.

30Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!

So that is how God defines beauty?  Not once in those verses is physical appearance mentioned. Her ability to care for her family and those around her make her beautiful.  Her husband trusts and loves her and that makes her beautiful.  Her strength is beauty.  Her desire for the Lord is beauty.  She is beautiful and has not once looked in a mirror.  Maybe my friend is right, maybe I need to not look in the mirror either.  If I desire to see true beauty, it will only be in the eyes of my King, my Savior, my Jesus.  Only He can show me how He defines beauty.  And really, when all is said and done, only His definition of beauty matters.

Lord, today help me to see myself through your eyes.  Help me to redefine beauty in my life to mean what you intended it to mean not what the mirror has distorted it to mean.

Parting thought, Psalm 45:11 The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

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