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Mirror Mirror

4 Sep

Mirror Mirror on the Wall…who’s the fairest of them all?

Most of us have heard the story of Snow White—and her queen step-mother who is obsessed with her magic mirror (and the assurance that she is indeed the fairest in the land). When the queen realizes that young Snow White has surpassed her own beauty, things get dicey for the pretty princess.

Lately we’ve been discussing true beauty, and today I happened to read the culture clips at Plugged-In (a great site to check out before hitting the theaters). Check out the following quote/article I found, titled A Year Without Mirrors:

“There is nothing wrong with enjoying, um, looking at yourself in the mirror … but it’s important for every woman, and man, I think, to really think for a few minutes about whether there is a point of diminishing returns. Because we have so much more to offer the world than just our looks.”

Kjerstin Gruys, a 29-year-old PhD student in sociology who spent an entire year without looking at a mirror. Gruys undertook her radical experiment after a dispiriting day shopping for wedding dresses. “I saw myself in the mirror and was being critical,” she says. “I thought, ‘Well, maybe I should lose a little weight before the wedding,’ always a bad thing to focus on when you have a history of an eating disorder.” So she scrapped the mirrors and didn’t even look into one on her wedding day. It turned out to be a great decision, she says. “I’m getting my focus back to thinking about the real meaning of the day, which isn’t how I look but marrying the love of my life.” [abcnews.com, 8/15/12]

While I’m not suggesting you stop looking at mirrors (especially on your wedding day), I do love her thought that “…we have so much more to offer the world than just our looks.

I hope as you walk out this week, you remember that regardless of what you may think you see in that mirror sometimes, you are always beautiful, valuable, and incredibly loved!

Much love,

Lisa

photo credit

Go Ahead—Shine!

21 Aug

During our last post, we began a discussion on the value of outward vs/ inward beauty. Beauty is a complicated topic, mainly because we all have an idea of what beauty is, and those opinions can differ from person to person.

For example, if I were to list several celebrity names, like Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, and Jennifer Lawrence, some people would say that each of these women was incredibly beautiful. Yet some people would not. So if someone thinks, for example, that Jennifer Aniston isn’t beautiful, does that mean she is not? Or does it just mean that different people have different ideas of beauty, no reflection on Jennifer? Is she still beautiful whether or not some people see it?

Some of you reading this are working really hard to “become beautiful” for a certain boy—when you already are beautiful! (whether he recognizes it or not)

Remember: outward beauty is subjective (in the eye of the beholder). Yet true beauty is more than what people see on the outside. Your heart matters, too. In fact, it matters the most!

But the LORD told him, “Samuel, don’t think Eliab is the one just because he’s tall and handsome. He isn’t the one I’ve chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (CEV)

And because of what was in young David’s heart, he was the one chosen to be the next king.

Another version says: …For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (NKJ)

Isn’t that comforting? To know that no matter what people think of our outside, God looks at our hearts and loves us completely! And that is where we find our value, in what God thinks of us and His overwhelming love and acceptance of us. (That’s how, as I explained in my last post, during junior high I could feel outwardly unattractive and yet valuable at the same time!)

Actually, a beautiful spirit (inward beauty) can take an “ordinary girl” by the world’s standards and cause people to see her genuine beauty, just through the lovely way she treats people and conducts herself. People who value themselves are hard not to admire. In the same way, no amount of makeup or Botox can make up for a mean spirit. That ugly seeps through and genuinely affects how people view that person as well.

Now we cannot get carried away and eliminate the importance of taking care of ourselves on the outside. We are instructed to take care of our bodies as God’s temple. (1 Cor 6:19-20) And man does look on the outward appearance, as the verse in 1 Samuel says, so people will have a hard time accepting what you’re saying about God if you smell, have unwashed matted hair, or dress like you don’t care about yourself.

And if you are waiting for your Mr. Right, let’s be honest: he is going to being looking for a wife who is attractive inside AND out. (Notice, I didn’t say Hollywood perfect! But taking-good-care-of-yourself attractive. After all, aren’t you looking for a guy who takes care of himself inside & out? Not many of us would be attracted to an unhealthy, dirty mess! While he is still a valuable person, we wouldn’t want to marry him.)

So it’s not that the outside doesn’t matter at all. (It does matter, and we should take good care of ourselves, making healthy choices as we celebrate the person God created us to be. We can even have fun with it, doing so in lots of girly ways, like appropriate makeup, jewelry, and clothes.) But that all should be secondary to what’s going on inside of you. It’s who you are on the inside that will really make you shine!

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJ)

Being precious to God is the main focus. AND, if attended to, that inner beauty will always be there, even when time passes and physical appearance naturally adjusts. You can continue to be a beautiful woman in each stage of your life—if you have a beautiful spirit.

Again, there is lots more we could say, but let’s end our discussion here with one final thought:

You are beautiful and valuable because God made you and loves you. Purpose in your heart to just have fun with all the rest.

Love you, beautiful girls!

Lisa

photo credit


FOUR INCHES left? Ahhhh!!!!

13 Aug

Does anyone else find it hard to believe it’s August already? Summer has flown by, and soon school, fall, etc. will be upon us in full force! As it does, with life ramping up to breakneck speed again, we have to remind ourselves NOT TO ASSUME:

10.  We know it all.

9.   We can read people perfectly.

8.    We have to be like someone else.

7.   We have to be perfect in front of others.

6.   Outer beauty is more important than inner beauty.

That last line is a tough one in our culture. You don’t have to look far (online, at movies or magazines, on TV, etc.) to see that outer beauty is highly valued (and pursued). And yet inner beauty trumps outer beauty every time!

