I stand in front of the mirror and wipe the sleep from my eyes. What do I notice first? Tossled hair, a few extra pounds hanging around after the holidays, perhaps the tiniest of lines beginning to make an appearance.
A paragraph from Annie Downs’ book, From Head to Foot, pops into my mind…
If you are like me, even a little bit, then the idea of loving all of you seems challenging at best. More like impossible, if you were to be really honest. I sat at a coffee shop last night as my friend, in tears, looked across the table and said, “How do I love me, Annie?” And as I sat there, I realized this isn’t a one-sentence answer. And it isn’t a one-moment solution.
Don’t we all ask this question at some point?
It seems like it would be easy to love ourselves. And, yes, it may appear that we do. After all, we can be selfish, indulgent, and pretty committed to getting what we want. Or maybe that’s just me. Ahem.
But that’s not the kind of love I mean–or the kind Jesus meant when He said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” The kind that sets us free to serve, find joy, and follow hard after God with all we are…heart, soul, mind and body.
Now let me be clear: YOU are easy to love. I have no trouble typing out words of encouragement and sending them your way. I think you’re amazing, wonderful, and bring so much joy to God’s heart and mine.
But loving me? It’s a little harder, my friends.
I turn back to the mirror and wish someone would stand beside me, help me see ALL of me the way God does and show me how to use every part of me to serve Him.
And, miracle of miracles, Annie does.
With her words in the next few chapters, she takes me from the top of my head to the bottom of my soles (and my soul). She gets honest about her struggles and invites me to share mine too. Most of all, she replaces what I tend to focus on (the parts I wish I could change) with what God really sees (a woman who’s fearfully and wonderfully made). She challenges me to serve Him with my whole being.
I close the last page of the book. I stand in front of the the mirror again.
This time I even dare to smile.
Then I step away and into my day.
Into all God has for all of me.
I carry Annie’s words with me and bring them here to you too…
I’m praying for you today. Praying the things you have read and learned in these chapters, information and embarassing stories from a very flawed storyteller, has somehow helped you fall more in love with God. I pray that in the next few weeks, months, years, you will see your life continue to mold and shape into what God has planned for you. Somehow, I really think you are going to be a part of the change in our generation. You, choosing to live holy and righteous and be different on the inside–you are the one who will make a different on the outside and around the world.
Sisters, let’s love who we are so the reflection in the mirror isn’t the one that matters most; instead it’s the reflection in our hearts of the one who made us–every part.
Do you struggle with loving who you are, inside or out? What helps you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment before midnight on January 15th. When you do, you’ll be entered to win a copy of From Head to Foot: All of You Living All for Him by Annie Downs!