Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beautiful

As I put on my makeup this morning, I peered into the mirror with disdain: My pores. They were just so large. I've struggled with my skin since I was a teenager, resorting in high school to painfully drying Retin-A creams and various other potions. Things have been better since then, naturally, but I still experience what I consider to be unfairly frequent breakouts. I look gross, I thought.

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Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20a
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Earlier this week I had lunch with a good friend who happens to be objectively stunning: Blond and thin with gorgeous features, always stylishly dressed. We lamented the state of our midsections following our respective Cesarean births, wondering whether our bodies would ever be quite the same again. I can't speak for my friend, but I know I was focused not on the miraculous way my body had carried and nourished an entire new person, but on the pouch that now makes its way over the top of my low-ish cut jeans.

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Thank Heaven--literally--that the lesson in my Bible study this week was about cultivating inner beauty and seeing ourselves the way God sees us. How many times do I need to be reminded that external beauty is fleeting before I will stop obsessing over it? Why is it so much easier to see myself through the lens of a beauty industry that wants me to focus on my flaws--and buy their products to "fix" myself--than it is to remember that I am a precious, beloved daughter of the King of the universe?

I think of how I love Nate, and how I want him to view himself as he grows up. I don't want him to be prideful, of course, but I wish for him a quiet confidence and the sure knowledge that he is loved and treasured. How much more than any earthly parent does our heavenly Father love us and want us to feel certain of that love? How much more hurt must God be than any other father or mother when we turn our noses up in disgust at our faces and our bodies--the very faces and bodies that He created especially for us?

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Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather, he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honour since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. Catechism of the Catholic Church 364.
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May we ignore the voices that tell us we aren't good enough or pretty enough or thin enough or young enough. May we all look in the mirror and see instead the beauty of God's creation, giving thanks for our perfectly imperfect bodies--pores and pouches and all.

2 comments:

Brooke said...

Thanks for posting this, Lauren. A good reminder of what is truly important. I especially liked that you brought to my attention that I need to remember how "beautiful" it was to carry my baby! You're a sweet friend. Thanks for your example.

perennial-mommy said...

yes, we all need to remember these precious truths...especially after three c-sections :) Love you, beautiful friend!