While this post is not about cancer, it is obvious that I am currently going through treatment for cancer, thus the bald head. But being freed from my favorite head covering has taught me something I have been missing. Maybe it is something that you have been missing too.
I suddenly realize that my whole life I have been deceiving myself when looking in the mirror. I was convinced that when looking in the mirror it was important for me to play a sort of game of "find the flaws". You see, as soon as I step in front of the glass, my eyes feel like they cannot rest until I have pointed out to myself at least one or two physical flaws. Then I can move on to address whatever else I see. But unfortunately it's a bit like that game "whack a mole"...it's hard to stop with just one. I could find one flaw, then another and another. Until many times I had to walk away from the mirror just to get it to stop. Now when I look in the mirror there is no more game. The flaw is all too obvious, NO hair! Suddenly I am free from the search to find the flaws...now I look in the mirror and see something entirely different. Suddenly it is easier to like what I see despite the fact that my reflection is obviously less than perfect.
Does it seem like society instills the desire for women to point out what is wrong with themselves physically? Think about how many times a day we are bombarded by advertisements for creams to make us look younger, to surgeries to sculpt and mold faces into something different, to the billions of dollars spent every year convincing us to buy in to the latest diet schemes. What is so wrong with what God gave us in the first place? From the time we are young we see perfected images of beauty in magazines, in movies and television; images that are nearly impossible to achieve in real life. We hear critiques of what people wear, and their shape and then completely ignore their actions or what comes out of their mouths.
For the past five years I have had the fortune of working with the young women (girls 12-18) in our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Nearly every week for these past five years I have stood with our young women and said the following words, "We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him..." Many times I have tried to think about that phrase and what it really means, it is easy to apply those words to the young women. In my mind they are absolutely daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves them. As for myself I felt like those words mostly apply... except for again...when I am looking at myself physically or spiritually and noticing all my flaws. But those flaws don't really matter do they? God loves me despite all the flaws I notice and even the ones I don't notice. His love is not conditional nor is my status as His spirit daughter. I am always the daughter of the King of Kings and so are you!
In the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "It is good to remember that you are always a child of God. This knowledge will carry you through the most difficult times in your life and will inspire you to accomplish remarkable things. However, it is also important to remember that being a daughter of eternal parents is not a distinction you earned or you will ever lose. You will always and forever remain a daughter of God. Your Heavenly Father has high aspirations for you, but your divine origin does not guarantee you a divine inheritance. God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine."
You and I are here to prepare for a future "greater than anything you can imagine". You and I and all of us have potential beyond what we can conceive. So, as we begin a new year and the stores are rolling out all of the new fitness equipment and clothing and creams, let's make a commitment to have a change of heart. Instead noticing more flaws, and making goals to change the way we look physically, let's choose to accept who we are and the way we look now. It doesn't take any special equipment or products, just a brief moment spent in the mirror every morning choosing to like what we see and accept who we are. To accept ourselves the way God already accepts us.
I love what Elder Uchtdorf says next, "Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe? He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become."