Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Thoughts for Women from Barb Rosberg

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Have you noticed when it comes to receiving compliments, men and women respond differently? Mention to an aging and balding, pot bellied man, “You look great!” And he will just beam! Why? Because he knows that he looks good even if no one else does! Then tell a typical American woman, “You look great!” You will get any number of responses:  “It must be the lighting.”  “Oh, this old thing? I just threw it on!” “I just had my hair cut, it will look better tomorrow!”

We all want to look and feel good about ourselves, don’t we? But there’s a downside of being female and most of us will admit we struggle with this in varying degrees. When a woman looks at her reflection in the mirror, what is wrong glares back at her over what is right. We tend to focus on what needs correcting over what looks okay. A woman will tell you that she could always improve. Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with not liking yourself or not appreciating the good that you see, it’s something about this drive in us to want to look better.

It’s far too easy for us to slip into the comparison-mode of thinking and get all tangled up about things that could stand improvement on the old body as well. Yesterday I picked up an article titled, “Eight Foods that Take Off Pounds and Years!” It sounded worth reading to me.  I’m no different from any other woman—the latest diet can catch my attention! Generally the first of every calendar year we all want to shed some of those holiday pounds and start exercising.  That’s about the time I fall prey to a whopping case of  “if only’s.” If only I was thinner and could drop a few pounds.  If only I was taller I wouldn’t feel so dumpy. If only I looked like...and so on.  

The other day I was having a conversation with Gary and made the fatal error of glancing into the mirror. My mood changed from sweetness and sunshine to overcast and grumpy.  Goodnight, how I started to complain—sounding more and more like Goldilocks in the story of The Three Bears:  “This is TOO big...and¼ this is TOO small,” but similar to Goldilocks, I’m rarely heard saying these words, “This is... JUST RIGHT!”  Yes, Goldie was all woman. But then Gary said something so powerful in one statement that it actually registered in my mind the message: “This is JUST RIGHT!” And I haven’t been as hard on my old complaining self since. His statement was so healing for me that I want to share it with you. 

But allow me first to let you into our home a little more intimately. Lately I’ve been facing that I’m growing older. Earlier in the day I was feeling down from the changes that happen in a woman’s life. Discouraged, I allowed myself to become self-absorbed, dwelling on these details, but Gary began talking to me very quietly. He spoke of not caring about physical changes that result from my aging or even unforeseen events as a result of future illnesses. He said, “All I care about is YOU! And I love YOU!” Those very tender words were the words that I believe every one of us long to hear. That we are loved not for what we look like but for who we are as a person of dignity and great worth. My husband reminded me in a fleeting moment of how my Heavenly Father sees me and feels about me and it was so assuring. At the core of each one of us we long to be loved for all that we are. No more and truthfully no less. That day his words unlocked those awful “if onlys” and freed me from their hurt.

All we really want is unconditional love. May I remind you that your entire person which includes appearance has been fashioned by the very hand of God? Psalm 139 says, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” You are beautiful and precious to God even on a bad hair day, when you feel overweight and under-encouraged! Even when you doubt yourself at every turn and feel as if you have failed just about everybody that you have ever met, God loves you unconditionally. Your physical appearance is JUST RIGHT because it is yours!  

So the next time someone compliments you, receive it as truth!  Say thank you and don’t qualify it. Your friend is actually admiring God’s workmanship in you! Appreciate your womanhood. Slow down and value what is really important. Your health is a priceless gift so take care of it. Call your girlfriend and remind her that God says she is “fearfully and wonderfully made” too!  Pass your grace on to her so that she receives herself as a gift from God created by Him, to be used for His glory to impact every life that she touches. You truly are fearfully and wonderfully made!