Mirror, Mirror..

I was reading an article in one of the Sunday supplements where, as part of a regular feature, different people (usually famous), are asked to write about what they see when they look in the mirror. This week it was the turn of Katie Price, aka ‘Jordan’, the celebrity famous amongst other things, for her surgically enhanced breasts and tabloid modelling career.

Here’s what she says:

‘I recognise that I am getting older but I don’t hate what I see because that’s me. I have had the odd Botox and I’ve tried fillers, which I didn’t like. When I had my boobs done in America, they did them wrong, and I don’t know what they put in my lips. I would advise people never to have anything permanent in their face. I haven’t had a full 100% nose job – they shaved the bone, they didn’t break my nose..
I am happy with the way I am, I am a happy person – how can I not be?’

It’s easy to criticise someone like Katie whose life is lived through and to some extent, for, media attention. Actually I think there’s quite a bit about her to admire – she’s ambitious, intelligent and loves her family. Yet as these words attest,  she also seems desperately unhappy with who she is and how she looks, despite her claims to the contrary. You don’t spend thousands of pounds on surgery if you’re ok with who you are, right?

But then, how many of us can say that when we look in the mirror, we’re happy with what we see either?

Most women I know have at least one part of their body that they’d like to change. And I wonder if the desire to look better is just as strong in the Christian women as it is in the non-Christians. Which should be shocking.
What do I mean? Well, please don’t mishear me. Unbeliever does not equate to shallow. Far from it. Most women (regardless of faith)  recognise that what’s inside matters more than our appearance. To my shame, I know many non-Christian women and men who are far more other-centered and altruistic than me.

But trusting Jesus means more than a subtle shift of focus. It’s a complete change of direction, a radical reordering of values and concerns and identity. And it’s His supernatural work that changes me, not my efforts or desire to be better or nicer. Knowing Jesus is what makes the difference – and according to the Bible, this is why there are so many lovely lovely people who aren’t going to heaven. If it was about natural goodness, I wouldn’t have a hope.

Being a Christian means having a life that revolves around Christ and worshipping only Him. So for example, the Bible tells me that I can’t serve both God and money. Luckily, that’s not a problem. It’s not as if I need to dump the Swiss bank accounts, right? Surely this verse can be as easily dismissed as the idea of my rolling in a bathtub filled with bank notes? Or weighing up my bullion (is that the right spelling? I mean gold rather than chicken stock).

Perhaps not. Quite aside from the fact that relatively speaking, I’m in a very small percentage of wealthy people with access to fresh running water, sanitation, food, clothes and Taste The Difference Hummus, there’s a bigger issue at stake than simply the object of our affections. Scripture knows my heart. It knows my flesh, an ‘idol-seeking missile’, hungry  to worship anything but the Living God. But there’s only room in my heart for one Master. Only one Person worthy of such glory.  Whether it’s with money or food or body image or work or family – this Lordship cannot be shared. I know this. But sometimes, left to my own devices, I start to question why it is I can’t have both.
So I might read that ‘beauty is fleeting and charm deceptive, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised’. And, (after an lie-down and some cold compresses) I concede, Yep, got it. Jesus first. Nothing else. Imagine focusing on beauty and charm – ha, that’d be ridiculous. Except ..it is important to look good, just y’know in cultural terms. For evangelistic purposes, even.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not obsessed with my appearance or anything – not like whatserface, Jordan. For starters I can’t afford the surgery she’s had – er, not that I would. But I’m not averse to the odd pair of spanx. A couple of blow-drys and some of those nifty age-defying serums. Just, you know, essential maintenance work. This is Eastbourne, after all. And Jesus would want me to look good, right?

I’m not suggesting we rug up in bin-bags and stop washing or getting our hair cut. Many of these things are good gifts from God, to be enjoyed. And wanting to look nice is not a sin. But is it my priority? Is this what makes my life work? Or am I actually letting my wants become needs …and squeezing Jesus out to make more room for the really important stuff?

6 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror..

  1. On the other hand I do think we need to look respectable for Jesus. My problem is that sometimes I find myself dressing quite sloppily for church because It’s only church. Then I have to pull myself up because I wouldn’t adopt that attitude with going into the workplace and Jesus deserves more.

  2. Hi Chelliah

    Thanks for your comment.

    Yes – the way I dress or act towards other can be a reflection of my regard for them. On the other hand, what I love about Christ is that He takes me as I am, in all my mess – in a sense, that I don’t have to be respectable for Him. I go to Him to be cleaned up.

    Where I struggle most is in being the sort of person who wants to earn a place as Jesus’ follower. I know that Jesus deserves all that I am, but this can translate into feeling that if I give Him anything less than 100%, I’m no longer His child, whereas if I do give him 100% then I’m earning it. The joy of the gospel is that I’m not worthy of Him and never will be – so I’m free to be exactly who I am – metaphorically at least, clad in stained tracksuit pants and ripped t-shirt!

    But, as you’ve highlighted, I don’t want to take the Lord for granted or withhold from Him the honour He deserves, (which I often do). Thanks for this reminder of the holiness and majesty of the Lord as well as His friendship.

  3. Wow.

    I cycle in and out of this constantly as we live in an area that has a very high population of a particular Christian which holds to the practice of “headcovering”. I’ve heard explanations that the biblical instruction on this was cultural, that it only applies to formal worship assembly and that it is a mandate that applies at all times to Christian women of a certain age.

    While I was working myself into a lather over whether I need to toss my pants, find patterns for some relatively unattractive dresses that I can make myself, avoid cosmetics like the plague, and start tucking my hair into a hat everyday, my husband said “Heather, Jesus said not to become anxious about what we wear…that is what you are doing.”

    My focus gets completely skewed at times.

  4. Mine too. And a world without make-up would feel very frightening (not just for me, but everyone else!) I’ve noticed I feel much safer with my war-paint on, even though Glen claims he can’t tell the difference.
    I ‘know’ I’m loved and accepted by the Lord and by friends, yet in practice there are a million different things I also rely upon.

  5. Wow I absolutely love this blog! I want to experience the freedom of turning over every aspect of my life to Jesus and so much of my life and the way I think about things is just left on the default setting of the sinful nature or what ever the latest trend the media etc. pumps in! But discussing these issues and exposing these unhealthy sinful ways of thinking really diminishes their power! Anyway I totally agree makeup can be a good gift from the lord (thank you Jesus!) to be enjoyed but like so many things it’s the way we use it and our heart responds to it that can be the problem. I use to wear makeup everyday (and dont think it’s wrong to do so) but on the days I didn’t it was really striking how it affected the way I interacted with and even treated other people. The people I felt more self conscious around I didn’t want to look in the face or talk to at length let alone consider how they might be doing that day or how I might support/bless them! It made me realise that if we are constantly wanting to control and shape other people’s opinion of us it robs us of the opportunity of loving them! Also speaking of looking in the mirror has anyone else noticed that on the days you try on loads of different outfits before you leave the house it doesn’t matter what you end up in you still feel rubbish? Where as some days you just roll out of bed throw on yesterday’s jeans and a hoodie that’s been festering in the corner for weeks and yet you feel fine! What’s going on there ha?!

  6. Thanks Claire – you’re right: when I’m obsessing about myself, I miss the opportunity to engage with and to bless others. Plus, even if I think I look okay on the outside, it rarely changes how I feel inwardly. I’m trying to remind myself of this as I negotiate the January sales and ‘New Year, New You’ literature..

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