Focus: Being real
Proverbs 31:30 (NIV) Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Throughout history people have worshipped beauty. Civilizations and cultures have always exalted beautiful people to leadership and fame—and the age we live in is no exception. In magazines, on television, the silver screen, and the internet, the spotlight is pointed at people who seem to have no flaws. The current focus on fairness may prove to help somewhat in the future, but let’s face it—beauty usually wins out.
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It’s hard not to notice people who are especially good looking—who have it all put together. But, what if you’re not that? What if you just never were and never will be? What does that make you?
From a physical standpoint, people who are beautiful when they are young—are bound to ‘age’ in time. What happens then? How does a person keep their position as one of the beautiful ones when time takes its toll?
If you’ve been through a lot of stuff like depression and dependency…that takes a toll, too. My hair started turning gray when I was seventeen. By the time I was thirty, I was more than half gray and within a few years after that, my hair was white. For quite a few years, I made it slightly yellow, but now it’s actually quite white. I get compliments about my white hair and I like to say I earned every one of them—which is true.
Trials do take a toll, and as you look in the mirror, you might not like what you see. If you’re like me—you see every line and shadow as though you’re looking through a magnifying glass. I recently had to have some extensive dental work done and am still having a little trouble not wondering what’s going to ‘go’ next.
It’s hard to imagine that God intended for our bodies to age and wear out. Don’t you wonder sometimes why that should have to happen? Because sin entered into the world with Adam and Eve, we have to deal with a lot of things that might have been different otherwise—but God’s original plan was for living creatures to multiply—so there would have to come a point in time when the planet would become overpopulated, if He hadn’t originally intended that we’d eventually ‘give up the ghost’.
I remember my grandmother saying when she was in her eighties that she still felt like a ‘young girl’ inside. I liked hearing that…and I’m beginning to understand what she was talking about more and more.
I am learning to take comfort in some of the things that have happened to my body as a result of stuff I’ve been through. For one thing, I know I’m not alone. I’ve learned to recognize certain characteristics in other people that offer little clues about where they’ve come from and what they’ve been through. I guess it’s one of the beautiful things about growing older and becoming able to face some of the consequences that accompany a history of depression and dependency. When you reach a point where you’re not so caught up in yourself—you begin to see new things to appreciate in people you can relate to.
I am a faithful believer in sunscreen and moisturizers and I use them morning and night every single day. My husband and I have taken up kayaking. We go out on the water regularly and are purposely trying to stay as strong as possible while we can. I won’t stop trying to hold off the clock, but I know it’s inevitable—we’re all getting older every day we live.
There are other kinds of beauty to embrace when the physical kind is fading—or maybe was never quite there anyway. There is the beauty of being—or becoming a person who truly cares about others. A person who is all wrapped up in their ‘self’ gives very little thought toward those who are hurting or lonely. When you are in a place of pain and isolation, and someone takes a personal interest in you—you see that person as beautiful, no matter what they look like.
I remember the revelation of reading ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’, by Margery Williams, to my children when they were young. It was a profound experience to grasp the concept in the story. In a nutshell, the stuffed rabbit becomes ‘real’ at the end of the story because he was loved and worn out by the boy he was given to.
In this life—we become ‘real’ when we get past the superficial part of life…the things that don’t last. Experience does take a toll. Heartache takes a toll…and so does every kind of pain we go through. But each time some of the surface is chipped away—a little more of the person underneath emerges…until we are completely ‘real’. The ignorant and inexperienced can keep ‘beautiful’…I’ll take ‘real’.
Declaration: I will find new strength by embracing ‘real’.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.