Who do you see when you look in the mirror? By Laura L. Smith
My best friend, Jamie, has always been the “it” girl. She is charming and bright and interesting and beautiful. People are drawn to her. In high school I was known better as “Jamie’s friend” than as Laura. “Aren’t you Jamie’s friend?” Girls wanting to escalate their popularity would ask. “Aren’t you Jamie’s friend?” Boys wanting her phone number would ask.
My brother, Jim, has always been brilliant. His SAT scores and IQ test scores are impossible for me to get my mind around. He can play the guitar and paint and did I mention, he grew up to be a lawyer? In high school teachers would ask, “Aren’t you Jim’s little sister?” The expectation was that I should be smart, like Jim. There was pressure in that phrase.
I wanted girls to want to be my friend. I wanted boys to like me. I wanted teachers to approve of my work. So, I compared myself to Jamie and my brother and everyone else around me, forgetting to look at myself in the mirror, forgetting to see who God created me to be.
I wondered how I could be witty and pretty and smart and artistic. I wondered how I could get noticed, how I could get in control when it seemed like everything was so out of control. There were grades to obtain and friends to delight, a boyfriend to please, and dances to perfect for both dance team and ballet. I didn’t seem equipped to do it all. Have you ever felt like that?
I often felt if I could just be prettier – have better hair or outfits or shoes or make-up that would be a start to get noticed.
According to NEDA (The National Eating Disorders Association), “While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about much more than food. People with eating disorders often use food and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem over-whelming.” www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
One out of three girls have dieted by the time they’re ten years old.
Over 10 million females and 1 million males in the US are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder.
“Practically ever image you see in magazines has been digitally altered.” Dylan Jones Editor, GQ Magazine.
These are frightening statistics. Our society tells us thin is not only in, but required. The gorgeous Sports Illustrated model, Kate Upton, was recently called “piggy” because her bones aren’t protruding. Stunning models are being digitally edited to have smaller waists, slimmer thighs and zero blemishes. This is not something any of us can achieve or should want to achieve. This is a race no one can win, because we are not digitally re-mastered versions of ourselves being projected into the world – thank goodness.
In high school I was looking to the world to define me.
That’s where I fell short.
I was struggling to control a busy, intense life.
Again, I fell short.
The world can’t define me. I can’t control my life.
God defines me (and you). God is the beacon in the storm, the rock to stand on, the peaceful point to find serenity and hope and strength to do what we were made to do.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14
Do you believe that? Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
Because the day God created you, He made you in His perfect image. That means, in the Almighty’s eyes YOU ARE PERFECT! It doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect if you lose or gain a few pounds, or wear colored contacts, or go tanning, or buy the newest Chi straight iron, or grow or shrink several inches or increase or decrease your bra size.
It means you’re perfect now.
When God made you He added all kinds of beautiful elements – maybe you have a darling dimple, or clear skin, or corkscrew curls or intoxicating eyebrows. Maybe you’re strong or creative or funny or passionate or insightful. Maybe you can look at something broken and know how to fix it or see friends squabbling and know how to make peace. Maybe you can score the winning goal, bake the richest brownies, write poems brimming with emotion, have a contagious laugh, make a dorm room look like it came out of PB Teen or sing like Adele. I don’t know what you’re something beautiful is, but it’s your job to find it and use it.
Don’t be like the man in the parable (Matthew 25: 13-29) who buries his treasure in the ground. Use your God-given attributes to glorify Him.
God wants us to take care of our bodies. After all, He created them. That means honoring our bodies with good healthy foods (plenty of food to fuel ourselves). That means exercise that keeps us heart healthy, but doesn’t wear us to the bone. That means getting plenty of sleep and taking vitamins and being hydrated and staying clean and fresh and presenting our best selves to the world.
I repeat. This means presenting our best selves. Not our best friend’s best self or our brother’s best self or Jennifer Lawrence’s best self. But the best version of INSERT YOUR NAME HERE.
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You
When you pass by the mirror today, celebrate that you are you!
It turns out I am my most beautiful not as a homecoming queen or a lawyer, but when I write. When are you your most beautiful?
Leave a comment below or visit me at www.laurasmithauthor.com.