"Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
55 minutes. That is the average number of minutes we American women look at ourselves in the mirror every single day*.
Let's break this down together. That is:
With sensibility (and a very good understanding of what it is like to be women in this country) we should begin to wonder if even that summary is a frighteningly timid estimate when we consider the additional amount of time we spend under the influence of beauty culture via computer, TV, smartphone, magazine, newspaper, billboard, and flyer!
Should you manage to remain unfazed by those numbers, there are many commonplace practices yet to be addressed, which require sitting in front of our own reflections for lengthy amounts of time:
Could it be possible that we are the most self-indulgent and distracted cultures of all the nations in the world? Can I get a resounding, yes! I tell you, with conviction, that I believe there is so much more to this phenomenon than what meets the eye.
I believe that never have we been so broken and ready for somebody to show us the true meaning of worth, that we would consider such intense beauty regiment to be "the norm". I suggest to you that never before have we been caught in such a vicious dichotomy of unreal expectations.
We are to look as "naturally beautiful" for our age (read: a number of years younger). Though, if we are unable to do so (and most of us are without intervention), then we are judged for having partaken in outpatient or surgical procedures to acquire that youthful look.
In fact, the crushing expectation over time has worn so many of us down, that we have fatigued to the point of counseling one another to do whatever it takes to "feel good about ourselves", as long as it boosts our "confidence" in our social circles.
Our society rewards beauty and that is no secret. It is rewarded in hiring, advancement, praise, in the pursuit of romantic relationships, in association with intelligence, and oftentimes, it is unintentionally or openly rewarded by favor in our very own families.
Ladies, this just isn't so in our Father's kingdom. A kingdom focus brings awareness of our beauty in spirit, not physical attractiveness. Even Jesus was described as a man who "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2)
There are approximately 160 million women in the United States of America*. In 2013, it was reported that women in our country spent 12 BILLION dollars on cosmetic procedures. That's roughly $75 dollars per year for every woman walking this blessed ground.
It is imperative that we not only take notice, but put a halt to the slow fade that has brought us to this place of deception. We cannot allow the enemy to lull us into conformity in response to pain we may have experienced for being "imperfect". Let us walk with eyes wide open, perceptions unveiled and finely tuned to the affirming voice of our Father, instead of stumbling blindly within the confines of a wildly off-track social beauty contract.
Walk with me now in defiance. Weather a little bit of sad. Don't give up. Be a force set in motion and commit to remaining focused on true feminine beauty in Him. Speak words of encouragement and love, to yourself and others. We were made to walk with our arms around each other.
"Surely every (wo)man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; (s)he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them." Psalm 39:6
"Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
1. For the next week, document your time spent in front of the mirror, be aware of it, and ask God to show you what, if anything, needs to change about your routine.
2. With a dry erase marker, write scriptures of truth all over the mirror and meditate on who God is when you are tempted to dwell on your own imperfections.*
3. Share your results in the comment section below!
*"Ideal to Real" body image survey conducted by Today and AOL, 2014.
*US Census Bureau, 2014
*American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2013
*Activity by Alicia Brooks
Photo Credit: S. Zolkin and Mario Calvo, Unsplash
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.