I flipped through channels the other day, landing on this inane show about who looked good in swimsuits and who did not.
They profiled an older lady who wore a bikini. When they showed a shot of her backside, the trendy hosts went OFF on her. Words like, “She better hide all that flubber.” or “She has no right to be in public like that.”
While I understand the importance of covering ourselves modestly (of course), it was the banter of these airbrushed people that horrified me. The woman’s worth had everything to do with how she looked. And since she had cellulite, she was not worthy.
I flipped away.
But then all those words flooded through me.
I have flab. I have cellulite where there didn’t use to be any. I’m not the same Mary I was at 20. I went down the woe-is-me, how-ugly-I-am trail for a few minutes before I told myself to stop. Then the question came to me: What if all we had was skin deep?
I knew a woman once who lived only for how she looked (and she was in ministry). As she aged and changed, I noticed fear and worry melt into her. She would not always be beautiful on the outside. As her “beauty” slipped away, panic set in.
I’ve had moments like those.
Sometimes I worry that I’ll be disfigured in an awful accident as penance for worrying about how I look. I’m crazy that way. But when I settle myself and pray, I realize this central truth: My beauty is what’s inside.
And my goal is not to race to prevent aging. Or wallow in pity as my body shifts. Or worry about how long I can wear certain swimsuits. My goal is to allow Jesus to beautify my soul, my heart, my inner life. No one, not even age, can rob me of that. And it’s a beauty that can only grow, by God’s grace.
I thank God this is not all there is. Because of the laws of entropy, everyone will get old and die. Things will sag. But our souls will live forever. Why not work on the beauty of the soul, hoping to live for that which is deeper than the skin?