It was a transforming day at the gym that day, but it didn’t start out pretty.
Ugh. Why do they have to have mirrors in here? There’s no way I can make it through this. Little Miss Skinny Winny is right in front of me in her ‘lil piece of material disguised as FIT to wear in public! Now I get to stare at BOTH of us in the mirror. YUCK! You’re too out of shape, Laura. It’s disgusting.
Yes, I actually have these thoughts sometimes…and one day in my FLEX aerobics class, they were running rampant through my head. And continuing…I used to be “one of them,” you know. Well, with the exception of the skimpy clothing. But now? Now I am a red-faced, hyperventilating, under-confident, thrumpy, almost-forty something someone.
Obviously my body wasn’t the only thing struggling with a much-needed workout. My spirit was too. Praise the Lord He spoke straight through the booming music and into my heart by the time class ended. He reminded me that, with Him, all things are possible. That nothing is too hard for Him. That He wanted me to persevere and love these people while I’m at it. That He’s more concerned with the state of my heart than the image in the mirror.
My attitude had been placed into submission with my Savior, and it was a good thing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been prepared for what I walked into next. As I entered the ladies’ locker room, I walked straight into an older teenager with a perfect body in her teeny tiny bikini. She smiled at me big and said, “Hi.” I looked straight into her eyes, faked a smile and said “Hi” back. I made my way to my locker and grabbed my things, because I certainly was not changing my clothes in there now.
As I was about to leave, teeny weeny bikini girl’s (let’s call her “TWB Girl” for short.) friend came out of a draped dressing area in absolute distress. “I can’t do this!” she said to TWB Girl.
“You look great, Jody!” TWB Girl said back, “You do, I promise.”
Then the unthinkable. TWB Girl involves ME.
“Ma’am (ugh), tell her how great she looks.”
What I wanted to say is, “What are you two young things doing running around in skimpy bikinis? You need to cover up now, you hear!?! Got a t-shirt in that locker?”
The mommy/discipler in me took over instead. I forced myself not to look down at her body, but straight into her eyes. I thought, okay, if you tell her not to worry about it, she’ll think she looks bad. If I tell her she looks good in it, I’m feeding the wrong part of her.
“Sweetheart, you are so beautiful. Don’t cry, okay? God has made you such a beautiful young lady.” My heart broke in two as I watched Jody go over to the sink, look in the mirror and rinse her tears. I wanted to continue our conversation, clarify a few things about "true beauty," but I felt led to stop. As the two of them left, saying their polite goodbyes, I sat down on the bench and prayed, crying silently in my soul for this girl, for today’s generation, and for the woman in our aerobics class fussing in the mirror over her body just an hour earlier.
Oh wait, that was me!
Are you ever “that me” or “that her” in the mirror?
It may not be your appearance, or your weight, or your age. For some of you, it’s your talent, your spiritual giftedness, your domestic abilities or the lack thereof. Maybe it’s your personality, your spirituality, or some other stark reality.
Why do we do this? Talk down to ourselves, compare ourselves, wish ourselves away?
Blame it on the media, the devil, “the flesh,” the end times, whatever—but what matters most is what God has to say about us. He tells us to think on “what is true,” (Philippians 4:8a) and to “take captive every thought,” making it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5b). He is very clear that He is more concerned with what He sees in our hearts than what we look like. (1 Samuel 16:7b)
* You are beautiful to the King. (Psalm 45:11)
* You are His perfect creation. (Psalm 139:13)
* You are radiant when you look to Him. (Psalm 34:5)
* You can live life to the full if you believe what God says. (John 10:10)
* You are dead to the old flesh, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)
* You are not to compare yourself to others. (Galatians 6:4)
Ladies, I could go on and on. This is not about whether or not you should lose weight or improve on yourself, or about strongholds or habits you may or may not need to change. I truly believe that if you don’t understand God’s perspective of you and how to think rightly on it, then it will be impossible to change anything about yourself you need to change anyway.
Look to Him today. Seek His face. Dig into His Truth. Pray for change in your thinking about who He made you to be. And I’ll meet you there.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:16-18