Friday, October 8, 2010

Not as young as I used to be...

A few months ago, right after I celebrated my 35th birthday, I started noticing some unmistakable signs of my age starting to show on my formerly youthful face.  At the risk of sounding like an “Oil of Olay” commercial, I saw some fine lines developing near the corners of my eyes and my skin tone was showing evidence of over-exposure to the Florida sunshine.  I started paying more attention to my nightly beauty routine and slathered on moisturizer throughout the day.  Still, every time I found myself peering into a mirror I would get right up close to scrutinize the development of the aging process.  I have found myself getting more and more depressed about it over the last few months.  The other day, I was in the bathroom washing my hands and lamenting in my mind the flaws I just couldn’t avoid noticing all over my face- the deepening lines (were they becoming actual wrinkles?), the sun spots on my forehead and cheeks (wasn’t there anything I could do to make them fade?), the dark circles under my eyes (did the skin there look more saggy than yesterday?).  I talked myself into quite a crabby mood over the whole thing only to emerge from the bathroom and enter the kitchen to the smiling face of my wonderful husband.  Maybe he was only be kind, maybe he was just trying to tell me what he thought I wanted to hear but he looked at me and said, “You look really good today.”  Now, there was no way he could have known what I had been thinking just seconds before but in my depressed state of mind I answered in rather a grumpy way, “I don’t know what you are seeing when you look at me but it certainly isn’t the same things I am seeing!”
    Ah, how wise I was in my cranky, negative observation.  Of course, Tim and I were not seeing the same things.  I had gotten so used to getting up close to my reflection and focusing all my attention on the flaws.  He had the perspective to see the big picture, so to speak.  I saw only signs of age, yet somehow, Tim was able to look at me and see something totally different  Where I saw only a face full of wrinkles, bags, and splotches he noticed my good hair day and the jeans I pulled out of the back of the closet that still fit even after having 5 kids.  I felt old and frumpy, yet, he still saw me as the lovable woman he married. 
    It is an easy trap to fall into, looking only at the bad and failing to see the good.  And I have found, it can happen to us as we look at our lives as well as when we look at our faces.  It is so easy for us, as humans, to get so wrapped up in our problems we can sometimes see only the struggles in life.  It can be so easy to get discouraged by our weaknesses and failures that we lose sight of the strengths and talents God has given us.   I sometimes even find myself wondering if God is disappointed in me all the time, as I continue to commit the same sins over and over.   But, God has a different perspective.  He always sees the big picture, and though He can surely look straight into our hearts, He never inspects us looking for faults.  He sees us as the beloved creations we are, formed by His hand, in His own image and likeness, out of love. 
    My revelation has caused me to take a little step back in life.  I stood back farther from the mirror as I fixed my hair this morning and things weren’t quite as bad as I had thought.  I do look a little older than I used to, but I suppose that is unavoidable.  I will not be looking into plastic surgery, botox treatments, or laser therapies.  First of all, because I do not want to admit to being that vain, and, second of all, because our budget will never be able to accommodate such things.  So, instead I will try to focus on the positives and keep my aging skin in perspective.  And, of course, thank God for my wonderful husband who fortunately for me, has really bad eyesight and a really big heart.

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