Picture Perfect Worth

picture perfect

HOLLY MACKLE|CONTRIBUTOR

I have a very prominent nose.

It’s a recognizable nose, as in, you can spot it at 100 yards in profile.

Yes, it used to bother me, and yes, I kind of like it now. {I don’t know what is happening to me as I age but I sure could have used a bit of this in the mid-90’s. I also could have used the knowledge that a romper for school pictures is a regrettable decision, but who wants to dredge up the past.}

Let’s just say I’m learning to embrace my nose.

This nose and I have a long and marred photographic history. Truth is, until I see myself in a pic I kind of forget about it.

But I want to teach my daughters one very specific four-pronged lesson about beauty and it’s this:

  1. God makes beauty.
  2. God made you exactly as he saw fit.
  3. Therefore you are beautiful. Period.
  4. Now go and treat others like you believe it about both of you.

There is a photograph of my girls up on the wall in my office. I remember the circumstances of the day as if it were yesterday: we were all in our pj’s, messy hair, stains of unknown origin on my yoga pants, filling time until daddy got home. I decided to get out the camera because the lighting in the den was just so. In the moment I remember thinking, “These are just for fun because we look gross.” Me, with my message of the beauty of how God sees us, I almost didn’t take the shot based on our appearance. I almost missed it. It hangs in my office as one of my most treasured possessions and I almost missed it.

These realizations almost always take me to a place of shame. How often has this happened? How much have I missed out on? And now, much more painfully, have I inadvertently transferred this message to my girls? I open the door right on up and say, “Hey, Satan, come on in and have a seat. Can I get you a Cherry Coke?”

That Door Ain’t Opening

By grace I refuse to open the door; I refuse to enter the spiral. I repent of wrong thinking, believe once again my own soapbox about beauty—even in myself—and move forward, asking for the grace to be different the next time this touchy topic comes up. I want my girls to have lots of pictures with me in them. I want them to have a mama with a healthy view of who she is based on how God made her, and I want to lead them along the complicated path toward womanhood with the dignity of an image bearer of the One True King.

How many times have I been there with women I love as the camera comes out and the excuses do too. “Oh, I don’t want to be in this one, y’all go ahead.” It’s a choice, based on temporal circumstances like weight, outfit, hairstyle, you name it…things all of these women would likely say didn’t matter about others. But somehow they matter enough to keep them out of the memory. Sisters: when we say no to a picture what we’re really saying is, “Don’t remember I was here.” This is far deeper than body image. This is presence, contribution, connection in friendship, family identity. This is saying no to our heart’s deep desires based on extra pounds or regrettable bangs. This is agreeing with Satan that we can’t possibly be an image bearer of the One True King.

Ick.

Christ’s Beauty is Mine

What does repentance look like here? Mine looks like believing 2 Corinthians 3:15-18 is true about me. “Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”

Christ’s beauty…not my own…but mine in Christ.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

God looks toward me and sees the one who stands between us, the Perfect One, unmarred with any blemish save for the scars of love. I want to see me the way God sees me, too. Covered, surrounded, sheltered, and enveloped in Christ’s mighty love—that’s the only safe spot from which to decide whether or not to get in a picture.

There’s another picture in my husband’s office. It’s just me, in a posed school pic from a year I taught Spanish. I remember the day it showed up in my box in the teacher workroom. I laughed and thought why did I wear that and what’s with the funky thing my hair is doing? David loved it and it’s been in his office ever since. That picture is almost ten years old, and guess what, now when I look at it all I think is gosh, look how young I look.

So, here’s my point: sometimes giving yourself grace looks like getting in the picture, acknowledging your created-ness, keeping your eyes on the moment and the future moment of memory…embracing the flaws. It’s a safe spot from which to make a decision. Jump in the picture, friends. But if we’re racing to get there, prepare for me to beat you by a nose.

Mackle

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