We were at Burger King because my kids like Whoppers and it was baseball season and it was just EASY.
I reached over to the nice lady handing me our food and my sweet, precious, delight of a child took hold of the skin UNDER MY ARM. You know the place, where triceps are supposed to be. The dangling place. The place that has names I shall not refer to as to not offend. THAT PLACE. She squeezed it, and then she jiggled it. With her sweet little fingers SHE JIGGLED MY ARM LIKE IT WAS JELLO.
Let’s take a moment.
Okay. So she did that and I said, “Could you please not do that?”
She took her hand away from the place. We moved on.
So here’s the thing: my bits are changing.
I am growing out my gray hair (which, by the way, I reserve the right to change my mind about at any moment). I am realizing that I am going to have to make peace with the thigh dimples because I have no Jillian Michaels abilities in me. At all. I called to cancel my gym membership the other day and the lady was all, “You’ve only been a member three months.” Nice try shaming me lady. I LIFTED 20 POUND WEIGHTS AND MAYBE SPRAINED MY WRIST IN THE PROCESS. I’m on medical leave. Anyway.
The dimples aren’t going anywhere.
My wrist hurts from lifting a dumbbell, (Lord, help me).
I’m not going to starve myself (goodbye metabolism).
And while I’m watching my sugar intake and eating more smoothies and salads, there are times I just want some wings and beer in bed with my husband.
Here’s the point: It’s okay to age.
And if we could all just be okay with this aging thing, I could be okay with this aging thing.
I always said I wanted to age with grace, but that’s easy to say when you’re young and you think you don’t start aging until you’re 60. You don’t think you’re going to be plucking chin hairs and seeing a stylist every two months in your mid-30’s. You think that pizza and crab dip is no thing because you’ll just lay off the next day. You don’t know that when you lose weight you’ll gain more back, because your body doesn’t care about what you think.
It’s time to make peace with ourselves and our bodies and, really, our inner-person.
Pluck the chin hairs, dye your hair, eat kale if that’s what you want to do (I want to do only one of those things currently and it doesn’t involve kale or dye). But remember this: it’s your inner-person that God wants to develop, mature, and make holy. And from that inner-person comes all the outer stuff.
How do we make peace with the inner-person? We get real vulnerable and we lay it all bare before the Lord, and we say, “Search me O God, and know me…”
We let Him see the inner places that He already sees; we let our guard down. We invite Him in. We align with Him in doing the work in us.
That inner-person work is the good stuff, where our identity is formed and cemented and we learn to trust God with all of it, everything, especially our fears.
Our fears of people judging our looks.
Our fears of people not taking us seriously.
Our fears of being unwanted.
All of them, whatever they are. He already knows them and here’s the thing: He loves us in the inner-person. He takes us seriously. He doesn’t judge our looks. He wants us.
It’s okay to have dimply thighs and gray hair and jiggly underarms. Life is so much more than the effort we spend trying to look good for fear of what people will think of us.
Maybe for you, it’s time to hand those fears over to God and let Him tell you who you are. Maybe you need to know it’s okay if you dye your hair, and it’s okay if you don’t. No rule there. But either way, you are loved, you are seen, and you are wanted.
Let it be enough.
Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Related: I have some feelings about gray hairLeave a Comment
Michele Morin says
This is just incredible!
When we’ve embraced the truth of Peter’s words and our hearts are free to long for “the imperishable,” we can rejoice in God’s gift of a perishable body — knowing that it’s all that stands between us and the ultimate and unmitigated presence of God.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I have been having to make peace with each new addition to my “maturing” body….thigh dimples, gray hair, bat wings, chin hairs, varicose veins, jowl formation, turkey neck, my own personal “inner tube” around my abdomen….have I covered it all? Each new addition reminds me that I am not the pretty young thing I used to be when I was 20, but like you so wonderfully pointed out, I believe we grow an inner beauty as we age. One that replaces pride with humility, hurriedness with patience, brashness with gentleness and kindness – at least I hope so. My identity has shifted from what the world thinks of me to what God thinks. I am better able to live my life for an audience of One and how relieving that is. “Search my heart, Lord” is a dangerous prayer to pray, but God is so gracious that in addition to showing me what needs changing, He encourages me about what is good – the good that has come from praying, “Make me more like Jesus, God.” So as I pluck my chin hairs and see new gray hairs popping up daily, I try to look at them as badges of living. My eye wrinkles tell tales of much laughter and many tears. They show that I have lived. If this is how I look having been loved well by the Lord, then so be it. Wonderful post and reassurance this am.!
