Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Me,
Let’s talk about the mirror. Sometimes when you look in it, you’re disgusted. You think you’re fat or ugly or covered in pimples. You’ve already started to experiment with your eating habits and your hair and makeup. You spend hours in your room, just trying on clothes and looking into the mirror.
There will be this one time when you walk down the hall at school in your new boots and jean skirt, and you’ll hear some boys, clustered around a locker, whistle. You’ll ignore the whistle, but you’ll secretly enjoy this attention more than you’d ever admit. And after moments like this, you’ll feel a little more confident when you look in the mirror.
But, I must tell you: Your mirror lies. It either shouts criticisms, which leave jagged wounds on your self image; or it whispers flattery, which inflates your ego for a time, but then makes you even more anxious about what the mirror will say next time. You’ll become convinced that if you let your guard down for even one minute—if you take a day off of makeup or dieting or fashion or hair—your mirror will go back to screaming at you. The pressure is exhausting.
But I’ll say it again: Your mirror lies. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen pictures of seventeen-year-old you. You’re a pretty girl. Not ugly. Not a beauty queen. But you’re pretty. So why are you letting this mirror, mirror on your wall cast a spell over you and hold you hostage?
Here’s what I want you to do. Start glancing, rather than gazing into the mirror. The longer you stare, the stronger the spell. Do a check, not a scrutiny of your appearance.
Now, I’m not saying you should ignore your mirror or take it down. It’s fine to shop for clothes that flatter and choose a hairstyle that works with the shape of your face. It’s okay to wear makeup and put on jewelry. But once you’ve done your best, step away from the mirror and plug your ears (and your heart) to the screams or the flattery. Don’t let your mirror cast a spell over your day, your year, or your life.
It will take a while, but when you’re about twice the age you are now, you’ll realize that beauty is something more than what the mirror says. It’s something that lives inside of you, and isn’t entirely visible in the mirror. If you’ll let Jesus have his way with you, your beauty will grow more vibrant—not less—with each passing year.
So stop letting that mirror scream at you. Walk away, and be the beautiful girl that God made you to be.
“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart…”
I Peter 3:4a
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