When the Face in the Mirror Doesn’t Measure Up

By Cheryl L. Weber

What if you were standing face to face with our Heavenly Father and He said to you, “You are absolutely beautiful.
I am filled with delight every time I look at you”?  Would you smile in confident agreement, or nod and then catch a quick glimpse of yourself in the mirror and frown?

In junior high school I was ~ well ~ a nerd.  From a Mennonite family, I was not allowed to wear make-up or jewelry and rarely cut my hair.  My homemade dresses or hand-me-downs, sometimes years out of style, and the white net head covering on my head also marked me as odd.  As if that weren’t enough, my eyes bulged behind thick glasses from what I now believe was a thyroid condition.  I earned the names, “four eyes,” “goon face,” and “ugly.”  The mockery wasn’t exclusive to my female classmates either.

I could have blamed all this on the typical insecurity of teenagers.  But the occasional derogatory remark came my way for years into my adult life.  By the time I was in my twenties, I felt as if no intelligent man in his right mind could ever fall in love with me.

As Christian women, we know that it is the inner beauty of the heart that really matters.  Yet it’s like we’re programmed to judge ourselves and others according to what the world values ~ youth, thinness, the perfect figure, the right clothes, and a face that draws looks of admiration.  So we strive to improve ourselves whether by updating our wardrobe, losing weight, applying makeup in the latest style, or taking a trip to the hair salon.

There’s nothing wrong with such things.  It’s our motivation that matters.  Are we honoring ourselves as priceless daughters of the King of kings or worried about gaining the approval of people who see us through eyes clouded by the cataracts of their own sin?

Adam and Eve originally saw things from pure hearts.  One with their Creator, they enjoyed walking with Him through their beautiful, new world.  Completely unconscious of self, they took no notice they were naked.

Then they chose to listen to a lie, and sin and death formed their new reality.  Self-focus became the driving force behind their choices and emotions.  They noticed their nakedness, and fear and inadequacy entered the picture.  They began to measure themselves and others by what they could do or be or how they appeared outwardly rather than what God thought about them.

It can be confusing business.  Some of the most famous heroes and heroines in the Bible ~ Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Sarah, Esther, David ~ were all described as being strikingly handsome or so beautiful they attracted the attention of kings.

Yet Isaiah 53, the greatest prophetic chapter about Jesus, says that There was nothing beautiful or majestic about is appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 1

If Jesus, Son of God, the greatest hero of all time had a physical appearance that wouldn’t earn Him a second glance, who are we to put greater importance on outward beauty than God does?

1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that God looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance.  Proverbs 31:30 says Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  2 Corinthians 4:16 tells us that our bodies are dying but spiritually, we are being renewed every day.

2Max Lucado’s children’s book You Are Special tells of a world inhabited by wooden people called Wemmicks.  Wemmicks are obsessed with decorating each other with stickers indicating their approval of disapproval.  If one of them is especially beautiful or does something clever, she gets a gold star.  If he fails, is clumsy, or plain, he earns a
grey dot.

Punchinello never seems to get anything right.  Homely, clumsy, and unsuccessful at things important to Wemmicks, poor Punchinello earns only grey dots.

One day he meets Lucia.  Neither dots nor stars stick to her.  Yet she seems very happy.

When Punchinello asks her how this can be, she tells him she makes regular visits to Eli, the woodcarver.  He makes all the Wemmicks.

But rumors say that Eli is dangerous; he has sharp metal teeth, chisels, and hammers.

But with Lucia’s encouragement, Punchinello overcomes his fears and goes to see Eli.  He discovers the unconditional love and kindness of the woodcarver who’d never intended the Wemmicks to base their value on appearance and performance.  Eli loves the Wemmicks just because he made them and they are his although they’d forgotten this.  When a Wemmick comes to understand and trust the woodcarver’s love for him, the opinions of other Wemmicks don’t matter.  As Eli explains, “The stars and dots only stick
if you let them.”

In this battle to see ourselves as God does, we can find ourselves alternating between identifying with Punchinello and falling into the trap of judging others by their outward appearance.  Both attitudes need to be discarded.  God sees our hearts.  He knows all our flaws, all our besetting sins, everything ugly and dark, but loves us anyway.  He went to the greatest possible lengths to bring us back to Himself: the death of His only Son on the cross.

When we learn to trust His love and walk in intimacy with him, the world’s stars and dots no longer stick.  We know we are beautiful because we are made in God’s image as His precious daughters, bought with the greatest price and endowed with unshakable significance, dignity, and confidence.

3As James Jordan says, “God never made anything ugly…  He thinks that I am beautiful and He thinks that you are too…  God made you beautiful and if people can’t see it, it’s not your problem, it’s their problem.”

 

1All Scripture verses taken from the New Living Translation unless otherwise indicated.
2 Used with author’s permission

3 James Jordan, Sonship: ch. 5, pp 113, First Published by Tree of Life Media 2012,
   2nd Edition, Fatherheart Media 2014.

 

About the author:
Cheryl Weber is based in beautiful Lancaster County, PA, but she has traveled to more than a dozen different countries as a missionary.  She has used her gift of writing in various capacities in the past thirty years and loves to write devotionals, humor, and inspirational fiction.  She is currently working on her debut book, a fantasy/allegorical novel entitled, Dream Keeper.  Besides storytelling she loves reading, animals,
thrift store shopping, and chocolate!

 

 

 

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