My view of the world through words & photos
Do I see myself as God sees me?
I can often say yes to the first set of questions, but typically the answer to the last question is no. I do not see myself as God sees me. And that is unfortunate. I believe that God sees me as His loving, beautiful, intelligent, compassionate child. I have a hard time with that image. Most of the time when I look in the mirror, all I see are my flaws.
I see the extra pounds. I see the eyes that aren’t big and round. I see the thin hair. I see the face that really should have some makeup on it to give it some color and life. I see the stomach that didn’t quite bounce back after my pregnancies. I see all my failings. I forget that the sum is greater than the individual parts.
A while back I was watching one of those models shows (guilty escape). I heard the coordinator tell the girls that they had something about them that wasn’t perfect and they had something about them that was special. The key was to minimize the lesser aspect and maximize the asset. Every time they pointed out their flaw, my inner voice said, “Are you kidding me? I’d love to have a (nose, butt, belly, forehead, head of hair, set of legs, pair of arms) like yours.”
My daughter told me the other day (as she has said so many times during her life), “Mom, you are beautiful.” And because I heard the sincerity and love in her voice, I believed I was beautiful – if only for that moment.
Keep in mind this is the same teenager who finds and focuses on all of her flaws on a regular basis. When I asked her how she could see me as beautiful and not see herself as beautiful too, her response was, “It’s just different.”
From the moment I laid eyes on her I have told her how beautiful she is. I thought she was beautiful as a newborn, as only a mother can considering newborns are not the cute babies they show on TV and in the ads. I thought she was beautiful when she was up to her elbows in finger paint creating another picture of the world as she saw it. I thought she was beautiful when she was covered in sweat and mud after a long, hard-fought soccer game in the rain. I thought she was beautiful when she sat with her new friend so that girl wouldn’t be sitting alone during a school event. I thought she was beautiful when she was struggling to understand new concepts in her classes. And I thought she was beautiful when the morning sun touched her face as I was about to wake her up.
Now she’ll tell you that I have to think she’s beautiful because I’m her mom. And to an extent that’s true. I am biased. (I’m also biased that her brother is handsome.) But I’ll tell her when I don’t think she’s being beautiful – like when she’s fussing about not being able to do something that her older brother is doing or when she’s yelling about how unfair the world is being to her.
Why are we so hung up on how we look to other people? A friend shared some insight from her mom: “You wouldn’t worry so much about how you looked if you knew how little other people cared.” At first this may sound cold, but it has such a ring of truthfulness. For the most part, unless you are a celebrity of some sort, other people are not judging you and your looks nearly as harshly as you are judging yourself.
So why do we spend so much time (and money) on how we look? Or more importantly, why do we obsess over what is wrong with us according to an unreasonable measuring rod? Why don’t we focus on our assets?
What I need to work on is seeing myself as God sees me. That doesn’t mean passively living my life and not taking care of myself. It means I need to take care of myself because I am beautiful child of God and I have a responsibility to take care of this gift I’ve been given. And if my daughter’s self-image is going to improve, I have to be a positive role model for her. And isn’t that one of the best gifts we can give our kids – the ability to love themselves and see themselves as God loves and sees them?
[Photos taken during a walk at the Missouri Botanical Gardens]