I often looked in the mirror and loathed what I saw. This was particularly true when I was a teenager, though the emotional pain has surfaced at other times in my life.
How bad did it get?
For me, I made a ridiculous vow to never look in the mirror. This was, of course, during my early years of make-up exploration and so I have to wonder what a clown I must have looked like on some days. (The one useful skill I got from that period was the ability to put my make-up on in the dark. To this day, it comes in handy now and then.) But my pain was no laughing matter. I cried. A lot. And kept my vow to not look in the mirror for many years.
I have a solution for you if you’ve known that pain. Or, for your tween or teen daughter, if you’re enduring the horrible searing pain of watching her fight the beauty battle. But I’ll need a little bit of your time…and hers. There’s no single piece of advice or logic that fixes this one. A pair of jeans or another order from Sephora will not stop the pain. (Stop putting band-aids on a gushing wound!)
Let me show you what really can fix it.
To do so, I want to start by asking you this: why is it that nature is so moving to so many?
The view of an amazing ocean tendto lighten our spirits and inspire us, asfew other things can.
Statistics prove that encounters with nature—or lack thereof— impact our mood. Those who spent NO time outdoors in the past year seemed to be most likely to struggle with depression, while those who spent time outside four or more times a week were most likely to feel happy.¹ Spending just 20 minutes outside significantly decreases stress.²
It’s not just our emotions that are impacted. Exploringour world seems to have a healing impact on our bodies, too. In 1984, a classic study found that hospital patients recovered more quickly from surgery if their room offered a view of nature compared to those who looked at a brick wall.³ God’s world is a healing aid when our bodies are not well.
I could never observe God’s creation and deny, “it is good.” GodHimself said, “It is Good!” What was he saying? Well, when I eat a delicious flan, which I do at any opportunity I say: “It is good.” By that, I mean that I enjoyed it.
Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis, create a picture of man and woman living in “very good” fellowship with each other and with God the Father. We see a picture of oneness and harmony, peace and order. They enjoy each other. While God is saying to his creation “It is good…” “I enjoy you….”, His creation is singing praise back to him. Psalm 19:1 reads, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Creation says “you are good, God. We enjoy you.”
I connect to the beauty of God’s creation through animals. And though I love them all, I have a few of my very own. Twenty-two to be exact (and this number is usually fluctuating).
I worship God when I watch my horses run in the pasture. It is a miracle that horses can run on those thin legs. Even more unbelievable is the fact that those legs can maintain circulation into that 1,500-pound body. God created their hoof to be extremely complex. When a horse puts pressure on it, the blood is squeezed up the leg into the veins, acting likea pump. It is good!⁴
I marvel at God’s creation when I’m celebrating the first few moments of life with a mama llama. It is a miracle WHEN llamas give birth. They generally live in very cool Andes Mountains of South America. God created them with an amazing ability to give birth between 8amand noon. The warmer daylight hours for the longest possible part of the day help the babies to dry out and warm up. It is good!
I find great joy in watching my peacock, Alexander The Gresh, strut …even when it’s for Cassie, the mini-donkey. It is a miracle how God created peacocks with the ability to appear to change color. He did this by literally weaving together microscopic crystal-like structures. Depending on what angle I look at my peacock, I will see blue, green, or bronze. And the amazing eye feathers that appear when a peacock fans are no small feat of mathematics because there is an exact color spacing required at each intersection of the weave to produce each “eye”. EACH intersection requires four equations for the colors to change and each eye pattern beginning with “x squared divided by a squared plus y squared divided by b squared equals 1.”
And that’s the easy one. Each eye feather has about 50 intersections, so each time you see a peacock’s eye feather at least 200 complex equations have
been completed for it to actually work out into the eye shape. It is good!
I will never cease to be fascinated by watching and learning about God through his animals.
Not everyone who observes nature finds the peace that I do.
Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, is quoted as saying, “The sight of a
feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me feel sick!” He was half joking when he wrote that, but he did have a problem. The peacock’s tail didn’t fit with his evolutionary “survival of the fittest” theory. Those fancy feathers don’t make the bird more fit for survival. They don’t make flying easier, but harder. Even running becomes harder. And those feathers require time to “take down” if a bird needs to make a fast escape when he’s strutting. When Darwin looked at the creation of the peacock, he felt the sickness of the lie he believed that it had evolved. He felt the distance his lie had created between him and the God of Creation. I wonder if you have believed any lies.
And now, we’re back to beauty.
All those years I was struggling with not being able to look in the mirror, I was completely moved by God’s beautiful world. I looked at it and agreed, “God, it is good!” But then, I looked in the mirror —at one of God’s creations— and declared deep in my being, “It is not good. I’m not good.”
I hid for a very long time, tellingno one of my lonely isolation. I tried make-up, clothes, facials, hairstyles, and all the stuff we’re told by retail giants will fix what’s “wrong” with us. Nothing worked.
I was walking past a mirror one day in college and I WAS LOOKING INTO IT. I don’t know when I’d begun looking, but I realized that I had. It wasn’t the first time. I searched my mental Rolodex to see when it began, and I noticed
something. My fear of looking in the mirror began to fade when I started spending time with God every day. I began to seek HIM! And soak in the Truth of His written word. And it made all the difference.
What we meditate on is what we believe. What we put in our hearts becomes our reality. If you’re putting Instagram photos, Internet spending sprees, and make-up lessons into your heart daily, you’ll fixate on the comparison, Photoshopped perfection, and need for stuff to fix you. But … I have discovered … when I soak my heart in the words God says about me every day, I fixate on Truth. And the Truth is that I am perfectly and wonderfully made (and so are you), and He knit me together (as He did you), and I am His masterpiece (just like you).
I actually look in the mirror and believe what God says about me, “It is good.” This coming from a woman who did not look at herself for years out of fear of going into the fetal position is no small testimony of praise!
You may be tuning out about now asking me where the fix is? Well, I told you I needed a bit of your time. Start to give God one hour of your heart, mind, andattention. Soak in the words written in the Bible, in worship songs written for His praise, and journal your pain and pleadings to Him. Maybe even take a few nature hikes while you’re at it and soak in all the things you can honestly say are “good.” If you do, He will heal you.
Our Secret Keeper Girl Masterpiece World Tour helps moms and daughters grow closer to each other and closer to Jesus by helping them discover that they are masterpieces created by God, and “it is good”. For tickets or more information, visit secretkeepergirl.com/events