Stepping Away From the Mirror: Remembering What My Body is For

When I think back to the times I felt most beautiful, most nourished, most comfortable with my body and its natural curves, they were not the times I was most pre-occupied by taking vigilant care of those things, but the times I worried least about them. They were the times when I worked hard to listen long and deep to an African woman’s story of rejection, when I invested so deeply in my children that I never noticed whether my hair was perfectly cut or even washed that day, when I didn’t worry about the crow’s feet around my eyes when I laughed huge and long with my whole face.

Beauty is all around me when I stop looking in the mirror long enough to see it.

  • Beauty is in people with wrinkles by the sides of their eyes, proof they’d laughed hard all their lives.
  • Beauty is in the calloused hands of men who work hard and hold their babies tenderly.
  • Beauty is in the soft belly and swollen breasts of a new mother.
  • Beauty is in my parents, who still walk holding hands at 93 and 85.
  • Beauty is in the shoulders of a young military man who spends more time carrying the cause of freedom than in the gym sculpting muscles.

God gave me the gift of this body for this day, in this location for His use. My body is not a tool to shape and flaunt and preen, it is a tool for the ministry that God gives me. The feet that go to the most remote mountain village to bring good news. The eyes that look with love into the eyes of suffering mothers and children. The hands that minister healing. The body that curves itself to lift broken people. The heart that can go the distance.

God gave me this body and I love the way it works. And by this age and the millions of miles I’ve traveled inside this little 5’2” frame, I frankly love the way it looks, too. I have become very fond of this mighty little powertool –in all of its incarnations. Size 4? Yep, lean and mean. Size 8? Workin’ great, with curves! Size 10? Maybe time for a tune-up – there’s too much to do to carry dead weight. Sure, I try to keep my body as attractive as possible, but my heart is truly elsewhere.

What is most beautiful in a person is their captivation by Christ, the confidence of their salvation, their utter abandon to the joy of serving their Father.. .and their sincerest appreciation for their body that puts it all in motion.

 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

— 1 Corinthians 6:19-20