You responded so eloquently to this reminder to beautify our inner woman. Thank you to this addition. Both blessed me.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Sarah Mae’s great post just got my inner juices flowing 🙂
Oh. Sarah Mae!!! Have you been in my head the last few weeks (months)?!?! So much of what you say resonate with me. Thank you for being so honest and truthful. I do try to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, use good skin care products….blah, blah, blah…but the fact of the matter is my body is going to age. I have to be at peace with that. You said this beautifully. Thank you!
Sarah Mae……I love this! We definitely need to focus on the inner person of the heart daily because this body we live in is only temporary. I’m almost 70 and learning to enjoy each day and be thankful that I enjoy good health. Everyday for all of us is a gift thanks to the Gift Giver. I love it because I have actually had young women say to me — “I love your hair–do you put something on it?” Who would have ever thought that gray or white would be the choice color! Thanks for the “thankfulness reminder” for today.
Nancy VanBruggen says
Oh! Thank you for the smiles this brought to me. What woman cannot relate to this? It was just what I needed to hear–a gentle reminder that I do not have to measure up to the world’s expectations; nor beat myself up with unimportant, impossible standards and comparisons. I know Father God loves and cherishes me just as I am. He knows all I can be in Him. He knows my heart and that is what really matters.
Robin Etheredge Moore says
I love this!
Christine Salinas says
I have learned to be okay with me and all those fears melt away when I remember that none of this is about me anyway. It’s about JESUS! Tilting the mirror “up” saved me so much stress and anxiety. I still live in the skin I’m in (with all its flaws) but since I know that it’s not about me, I’m okay with that. A few years ago I found a blog and now she has a brand new book – Compared to Who by Heather Creekmore. This revelation has been a process from reading her blog and book. Check it out!
Jennifer Mantle says
This hit home! I turn 50 on Monday, and yes, I have a hair appointment after work so I won’t be gray on my birthday. And yes, I feel shallow for doing it, but I am doing it anyway! Thank you so much for reminding me God is not just looking at me on the outside, but He is concentrating on the inside. Grace abounds all the more!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Welcome to the Fabulous 50’s Club!! If it helps, I still get my hair colored/highlighted….no sin. I just won’t be spending thousands I don’t have to nip, tuck, and melt away….I’ve earned these wrinkles and extra pounds lol.
Beth Williams says
Congratulations on turning 50! I feel if you want to get your hair dyed go for it. Remember you’ve earned all the gray hairs, wrinkles, and other body changes. You have lived half a century and have gone through some trials. God is more concerned about the inside than the outside. Happy 50th birthday. I pray you have a great day and God gives you many more years to enjoy!
Great post, very timely reminder too for me.
For health reasons I need to do some routine changes. Helps to regulate or minimize taking meds.
But so greatful for all that has been said. Yeah brought smiles and laughter while reading.
So, so greatful to you all.
Aptly put. Many thanks to you for this awesome devotional!!
Beth Coulton says
I would dye my hair but I’m allergic to hair dye! And my friend’s 20 year old has the most beautiful white hair- her dye color of choice. Tables turned here…..
Thank you for this encouragement today, I needed it – I work with a few young, gorgeous, perfectly toned women and it’s hard for me some days to feel like I can keep up (because really, I can’t). I am working on coming to a peace with that. After a bout with thyroid cancer in February, I realize that it’s a gift to just BE HERE, no matter if my arms are a bit droopy or the age spots are showing through my foundation. Having my health – and life- is reason enough to celebrate, no matter the look!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Amen! So glad you’re still here….that’s the gift! Just remember, one day those perfectly toned beauties will have to find another form of inner beauty…the exterior fades, but the interior remains.
