So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. . . Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
Genesis 1:27, 31 (NLT)
Some days I look at my thirty-eight-year-old face in the mirror and wonder how I could possibly be attractive, even to my husband. I notice the pores that never shrank, the blotchiness that makes my cheeks look flushed (but not in a cute way), the fold lines on my neck I wish I could iron out. I see my protruding belly in the mirror and swear I must look thirty weeks pregnant, and wonder if I might regain some of my youthfulness if I could just stop eating whatever i want to.
So I pull on my tummy-tucking jeggings and wear a tunic-length shirt to hide the bulges. I patch up the acne scars and dark bags under my eyes with a stick of concealer and blend in another layer of liquid foundation. It’s nearly impossible to find the right shade for my skin color, so two are often better than one. I curl my stubbornly straight eyelashes, inevitably pulling some of them out, and I wear mascara to give the illusion that my almond-shaped eyes are bigger than they really are.
When God made human beings and finished His work of creation, He looked at all He had made and called it very good. Everything was unaltered, natural, and pure. Nothing was hidden, covered, or shamed, because everything in its most basic form was already very good.
I hardly ever say that what I see in the mirror is very good, and I know there will still be days when I slather on my makeup, curl my eyelashes, and tuck in my belly, hoping to see someone new looking back at me.
I don’t have a face or body the world might deem pretty or sexy, and as time passes, even what seems decent now will soon fade away. But I’m slowly learning to respect what is mine — my almond eyes, my flat nose, my round face — and I’m speaking new words over myself:
You are very good.
Story by Grace P. Cho from Week 3, Day 5 of the Courageous Joy Bible Study
While God clearly places much more value on our insides than our outsides, He is the artist who designed our physical bodies. He made us in His image, and then, when He sat back to evaluate His work, He said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God never looks at us and thinks, Well, if only I’d made her eyes a little bigger or her legs a little thinner or her hair a little smoother . . . no! He looks at us and calls us very good.
In our visually oriented society, it can be hard not to feel critical of our appearance. This world offers no shortage of physical standards that are impossible to meet, leaving us perpetually grasping for something we will never reach. Insecurity about our appearance is a reasonable response, but it means we have believed that what the world says matters more than what the Lord says. The better, healthier, holier response is to turn our eyes away from our own reflection and toward God.
When we gaze upon Him and then see ourselves through His eyes, we can’t help but feel love and joy for the person He’s made us to be. As David wrote in Psalm 34:5, “those who look to [God] are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (ESV).
What do you see when you look in the mirror? How does your appearance — and your opinion of it — affect how you believe God sees you? Looking at ourselves with affection rather than criticism can be a challenge. How will you courageously find joy in God’s creation when you face yourself in the mirror this week?
God, thank You for understanding how damaging this world can be to my sense of value and worth. Thank You for telling me over and over in Scripture that You made me perfectly and that You think I’m beautiful. I know my heart matters more than my hair or hips. When I’m hard on myself, remind me to turn my gaze to You. Continue to make me more like You every day so that I reflect my Creator inside and out. Thank You, Lord. I love You. Amen.
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Leave a Comment
Beth Williams says
Your words mirror my sentiments exactly. The thing I dislike most about myself is the way I sound when talking/singing-especially on video. Was born with two punctured ear drums. Now I sound like a child when you hear me. My mantra though is “hey, God made me this way.” I’m not one who cares what the world thinks about my looks only what God says. He says I’m perfect just the way I am. Sure I can exercise & eat healthier to get in shape, but overall He sees me as a beautiful child of His.
Thank you for sharing your heart in this devotional. I can relate, as can many ladies I know. It is sad that society has made a bigger deal out of the outward than the inward. May we each stand in the truth (even though hard some days) that God’s opinion of us is ALL that matters and teach our kids and young people that! God bless your day!
connie ker says
My mother used to say “Grow old naturally”. So now that I am a senior, I still hear her words. When I turned 65 and went on Medicare, I decided the hair color chemicals had to stop, so I went natural. This year being home and not going into public places, I even started cutting my own hair. So now I am a one length, natural hair do and am hearing my Mother’s words and smile. It is easier and simple and the time and money you save can be better spent.
The beauty of growing older is that your focus shifts, and you realize all along nobody was really focused on your looks except yourself. It is so freeing to change your perspective and truly realize it is all about faith, family, and friends. Embrace growing your soul.
Nancy Ruegg says
Love this, Maura. You are so right. Focus on faith, family, and friends (including those strangers who might be friends waiting to happen) will bring contentment and satisfaction; focus on “looks” never delivers those important commodities!
Amen! I look in the mirror and see my grandmother and my mother. Now that I am in my late 60s, it isn’t so bad but seeing that in my 40s and 50s was a little unnerving. Quite honestly, I kind of like the masks we are wearing- hides the wrinkles and the chin hairs. I actually stopped coloring my hair when I turned 50. And after using makeup for so many years, I rarely use it anymore. There is a freeing in all of this. And part of it comes with age and wisdom.
Janet Williams says
Karen Worley says
Seriously? 38? Honey, just wait….
Bev Rihtarchik says
Bev Rihtarchik says
At any given age, there was always something I didn’t like about my looks. Now I wonder if that hurt God’s feelings because I was so critical of his handiwork? I am thankful He is mindful of my human way of thinking. Now, as I approach 60, I look back at my 30-something pictures and I’m like — Wow! I looked pretty darned good! Wonder what I’ll think of my 60’s when I look in the rearview mirror from my 80’s?? It’s all in the perspective and God’s lens is the best one through which to view ourselves 🙂
Nancy Ruegg says
Amen, Bev–it’s all about perspective. Might as well make the most of NOW, thank God for what IS, and praise him for life-purpose that will never end!
Nancy Ruegg says
Thank you, Mary, for your wisdom concerning our physical selves. We sacrifice so much joy, don’t we, because our focus is in the wrong place!