Finding Contentment With the Girl In the Mirror

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Psalm 139:13,14 “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I linger in front of the mirror for a moment…what do I see? A grey hair popping out, that big sun spot on my cheek, those bags under my eyes. And then there’s my beloved muffin top – possibly the thing that makes me most insecure. For me – all it takes is a mirror to get me discontent. The only thing worse than a mirror is the comparison trap

We all do it – we compare ourselves to…

1. Ourselves and our pre-baby days. I have a picture of myself with friends in college by my computer – sometimes I marvel at how thin I was!

2. Our siblings- Both of my sister’s are size 0! I blogged about this struggle here.

3. Our friends- I have some tall friends who make me feel so short! You know who you are!!! lol! Those who know me well know I ALWAYS have a heel on unless I am exercising.

4. Our foes – if comparison for you turns into jealousy then you are way off track from where God wants you and you have gone from being a friend to a foe. Jealousy is ugly and deadly – it’d be better to pluck your eye out than to covet your neighbors beauty.

5. Strangers – I’ll admit it – I’ve walked through the mall at times and have seen those skinny, tan, tiny bottomed teenage girls with perky chests – it’s a tough pill to swallow.

6. CelebritiesComparing yourself to celebrities is a lose/lose situation – they have trainers, cooks, nannies, hair stylists, fashion designers, and airbrushing!! We can’t possibly keep up!

So what can we do? It’s really a matter of mindset. I dare you right there at your computer – praise God for how well he made you. Go ahead do it…..

Did something you don’t really like about yourself pop into your head? What is it? Now praise God for it… – does it feel strange?

Here’s my prayer: “What a blessed life I have led! Thank you Lord for my muffin top – it means I’ve had bountiful amounts of food. Thank you for my grey hairs it means I’ve been blessed with years, thank you for my bags under my eyes – it means I have been blessed with many people in my home to love and care for, thank you for my sun spot – it reminds me of all those fun days on the beach or at the pool.”

That’s a strange prayer isn’t it. The world says – suck the muffin top out with lipo suction, color the greys (I do that by the way!), conceal the bags, have the sun spot removed and on and on it goes.

Now try again to thank God for that thing in the mirror that drives you nuts! It’s hard I know – that’s because you’ve been focusing on it and thinking so negatively for so long that your mind can barely bare the idea of actually praising God for how wonderfully you are made. You have been beating yourself up with the comparison trap!!!

Now try again – focus on the wonderful things he has given you – eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to serve, feet that walk, a heart that beats, lungs that hold air, a brain that can read and understand this, and a heart to feel God’s love – wow – you are amazing! Aren’t you wonderful (and I don’t mean this in a prideful sense)? God made you and he says you were wonderfully made – trust him that he made you the way you are for his purposes!

John Piper says “The fight for joy is a fight to see.” It’s a fight to see things from God’s perspective rather than this world’s. We must fight for it if we are going to live well!

Walk with the King!
, WomenLivingWell.org

 This post is part of this month’s series:

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Comments

  1. says

    Well,here’s a huge issue even for God’s girls.I try never to be critical of myself ,especially in front of my teenage girls.To be truthful ,most of the aging process really hasn’t bothered me very much.That could be because I’m only 40 or it could be because my husband is very supportive.Yes I realize how fortunate I am.In the big scheme of thing my family doesn’t love me because of how I look,nor do my good friends.My Lord’s love doesn’t depend on it either.While I believe that the Lord wants me to take good care of myself, we need to be realistic.Having expectations that are real and attainable is important.If your judgement is skewed perhaps getting advice from someone you trust is the best idea. Blessings

  2. Alba says

    What a wonderful article. It was just what I needed. Thanks for being real & helping me realize how blessed I am.

  3. says

    I am bawling as I read this. I have struggled with this in a huge way since I was 10. That’s 16 years now and it has gone into hyperdrive last year after I discovered some heartbreaking things that “stole” my husband for years. I ALWAYS feel inadequate, ugly, and I’m extremely jealous especially when my husband & I are out together. i have 3 children, and I want to be a positive, healthy example to them. Thank you for sharing this, I’m printing it out and pasting it on my mirror, and keeping a copy in my wallet for those hard times.

  4. Lyndsay says

    Wow, I was just feeling down about my boobs that are not as perky as they were before nursing 3 babies! It was nice to be reminded that I should praise God that I was able to breastfeed and have my girls. God always has perfect timing!

  5. Kari says

    This is so timely for me too as I struggle with the image in the mirror. In reality, it’s not bad at all. It’s just all the bad negative talk I have had with myself for years that is hard for me to look beyond the physical and see what God sees in me (muffin top). This has been very encouraging to me. I am going to cut and paste that wonderful prayer to remind me how blessed I am to have 3 children when others struggle and can’t have their own. We need to remember that we are created in God’s image and he loves and accepts us just the way we are! We need to as well….

  6. Brandae says

    Just like you’re saying to praise Him for those things I consider imperfections because they represent blessings too, I wonder if He is allowing me to struggle with certain issues until I learn to release them…until I accept that He loves me as I am…until I finally embrace that I am already adequate in His eyes even with these issues. Maybe once I just love me for me, He’ll move to take those issues away from me…or not…but regardless, I did need to hear this message and trust that I can find contentment no matter what I see in the mirror because HE LOVES ME ALREADY. And if GOD loves me (the most amazing, perfect, majestic One of ALL), who am I to not love myself?!
    Thank you, Courtney. I love your heart for encouraging women all over the world.

