We spend so much of our time and money on stuff: clothes, manicures, pedicures, shoes, hair, jewelry, cars, houses, and the list keeps going. We want this certain image, and we work hard to get it. We've got to live in the right neighborhood, go to the right church, be on the right travel ball team, drive the right car, and vacation with the right people.
But all of that stuff can be taken away in an instant.
Job 1:21 says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
When you and I were born, we were naked. We came into this world with nothing. We will leave this world taking nothing with us. It's what we focus on during that in-between that counts. What are you making important? Is it the image in the mirror or is it the beauty of the heart?
Each morning when I get up, one of the first things I do is look in the mirror. Every once in a while, I notice the reflection has changed a bit. There may be an added wrinkle or sun spot. My crows feet may have grown over night or the last box of hair color has faded and the gray sparkles shine once again. Sometimes, I'll admit, it's quite depressing. But what comes next makes it all worthwhile.
I open my Bible and read God's word. He speaks truth to me. He tells me what's wrong with my heart and shows me how to fix it. He reminds me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He makes it known that I am beautiful in his eyes.
The mirror shows the surface. God shows the heart.
I am reminded everyday that I am not that skinny sixteen year old driving that red Hyundai Excel. I'm now a minivan driving boymom of three. I've gone through 3 full term pregnancies and a miscarriage. I've gone through the valleys of not enough: not enough time, not enough money, not enough caffeine. I've had a million sleepless nights. I've supported my husband in sickness and health. I've borne the weight of deployment, and chaplain school, and fishing apples out of a clogged toilet and unknown metal objects out of a toddler's nose. I've cried and prayed with loved ones and friends and strangers. I've held sick children in the wee hours of the morning. I've been puked on, peed and pooped on, and have been mistaken for a tissue. I've graded a gazillion tests and worried over thousands of students whose circumstances I couldn't control. I've been hurt and lied to, betrayed and disappointed.
No matter how long this list goes, one thing has stood the test of time: I am a child of God.
That fact is more important than anything else. No hurt, no pain, no amount of exhaustion or excess baby fat can take away the fact that I am a child of God. And that is the image that must never change.
We each have a choice, do we strive for perfection in the eyes of others or do we strive for perfection in the eyes of Christ?
Do we work on the outward appearance or do we work on the heart? When the reflection in the mirror changes, does the heart change with it? When everything God has given us is gone, what do we do then?
We bless His holy name.
As a sixteen year old who worried about her hair and makeup and who wanted the perfect outfit, I learned that life as I knew it could change in an instant. I saw how God carried my aunt through a horrific time and gave her strength both physically and spiritually. And although her reflection in the mirror is quite different, she is still beautiful. The beauty of her heart shines on the outside.
And that should be us.
No matter the wrinkles or dark circles under the eyes.
No matter the paycheck or brand of your clothes.
No matter the muffin top or six pack abs.
No matter the car, neighborhood, ball team, or clique.
The beauty within our hearts that comes from a relationship with Christ should always shine on the outside.
I challenge you this day to bless God's holy name no matter your circumstance, no matter if you are in a season of plenty or of want. Bless His holy name. Thank him. Praise him. Because here's the truth, no matter the reflection in the mirror, our lives should be a reflection of what Christ has done for us.