A couple weeks ago while we were visiting our family and friends in West Virginia, I reached out to a photographer friend to see if she could squeeze me in for a headshot. I need a recent picture of myself for my book proposal / business cards for conference, and if you are a parent you know the struggle. A picture of just me? Without the kids? I had been using a picture from two years ago that I cropped as much as I could, but the tip of Colin’s head was still visible. Fortunately, she was able to take the pictures for me.
As I got ready, I smiled at my daughter and said, “what do you think?” She gave me a half smile, half grimace. “What’s wrong?” I asked her. She replied, “You look pretty, but mom you have a lot of wrinkles by your eyes!” Oh, the honesty of children.
This morning, I received the pictures back and my first thought was “I really like these!” but that was quickly followed by “but I look so old!” How many of you can relate to that? I still feel like I should look at a picture and see my 20-something year old self. As I considered about my thoughts, I remembered a recent conversation with my best friend who had recently seen some pictures of herself. “I really love them, but . . .” and she had her criticisms.
Why do we do this? Why can’t we just look at a picture of ourselves and like what we are seeing?
Our confidence is not coming from Christ in those moments. In those moments, when we are looking at a picture and critiquing our weight, our looks, etc., we are basing our own judgments of ourselves by the world’s standards. This world tells us we should be a certain size, look a certain way, have flawless skin, be wrinkle-free, and on and on and on. Shame on us for listening. God created us uniquely. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We aren’t meant to look like the models on television, most of whom are photoshopped to look as “perfect” as they do. We aren’t meant to be the same size and shape as our friends or acquaintances. We don’t need to have wrinkle-free skin like the television ads say when they try to sell us the next best cream.
When we remember God created us, very specifically and very purposefully, we should embrace it. Have confidence in it. I challenge you to take a picture, or look at a recent picture, and praise God for your beauty that is as unique as your fingerprint. The next time you look at a picture of a model or even a friend, praise God for making them unique.
One of my – and my daughter’s – favorite songs right now is “Priceless” by King and Country. “Mirror, mirror, mirror on the wall, telling those lies, pointing out your flaws – that isn’t who you are.” I love those lyrics. The enemy points out our flaws. It’s his way of making us compare ourselves, then start feeling bad about ourselves. If we focus on his lies, we may turn to idolize dieting, exercise, cosmetic surgery, or even magazine photos instead of focusing our attention on God. He is constantly trying to distract us, and I think this is a very common and effective strategy, at least from what I can see within my circle of friends.
You are beautiful.
You are loved.
You are accepted.
You are priceless.
You are unique.
You are God’s amazing creation.
Own it. Embrace it.
And mommas? I would so encourage you to do a photo session with a friend or photographer. Get dressed up, and go get your picture taken without your kids. It’s a blast, and trust me – your kids will love having those images of you.