I have a body image problem. No, I’m not an anorexic who sees an emaciated figure as plump; no, not by a LONG shot. But, too often, I do have trouble getting a clear vision of who I am. Some days, when I look in the morning mirror, I expect to see a tall willowy woman with reddish-blonde hair. (Oh, wait, that’s my youngest daughter). I am surprised and, yes, disappointed at the reality of a shorter, greyer, less … er…willowy woman. Some days, when I look in the evening mirror, I see a bedraggled, worn-out warrior who accomplished only a very small percentage of her to-do list that day. And I wonder how my day, which started out with such promise, ended so poorly.
This is not a pathological situation, just a human one. It’s a good thing that the God of our lives does not expect perfection. That’s in God’s job description, not ours. When we get hung up trying to be something other than ourselves, that’s where the spiritual sickness comes in. Whether we are, in fact, seriously thin or dangerously overweight, we still are children of God. Called to be the best we can be, of course, but also loved by God as we are today, whatever the reflection in the mirror.
Years spent in the social service field have convinced me that most people do not know this. This tragedy is at the root of much of society’s ills, both those played out in the judicial system and in our families. Until we get that very first principle, that God loves US — you and you and me — we waste so much precious time fighting against a sense of self-failure by projecting that hatred onto the world.
Maybe one of the best ways to change our families and our nation would be to put a sticker on our bathroom mirror that says “I love you, (signed) God. P.S. It doesn’t really matter how you think you look, so go on out and be my Presence in the world today!”
A daily reminder and promise, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:12 — At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.