Maybe you roll your eyes when you hear lines like that, convinced it’s just something adults say to make girls feel better…But it’s important to know that it really is the truth!

In the Mr. Right Series, Julia is never specifically described (as brunette or blonde, tall or short, etc.). She is referred to as a pretty girl, however, and in novel 2, Julia shares about a time in her life when she felt very unattractive and received lots of teasing from boys.

Wow, I can definitely relate! When I was 12, I traded my admired long locks for a cute, shoulder-length cut, only to receive an unexpected result: my hair had turned curly! The weight of my long hair had masked this recent development (sure I knew it looked a little kinky at my hairline, but I hadn’t paid much attention). What a huge surprise when the stylist began cutting and my hair sprung up in frizzy curls!  In an attempt to make me happy (for I had returned to the salon crying over this disaster of a cut), the stylist ended up cutting my hair to about four inches everywhere! No joke, it went from one extreme (super long) to another (super short). I returned to school with a short frizzy mess (no product) to the shock of my friends and teachers.

At the insistence of my stylist (saying, You’d hate your curly hair long…it’d be way too big!), I kept my hair short for years. And had to put up with lots of teasing and mean words. I remember purposely sitting in the back of my junior high class so other students wouldn’t look at (and comment on) my hair. However, I also remember thinking during that time, I may be ugly, but I can smile!

You see, even though I knew this stage was not my best, that my outside was a far cry from society’s concept of beautiful, I still felt valuable. I still felt good about who I was inside. And I was determined to let it show while helping other girls feel good about themselves and know about Jesus.

Thankfully, as the years passed, I learned how to better work with the hair God had given me. I hadn’t ordered my curls, but in time I learned to manage them and even enjoy them! Then flat irons came out and I got to experience the fun of having both options: straight or curly.

While I can look back at that season of life and recall some of those memories, the pain of them has faded and gone. And I’m actually thankful for the main lesson I learned during those years: feeling valuable regardless of my appearance. (That has certainly come in handy as I’ve gotten older, gone through body changes that come with four pregnancies, etc.) Another beautiful thing I gained was compassion for those who are picked on and ridiculed.

I have a little more to say on this subject, so I’ll finish up on my next post…But hopefully, this has gotten you thinking about how much value you place on outer beauty vs/ inner beauty. Please don’t let our culture cause you to assume your outside is more important than your inside, girls! As we’ll talk next time, it’s quite the opposite!

Much love,

Lisa

photo credit

Pretty or Not?

19 Mar

In chapter 4 of novel 2, Meeting Mr. Right, Julia confesses to her parents that she’s been secretly hiding pictures of her and Jay together, looking at them in her bedroom when she was alone. Why? Because they remind her of a time when a handsome guy thought she was beautiful.

In response, her mother asks Julia an unexpected question: “So, if Jay hadn’t found you beautiful, would that have meant you weren’t?

When Julia doesn’t know how to answer her mother, Grace says, “That’s because you still need to learn what true beauty is, Julia. Physical beauty gets a lot of attention in our culture, but that kind of beauty has little value, mainly because it’s both subjective and fading. One man can look at a girl and think she’s pretty, while another might not find her attractive at all. The girl’s appearance is not the variable—just the opinions of her observers. This will be true for her as long as she lives.”

When I was in high school, I can remember an incident that illustrates this truth. In my day, few families had more than one car. We walked or used the bus system to get around. One sunny afternoon, I decided to walk downtown. The sidewalk I was using ran parallel with the main road into town and stretched ahead of me for a dozen or more consecutive blocks before reaching the shopping area downtown.

As I strolled along, taking in the scenery, I heard some very shrill whistles and turned to see a car full of young men passing by, hanging out the windows. They shouted out, “Hey, Beautiful…Want a ride?” I ignored them and continued walking, but felt very flattered to receive such a nice compliment.

As I got closer to town, another car came along with a different group of guys. They shouted out, “What a dog!!! You’re so ugly!” As before, I ignored them and kept walking. After they had passed by, I stopped and started laughing. To the first group, I was pretty; the next group found me ugly. How could that be? Nothing had changed. I looked exactly the same for both evaluations.

I guess the old saying Beauty is in the eye of the beholder holds some truth after all. What Julia needed to learn (as well as every young woman reading her story) is that in God’s eyes, every woman is beautiful and valuable. Once you receive His love and approval through Christ, the opinions of others won’t matter as much. When you see yourself as a beautiful and valuable daughter of the Most High God, it will affect how you walk, talk, and relate to others. Eventually, they will see the beautiful you He sees.

Lisa and I already see a beautiful you!

Barbara

photo credit

Beautiful Dust

27 Feb

Do you feel beautiful? Do you know that you are?

So many times things in life make us feel less than. Things that have happened. Things people say to us. Even things we say to ourselves. But we have to remember that it’s what God says about us that matters. He is Truth.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4 (NLT)

Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.  2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (MES)

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NLT)

So when feelings of “less than” come, push them aside and spend some time in His presence. Because the truth is you’re valued and you’re beautiful. And when you’re in His presence, it becomes more real than ever.

Hope this video allows you that moment with God today.

Love you!

Lisa