“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Most of us know this quote from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This popular fairytale tells the story of a woman who defines her beauty by her image in the mirror.
In real life, there are more important questions that should be directed to the image in the mirror: “Who am I? What are my gifts? What is God’s purpose for my life?” How you answer these questions will determine the quality of your relationships, your personal goals and your spiritual life.
In my women’s discipleship class I took out a mirror and passed it around. Each woman looked at their reflection as I spoke words that affirmed them as God’s valued creations.
“I praise you Lord, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, you works are wonderful; and I know it very well.” —Psalm 139:14
When I passed the woman to a young woman named Yolanda, she turned the mirror face down. “Why won’t you look at yourself?” I asked. “Because I’m ugly!” she frowned. The whole class looked at her with shock and surprise. On the outside Yolanda was strikingly beautiful with long black hair and chiseled features. She was a mixture of American Indian and African American.
“What makes you think that you are ugly?” I asked.
Yolanda took a deep breath and began to tell her painful story. Her mother, who was a full-blooded American Indian, had an affair with a Black man and soon discovered she was pregnant. The man eventually abandoned her and she became a family outcast. They attacked her with painful words about herself and her newborn daughter.
As Yolanda grew, she became the target of her mother’s bitterness. She was told she was ugly and stupid. Even though Yolanda was very bright, her mother enrolled her in a school for mentally challenged children in order to get extra money from the state.
By the time Yolanda reached her teens, she was reading on a second grade level.She left home at sixteen and with God’s help and sheer determination she managed to get an education and eventually landed a good job at a computer design firm. On the surface Yolanda appeared to be bright, beautiful and successful. But on the inside her self-image was distorted and broken.
With a constant infusion of God’s word, prayers and affirmations from her sisters-in-Christ, Yolanda began to heal. Unfortunately, many women have a preoccupation with their age and physical appearance. But how we look only constitutes a small part of who we really are.
God made us beauty-full. We are full of gifts and talents that sometimes cannot be seen with our eyes.
In a CNN interview with full-figured actress Melissa McCarthy, she was asked about her weight and how it was affecting her career? She jokingly replied, “I would love to be thin, but I’m too busy living my life, making movies and winning awards.”
Our self-image will always have distortions. But once we get in touch with our God-image (fearfully and wonderfully made) we can rejoice in the knowledge that we are perfect for God’s purpose. I want to leave you with this affirmation to stick on your bathroom mirror:
Only 10% of my beauty is on the outside. The other 90% of my beauty is on the inside waiting to be discovered.
Stop living as though 90% of your beauty is on the outside and only 10% is on the inside. Over the journey of your life it will be your inner beauty that will always bring radiance and loveliness to your outer person.