Image is Everything

As I was getting ready this morning, I went through my normal routine.  That includes getting my shower, getting dressed, and then putting on my makeup.  This morning, my daughter, Samara, was being a little more clingy than normal so I was attempting to apply my foundation with one hand while balancing her on my hip.

I don’t know about you, but I run through hypotheticals a lot.  Some might find this odd (and a bit crazy) but it is also where God reveals many of my ideas.  In this particular hypothetical I was having a conversation with Samara.  Many little girls will imitate their mothers.  It is what has led us to dress up, pretend to apply make up, and even play house.  We stand by our moms as they get ready and we ask questions.  We learn through our curiosity and while this conversation hasn’t even occured yet, I had to think about what I might say.  So bear with me, I know it is a little far fetched (seeing as my sweet little girl is only 7 months old), but God used it for this morning.

“Mommy, why are you putting that on your face?”

“It’s called foundation.  Mommy uses it to cover up uneven red marks on her face.”

“Do I need to wear it, Mommy?”

“No sweet girl.  Your face is beautiful just as it is.”

“So is yours Mommy.”

You see where I’m going yet?  Makeup is a multi-billion dollar industry, set on making money through our insecurities.  We are plastered with images of beautiful young women who are thinner than us, taller than us, have better skin than us.  We are told that to be beautiful, we have to look like them.  But that isn’t normal!  A friend of mine found the real statistics:

The average woman is 5’4 and 140 lbs (hm…sounds like I am actually normal then, not fat).  The models that we are told are “normal” are on average 5’11 (as tall as my husband) and 117 pounds (less than I weighed in high school even when I was wearing size 2 clothes).  That “normal” that we are told only consists of 2% of women.  Not even close to a majority.  So why do we focus on looking like so few of women were created to look?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart  ~Jeremiah 1:5

In Jeremiah, God is speaking to Jeremiah, telling him that He has called him to be a prophet to the nations, but as all scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), we, too, can apply this to our lives.  While we may not be called to be a prophet to the nations, God knew us before we were born.  He knew who we would be, what we would look like, what we would accomplish.  He knew our faults and our mistakes.  He knew us and knows us still today.  He created us each with a special gift that sets us apart.  He has called us to play a part in his great story and we can only do this as ourselves.

We tend to dance on the side of extremes.  Either we think nothing of ourselves or we think much too highly of ourselves.  Having a healthy view of ourselves is difficult when we are told that we have to wear Cover Girl makeup over flawlessly tanned skin, fit into a size 0 at Abercrombie and Fitch (or at most a 2), and walk flawlessly in 5 inch Gucci shoes.  We see that it is either one or the other, not the middle ground that most of us fall into.  God gives us fantastic opportunities to shine but he also calls us to be servants.  Much of the tasks that we are called to have us doing amazing things but with little to no recognition.  We are special and beautiful and we need to acknowledge that without allowing our ego to compromise us.  It is a fine balance, but ultimately God sees us has his children and beautiful creation.

What it boils down to is the reflection of what I ran through this morning.  Where I thought through my response to my daughter, God interjected his response to me, “so are you.”  While I have been dealing with my own self image being 7 months postpartum, I have a tendency to loose sight of the big picture.  I am created in the image of the God of the Universe.  We judge each other and criticize how we look but we are God’s greatest creation.  Not the spectacular views from a mountain top, not the stunning sunsets, us, all of humankind.  We are beautiful.  You are beautiful, no matter what expectations the world places.

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