I am coming to believe that God did a good job making me. I believe I am lovely. Sounds boastful and self-centered, no?
We, as a collective group of humans, are real good at tearing others down. But we’re even better at tearing ourselves down. We are professionals at nit-picking, critiquing, and finding faults. We are not so good at receiving compliments or saying something positive about ourselves. Or maybe, it’s just me.
To me, nothing is more awkward than talking myself up in an interview. It’s not that I’m a self-hater, I just sometimes have a hard time seeing the good in me. In an attempt to be humble, I slap my Creator in the face and deny any compliments. And I have difficulty picking a favorite body part of mine. You see, for so long, I thought the physical body was something to disdain.
But I read some words in a book, “An Altar in the World” by Barbara Brown Taylor:
“…I think it is important to pray naked in front of a full-length mirror sometimes, especially when you are full of loathing for your body. Maybe you think you are too heavy. Maybe you have never liked the way your hipbones stick out. Do your breasts sag? Are you too hairy? It is always something.”
She goes on to say, “Whether you are sick or well, lovely or irregular, there comes a time when it is vitally important for your spiritual health to drop your clothes, look in the mirror, and say, ‘Here I am. This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my soul’s address.’ “
Maybe it sounds weird, praying naked. But it’s something to think about. Insecurities are not just a ‘girl-thing’. They do not go away when you have a ‘special someone’. Past regrets, health problems, and old scars are evident when we turn on the light and let the towel-wrap drop to the floor.
Reality is, our bodies are amazing. Considering our bodies, we have much to be thankful for. With the beatings of daily life, our bodies can function and heal. Our bodies give life and protection. Our bodies constantly are rejuvenating and changing. Made up of thousands of replicating cells, our bodies are good.
When God made humans, He said it was ‘very good’. So why can’t we see it?
We cover up because we’re ashamed, or embarrassed, or angry. We discard compliments. We struggle to name a favorite part of our own bodies. We quickly glance in the mirror and loathe our bodies. We want to be thinner. We want a clearer complexion. We want a straighter nose. We want smaller ears. We want more curves. We want defined abs. We want one chin, instead of two. We want thicker hair. We want less wrinkles. We want longer eyelashes. We want whiter teeth. We want something different from what we see staring back at us.
How awful. How exhausting. How depressing.
I think it’s time to stop. I think it’s time to acknowledge the reflection you see. I think it’s time to say not “this is me”, but “this is my current address”. I agree with C.S. Lewis when he said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” What you see in the mirror is not all of you. It is a temporary location your soul is taking residence in. Your body can change for the better or worse and you will not reside there forever. But today, your body is your soul’s address. And what you think about your body directly reflects what you think about yourself, your soul.
Your body is a gift, created by God. You can either loathe your body and trash it, or you can appreciate it and take care of it. But it all starts with practicing a little reverence in front of the mirror.
So try it. Stand naked in front of the mirror. And eventually, I hope you can sing the chorus of this song.