Trusting The Girl in The Mirror

I just can’t trust the girl in the mirror anymore.

I’ve been staring at her and her body for years and each time she looks back at me, distorted and unhappy.  She is always wishing, always wanting and just never satisfied.

This is the thing.  The other day I went through all of our pictures, looking back at our early days of marriage, just before kids, after one kid, two kids, a miscarriage, three kids…   And when I saw her in the pictures, I thought, wow, that’s not who I remembered.  She looks FINE.

But why oh why is it then, when I look in the mirror today, I feel the same as always?

The same girl.  The same issues.  The same insecurities.

O, that You would vanquish my fears, Beloved; O that ignorance and suffering would depart from me-  All that separates me from true abandonment, to surrendering myself into your Hands!

This is not a new conversation.  It’s one I’ve been having with myself for years.  A conversation that spills over into my family, my friends, and even the perfect stranger.  I’ve read your posts.  I’ve read your books.  I’ve identified with so many of you.  Yet this disappointment with my body rages on.  And as I near forty I need to say this out loud.

This will never go away on it’s own.  There is no age you reach when you are suddenly and out of nowhere completely satisfied with what you look like.  With this body that you have been given.  There is no relationship.  No man.  No friend.  No family member.  No other person that will fix this.  I’ve gotta go this road on my own.

Yet are these not the very thorns that focus my thoughts upon You?  Will I always need reminders to turn my face to You?

And I have done some serious work!  I started running several years ago.  I have gone on plenty of diets.  I have made new years resolutions.  I have actually lost a lot of weight over the years. I  But somehow, even when I feel better, even when my dress size is smaller, it doesn’t fix that feeling when I look in the mirror.  It’s been too distorted for much too long.  And it makes me sad when I look back and see a woman who has been given so many second chances, so many gifts, amazing health, so many opportunities, spend SO much time unhappy.  I want to jump back into those photos and tell her, YOU LOOK FINE!  In fact, you are glowing!  Look at that new baby you are holding!  Look at those toddlers you are chasing!  Look at that family that surrounds you!  ENJOY.  Stop the madness of this tainted body image.  Live while you can and be true to who you really are.  There is not going to suddenly come a day and this will go away.  Love yourself.  NOW.  The external changes will influence how you feel, but that is temporary.  The internal changes will make all the difference.

I yearn to come to You in love, to learn of your mercy and wisdom!

A daughter.  I have a daughter.  A beautiful 11 year old who is truly gifted and blessed.  I look at her with love and see an amazing creation.  Will she see this too?  And I know I can’t make this issue non existent for her.  But, I also know that my words,  my actions, my attitude will make a difference.  And I don’t want her spending her life thinking that one day she will be happy with her body.  One day things will finally click into place.  One day she will reach a place of gratitude.

One day starts now.

Search me, O my Beloved, and know my heart!  Try me and discern my thoughts!

I know I’m not alone in this.  I know this issue plagues our culture.  I know.  I know.  I know.  But there needs to be a change, and it isn’t going to happen externally.  It’s going to be a change of heart.  It’s going to be a opening of eyes.  It’s going to take time.  But I want to look in the mirror and see what those who love me see.  I want to see the person that God lovingly looks down on and calls good.  I want to live in the now and be grateful.

So next time I look in the mirror.  Next time YOU look in the mirror.  Go easy on yourself.  Love yourself.  There is no change that will bring that about until you do that inside work.  Notice why.   Notice what is going in inside.

Help me to face the darkness within me; enlighten me that I might radiate your love and light.

Because, the good news is this… You were wonderfully made.   That part of the work is already done.

It’s up to me.

It’s up to you.

It’s time we held that truth openly and  lovingly.

You find me on the journey and guide my steps…

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(Verses taken from Psalms For Praying by Nan Merrill) 

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2 thoughts on “Trusting The Girl in The Mirror

  1. Thank you for a very intimate piece, Lisa. It makes me sad to know that so many of my beautiful friends are constantly battling the body image war inside of them. Today my daughter asked about jungles. She asked if people lived in jungles. I recalled a recent National Geographic article featuring indigenous people who live in a jungle. They wore almost nothing and I assume had no mirrors. Before reading Lisa’s post, I was thinking about how terrible it would be to live out in the elements without the comforts we know, but how wonderful it would be to be able to live without vanity about our physical appearance. Of course I am assuming this is the case, but even if it isn’t true about the people who live in the jungle, isn’t it nice to think about a life where we base personal value on our abilities, our relationships, our contribution to society and not on our reflection in the mirror?

    Like

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