This morning I had a small “pity party” for myself as I looked in the mirror. The side effects of my cancer treatments have taken a toll on my appearance. My head of hair is growing back, but very slowly- straight and dark gray- in uneven lengths. However, I have had an alarming growth of long downy hair in my eyebrows and on my face and neck. My nose has red blotches and is often runny. These truly are petty concerns, but they are real for me. Inside, I am feeling healthy and vibrant, but on the outside I look a bit unkempt and haggard.
But then I seemed to hear God telling me that I was beautiful. I am beautiful in God’s eyes simply because God created me and called me “good.” We all are. And as I reflected more on beauty, I knew in my heart that beauty is really found in such qualities as a loving and welcoming nature, a peaceful countenance, a gentle presence. Beauty is noticing God’s handiwork with a grateful, appreciative heart. It is letting God’s love radiate to others. It is focusing not on my flaws, but in making others feel good and beautiful about themselves. It is living the humble, healing, and helping ways of Christ, so genuinely that others won’t even notice my physical imperfections.
So, at least for now, I may be unable to do much about my side-effects, except to trim hairs and cover spots here and there. Instead, I can choose to ask for God’s help as I work on my inner beauty, praying that God’s generous love and Jesus’ incredible life will shine through this imperfect appearance.