(This is an updated blog post because we all need this reminder some days.)
Remember in Snow White when the evil Queen says, “Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” What a blow to her self-image to learn that the fairest was Snow White. We have all been like that Queen, looking in the mirror for answers. I think it is safe to say that we are the most critical of ourselves when we are looking in the mirror. When I was a new mother, I learned a valuable lesson about my self-image and looking for answers in the mirror.
I struggled as a teenager and up into my twenties with my looks and my confidence. I never liked what I saw in the mirror and was always trying to find ways to improve how I looked. I don’t know if a day would go by when I didn’t think about my weight, my hair, my clothes and my need to feel worthy of the image I set in my mind of how I should look. Now, I know many people can relate to my struggle. Low self-image is exhausting to live with, both as the person struggling and those that have to deal with it on a daily basis with you. My husband could only take so much of my constant questioning on how I looked and one day he set me straight.
I was having one of my many insecure days and complaining about how I looked. My husband said to me, “Every day that you question yourself and me about how you look, you chip away at your own daughters’ confidence and self-worth.” Wow! It was like the light bulb finally turned on in my head. It was one thing for me to feel personally insecure but I did not want to make both of my daughters see themselves through my insecurity. I also realized that not only was I driving my husband crazy, but I was dishonoring God who created me. I started to understand that God sees me the same way I look upon my children.
All mothers view their children with biased eyes. There is nothing you would change about who they are in appearances. Each child has a little bit of the mother or father, and each is unique in his or her own way. God is biased, too. He wouldn’t change a thing about you because he made you in His image. I realized that I wasn’t only chipping away at my self-confidence, but I was separating myself from fully feeling the love of Christ.
I am raising my children in a world that values image above character. They are learning that the world around them focuses on beauty, weight, fitness, and popularity. In the age of social media and selfies, it seems we can’t escape self-obsession. If there is one thing that I can do right by my children, it is to look at myself with confidence and be proud of who God created me to be. This might mean I have to grin and bear it when I put on a few extra pounds. I have to realize that my increasingly graying hair and wrinkles are all a part of the process of my God-given image. There may be days that I look in the mirror, and I don’t like what I see. However, I have learned that it isn’t about me. It is about my children who need to feel loved and confident. It is about my relationship with Christ and feeling worthy of the honor of His creation–Me!
My children will have days of doubt and insecurity (we all do on occasion), but now I know that I do not want to be an example of insecurity in their lives. I want them to understand that Mom is happy with who God created her to be- at every stage of life- and they should be too. I no longer dwell on the things I cannot change, so that my children will realize they were created with a purpose both inside and out.