Beth Williams says
Praise God you survived thyroid cancer. You are blessed to be alive. Everyone ages & will lose their toned bodies to some degree. You are a gorgeous woman of God. I am blessed to know you here.
Thank you for making this 69 year old gray and dimpled lady laugh in the morning …it’s been awhile as my life has taken turns I didn’t want or expect ….but Pappa is good and kind and gives humor thru others to brighten the day …thanks for blessing me.
Suzann Smith says
But I don’t want to. I mean I’m tired. I’m tired of being renovated inside. It’s exhausting and painful and I just want to be done. Be renovated, not undergoing renovations.
But, I’ve finally realized that life is not about starting at point A (childhood) and arriving at point B (some mystical place called Adulthood) but rather about the train trip through the beauty and the wastelands of this life.
So I wil, I will continue to let God grow, mold and develop me.
Thanks for the encouragement.
Sarah Mae… I am crying from laughing so hard..not AT you, but because of the realness of this. The bare bones approach to this message, and I LOVE it! I’ll never forget the first time that I realized my underarms “waved” with me… (or when my children pointed out how wonderfully “squishy and soft” my belly was….or when they thought it was hilarious how if they bumped into my rear it didn’t hurt because it was so soft and would “bounce” them across the room….so many stories, so little time.. ;)) lol I may or may not have screamed in horror in my driveway when I caught sight of the flapping flesh, out of the corner of my eye, as I waved goodbye to precious friend… lol (good grief..) (and for REAL, how could I have not noticed that flapping FOR SO LONG??? I had to have waved to other people before that!!!) I was 32 and my oldest daughter who was 9, STILL TO THIS DAY remembers my scream of horror…. lol lol It’s actually something that we laugh like crazy about now. Guess what? My arms STILL do that… 7 years later. At almost 40 (this October) I am very very aware of how I wave to folks…lol However, if a little flappage happens, it happens. 😉 My hair is skipping merrily towards white (more than 80% of the way there…), and I vacillate between letting it go (yes…Frozen just popped into my head too…) and continuing to cover my crown of glory. And in the end of all things… it really doesn’t matter because none of it changes His unfailing love for me or His desire to be in rich relationship with me. Thank you for writing this and confirming what the Lord has set out to instill in me this year (and if we’re being honest…it started back on that fateful day standing in my driveway in California in 2010)…and that is that I am SO MUCH MORE than my appearance…. I also love the verse that you used from Peter…. Fantastic message ma’am!!
Yes! The phrase that stood out to me was “He wants us!” If only we could all grasp that truth all of the time! He truly does want us despite our outer and inner flaws! His love is perfect and unconditional and like no other!
So, so good. <3
Hmmm… I am 48 and these past months the under arm jiggle is becoming more. real. daily!! I mean I know I took a hiatus from weights and my Y classes during the winter which then some how became spring but, seriously that is not what I call aging gracefully. Ha!
I am learning to accept that my tank tops don’t look as cute but short sleeves are ok too. 😉
Christy Mobley says
May I just say, BRAVO! As an almost 60 year old woman who has been told all her life, “You are beautiful” I fear losing that physical beauty in that I might lose myself. Logically, I know this is not who I am but words pierce deep and etch unremovable marks on our hearts. Today I’m embracing that His love, His blood, covered those marks. Im embracing His love embraces me. So thank you.
Tammy Wagner says
Amen Sister! Love this!
Well said. Thank you!
I have been working on being healthier in my 40’s and some of those actions have improved how I feel and look but I have had grey hairs since my 20’s. I REALLY want to grow out the grey. I’m probably 75% grey but spend a fortune covering that up every 6 weeks. I have seen some beautiful heads of grey hair and some not so beautiful. It is so hard for me not to be vain and care how I look. Thank you for the encouraging words on our inner beauty. I am trying to embrace that.
Sue Neal says
I was right there with you for the longest time. Decades really. I have been mostly gray since my early 30s. I colored, and colored. About 10 years ago I let it grow out and loved it. My daughters did not, and I colored and colored again. Lol. I turned 52 in March. I have embraced my silver locks, partially with my stylists help and her absolute love if my color.
All this to say, do what is right for you, WHEN it is,right for you. The freedom of no roots has been heavenly!!!
