Thursday, 7 February 2013
Mirror Mirror On The Wall Who Is The Fairest Of Them All?
What do you see when you look into the mirror? Over the years, I have spent a vast amount of time looking into the mirror. If I'm honest, most of the time, the purpose of the mirror is to feed my vanity - to make sure the world is seeing the person I want them to see. When I was growing up as a child, I hated the way that I looked; I was very fat. The story of the Ugly Duckling would feature a lot in my thoughts and I would hope that one day I would turn into a beautiful swan.
During my teenage years and at university, I spent my free time doing sport. I did karate and trampolining and I was good at it. I remember a switch in my thinking when I started to win competitions. Before, the goal was to exercise to get thin but now it had changed to making my body into a performing machine that was capable of winning and being the best of the best.
When I got cancer the first time round, my perception of body image changed drastically. My skin turned grey, my body shape changed, my fitness went down the toilet and I lost my hair. I distinctly remember looking at myself in the mirror and not recognising the reflection I saw. It was in that moment that I lost it and was completely distraught.
After the I recovered from the first bout of cancer, I began to work on my body again, I went back to the gym and decided I was going to get fit and lose my fat once and for all - I even got myself a personal trainer. Finally, I was starting to reach my goal of being thin and beautiful. But here we are again. Back in the same position I was three years ago. All that hard work, all that effort, all that self control wasted. It leaves me asking the question why did I bother?
Beauty. That is what I was striving for. In my mind, I had believed the lie that being thin made you beautiful. I learnt the hard way that what makes you beautiful is your identity, in my case, it is my identity in Christ which reveals beauty. The world we live in is very superficial and we judge people by the external. We are bombarded by images of "beautiful" people being successful. What we don't see is their internal suffering which destroys them and sometimes leads to suicide. What is the point having a beautiful exterior when you are rotting on the inside? Eventually, the rot on the inside will spread to the exterior.
My body is weak and fragile, but my soul is not. It is because of what Jesus has done that I know that I will live on. It does pain me to watch my body slowly decay, but yet I call this to mind; one day things will be different, one day there will be no more pain, suffering or death, there will be no more tears.