  7. Jennie says

    I am so critical of myself. What a fabulous perspective, not only thanking God for being me, but taking it a step further (thanks for the muffin top, it means I have food to eat).

  8. Kate Wilson says

    Courtney, thank you so much for blogging about this! I struggle with this as well, as many women do. I’m a short, sort of stout lady at 5’0″ tall. It seems that all the women in my life are gorgeous and I constantly catch myself playing the comparison game. My sister-in-law is a bombshell, my best friend is rail-thin, and all the women in my immediate circle are gorgeous. It doesn’t help that several of them aren’t too modest, either. My husband is a great man and doesn’t stray, but I often wonder if he wishes I looked like the other women around me. And I am in constant prayer to fight the jealousy. I was a size 00 when I got married (I lost weight for the wedding) 8 years ago, and now I struggle to stay in a 6. Now I’m being treated for rheumatoid arthritis, and I often have inflamed joints and I even break out in hives.
    I don’t want any woman to feel the way about herself that I sometimes feel about myself, but it’s somehow comforting to know that I’m not alone in it. And even more comforting is knowing that my God created me to be who I am on purpose. I was no mistake, and He made me to be exactly who I am! He created me to be short! Thank you for this reminder and for this little exercise on thankfulness!

  9. Christine says

    I am currently 8 months pregnant and feeling exceedingly unattractive! Thank you for this timely reminder. Today I will work on thanking God for the healthy little one inside me instead of dwelling on the fact that I look like a beach ball.

  10. Chris says

    I’m guessing she’s not saying anything about people wearing a bigger size than herself. I have on more than one occasion been shocked to find out that a friend that I perceive as about the same size as me wears several sizes bigger clothes, and one friend I see as cute and tiny wears the same size as I do, yet in my mind I am so much bigger than she is… My problem is how I see me, not how I see them. They look great!

    • says

      Chris, I love Courtney, and would never accuse her of intentionally criticizing someone else for their size. And, I know a lot of it comes down to perception. I’m a plus-sized gal, wearing a size 16…if I see someone else my size, I would never say anything negative, and I don’t even think anything negative…that’s reserved for myself.. So I get what you’re saying.
      I guess it’s just food for thought, that if you’re a size 6 and you’re talking about how “big” you are, and a size 16 is sitting there…she hears your words and even if YOU don’t make that connection intentionally…it’s definitely made, as she looks down at herself to wonder “wow, if she thinks she’s big, what does that make me?” and tries to hide in the corner, because she already knows the answer, but now she wonders if you’re thinking it too.

  11. Cindy B says

    I found contentment with the girl in the mirror about 15 yrs ago, when I stopped trying to measure up to the worlds standards and became content with the “genes” God gave me.
    It was a hard step at first, but when contentment finally grew in my heart, it was/is oh so easy!
    I stopped dying my hair, I no longer wear make-up…….now before you start throwing pity my way (oh that poor lady) :) Let me tell you, I save a LOT of money, and it makes me be more careful as to taking care of myself. So I am healthier for it…….if I don’t sleep right, drink enough water, etc…… I don’t have make-up to cover up the effects. So it does make me take better care of this body God has given me.
    Without Jesus, I could not have done it. But because of Him, I am happy in myself thru Him.

  12. Tammy Stelly says

    Oh how I love this!! I will be writing that prayer and taping it to my bathroom mirror. Thank you for the encouraging words!!

  13. Caitlyn says

    I love and needed this! It never ceases to amaze me, when you think that every woman around you has so much confidence, then you read then and see that every woman struggles with their physical appearance. I believe that Satan knows exactly where to get us women. Think about it, when we feel like we are fat and ugly, it ruins our day because we as women are taught in this world that our worth is found in looking perfect and skinny like all the models, fitness gurus, and celebrities we see every day!

    I needed to praise God for my not perfect, flabby belly. It is that way because I carried a beautiful, healthy, loving, joy-filled, baby boy for 9 months. I have to remind myself hourly that people and God most importantly look at your heart and then you are drawing people to Christ. It is ok to be healthy, not to indulge in unhealthy food and to exercise regularly. But it shouldn’t be our idol and our life. We are in this world but not of it. Thanks Courtney!

  14. Cara says

    Courtney – thank you for sharing this today. This is a great reminder to me as I always struggle with the real or imagined thought of what others think of me. I’ve been overweight my entire life and it is so hard to put that aside and see myself through God’s eyes… Knowing you should and implementing it are two different things.

  15. Linda Tang says

    Okay, do I really need to praise Him for the tiny lines now forming around my eyes that I have recently noticed? I’d rather praise Him for His provision of an awesome eye cream! In all seriousness, we need to remember that when we take the focus off ourselves and focus on Him, our perspective changes and our concerns take their rightful place. Thank you Lord for creating us as you would have us be, so that you receive the glory.

  16. says

    I think the most important choice I made, towards becoming more content, was by practicing acceptance. It’s not easy, but I think it’s essential. It takes your mind away from a place of judgement, and brings it into the present moment.

  17. Jenifer says

    WOW! I was really struggling with this. I went to bed praying about it last night after watching home DVDs of myself with the kids last night. I have lupus & have been on steroids and many other meds for years now & man I have really gained weight & changed a lot over the last 10 years. Not in a good way either. This is just what I needed to hear. Thank you for letting God use you in such a mighty way! You have really helped me a lot!

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