Rebecca L Jones says
Women amaze me. If God looked at us or thought about us or talked about us like we do, we would all be in trouble. He looks at us through the beauty of His son, forgiven sin and our heart’s intent. We have to work on that sometimes. I will be 56 in Dec., yes, that ‘s my picture. Some people think I look 25 or 30, that’s great. When I was 24 I got handed a kids menu. I love hair color and make up. I just colored my mother’s hair. I do it all the time. She’s 73, and looks 50, unless she’s gray. Then she starts the heading for the rocking chair and blanket look. So what if you can fold your arm and it looks like a baby bottom, if we work on exercising the inside, the out will take care of itself. Lots of beautiful women can be very ugly, mean spirited, critical or vain. So it’s not about looks but Jesus. He is the fountain of youth. Okay, ladies, the big beauty secret. Psalm 103 — Don’t forget His benefits, …..He renews our youth. Enjoy His blessing today, He creates one of a kind masterpieces, His fingerprints are on us and that alone make you beautiful.
Beautifully said, Sarah Mae. I have a little internal conflict going on. I’ve always looked younger than my age, and while I’ve appreciated that on some level, it’s also been a little annoying on another level. (Not fun when you go out with your husband or friend & folks assume you’re the daughter.) But, time eventually catches up with us all and now that I’m showing signs of aging, I’m using every cream to combat them. Haha. Can’t be satisfied either way, can I? 🙂 But, internal aging…wisdom. That is worth every wrinkle. Love learning and growing in God and in grace–and I look forward to who He’ll grow me into next year and the next and the next. His face. That’s the face I want to seek. To admire. To emulate.
What a timely post and wow, can I relate! I just turned 63 and have been fighting the aging process for YEARS! The devil really likes to mess with me saying if I don’t stay pretty, my husband of 43 years will be tempted to look at younger women. It’s absolutely crazy and a lie because he has never given me a single reason to doubt him and he’s been completely loyal. And he always tells me he’ll love me no matter what I look like! After all, he’s aging right along with me. But my insecurities take over and how I hate the jiggly arms, spider veins, wrinkles, gray hair and age spots! However, just last week I realized I can’t fight this aging thing anymore. My body wasn’t made to last forever but my heart and my “inner self” is what truly matters to God! I am choosing not to live for the external anymore but instead let my Heavenly Father make me beautiful on the inside. That’s the best part and it doesn’t take hard exercise or jars of wrinkle cream! It only takes submitting to Jesus and giving Him my whole heart! Oh I will still take care of myself but not be so obsessed or depressed over how I look. As I give myself completely to God, I know He will make me shine from the inside out and that’s what I want more than anything! Thank you for sharing what so many of us women relate to!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
It sounds like your husband loves you just the way you are…and he’s probably not a young Brad Pitt (or similar actor) either?! Kick the enemy to the curb when he wants to whisper those lies into your head. The more YOU focus on YOUR inner beauty, the more it will shine outward and from your words, it sounds like you have a beautiful heart for the Lord. Let THAT be your beauty!
Sarah I love your thougts,”Life is so much more than the effort we spend trying to look good for fear of what people will think of us.” It’s so true. This past Sunday the pastor said we can still be vibrant and green in our old age. That’s our inner person. Our real selves. A few months ago, tragically, a friend’s son hung himself. As we were rushing to the hospital the thing God kept bringing to mind was, “There’s no time for pretend”. Thank you for sharing the encouraging life-giving words that we are loved, seen, and wanted.
Pearl Allard says
Ha ha ha! This is awesome, Sarah Mae! Thanks for being normal like the rest of us. Always refreshing reading someone who’s both real and loves Jesus. Sharing this one!
the Lord is speaking to me today through your words. thank you
You made me smile-really big!!!
I will be 72 in a couple of months and I remember when I stopped coloring my hair and went gray. When I stopped wearing make-up and went au natural. When I stopped wearing control top panty hose–who was I kidding. I embraced, although grudgingly, who I was and was becoming. I kept reminding myself that we look at the outside but God looks at our heart. I have also learned that it’s a lot less work to try to fix the exterior than it is to work on the interior but the results are far more soul satisfying with lasting results when we focus on our hearts and let God’s light shine through.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Amen, dearie. And thanks for the laugh along with the reality. Don’t ever lose your sense of humour – after all, the Lord loves a cheery heart. Blessings.
Three friends and I decided about 10 years ago that we were going to let our hair grow gray and not spend a fortune on covering it up (I don’t mind at all that others do and have to admit, they do look younger). All three of us have stuck to that decision. I have also decided that every lump, gray hair, spreading parts have been earned by being allowed to live this long (I do take care of chin hairs, grins). I eat well, try to stay reasonably fit by working in gardens and with my sheep . As I think about being 60 years old, I think that I am aging much better than anything else (car, refrigerator, house) that I encounter so life is good. God has blessed me with good health and a mother, who at 89, is still working part time and loving it. I am hoping that I am doing so well at that age, which is not all that far away anymore. My age has reminded me to not take any day for granted and to use it well and for Him.
There are just so many words I could say….but I’ll stick with AMEN. Oh, and pass the wings, make mine wine and let’s binge order Spanx with all the money we’ve saved on hair color!
Thank you thank you thank you! I so needed this!
Nancy Ruegg says
Several reminders help me keep “aging” in perspective: 1) I had my turn to be 21–same as everyone else. No one is 21 forever, no matter what the store sign says. 2) I’ve always appreciated older women who remained positive and energetic, took an interest in others, and demonstrated calm strength. Now it’s my turn to strive for that and minister to those who are younger. There’s great satisfaction in being an encouragement to others . 3) Without a few decades (OK, almost eight!!) behind me, I wouldn’t have grown children and their children to enjoy. They all are my supreme delight!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I think you’re beautiful on the outside and especially on the inside. Your beauty and wisdom have been an inspiration to me!!
Nancy Ruegg says
Oh, thank you, Bev. Such kind words, and what a delight for me to be an inspiration to you. Blessings coming and going between us, through the hands of our Father!
Thank you Sarah!!!!! Embracing Grace in this new season of life at 66. Blessings
The hardest part for me is not just when I feel unattractive but the dynamics in my physical life in my marriage left me feeling unwanted. I know I am loved by my husband and I do not fear his affections or elsewhere but I miss feeling wanted and spontaneously desired as when our marriage was new. I don’t know if this is a reflection of perhaps my focus in the wrong area. The outside rather than desiring to be stronger in heart . I just long for the affection . One thing God has said to me over and over this year is to be good to myself. I’m overweight and in too much of a hurry in life. I need to slow down and pay attention to my heart and my relationships . I don’t want to be a supermodel but I am worth the time to take care of so I can pour out care for others
Beth Williams says
I’ve never worried about my looks as life is more than looks. I agree: it’s time to make peace with ourselves and our bodies and, really, our inner-person. My feelings are that I’ve earned my gray hairs, extra pounds, etc. Being 52 & healthy makes me proud & want to praise God for watching over me. When you see me you get the real deal. My beauty comes from inside. I try to immolate Jesus and let His light shine!
Ladies thank HEAVENS for the admission about the chin hairs. Seriously. I’m only 38 but been plucking for a while. Yuck. Hate it. But you’ve made me laugh about it – why in our silly heads do we always think we are the only one with these annoyances in life?! Thank God (and tweezerman) for you all xxx
Thank you Sarah Mae for your open, honest, and hilarious words of encouragement! I LOVE IT! At the ripe old age of 34, I have seen changes that have made me feel less attractive and not like the me I’ve always been. (Yikes!) But then I think about it and realize that perfection and looking the same way I did 6 years ago is more pressure than I need to put on myself. I continue to work out (because I love it and I do want to be healthy), but I TRY not to put the same pressure on myself to be perfect. I am going to change, and that’s okay. I want to get over the fears I’ve had for so long about what people think. He created me in His image! He loves me whether I have visible abs or not so visible abs! It’s a harsh realization, but it’s okay to be perfectly imperfect me! I would be telling a tale if I said that everyday I am okay with my body’s changes, but I am working on getting over me. I love that our God looks at my heart and not my muscle mass or any other external feature to determine my worth and value!
This was SOOO good! THANK YOU ♥