Bleary-eye and pre-coffee, I stumbled into my bathroom and took a gander in the mirror. YIKES! All I could see were bags beneath my eyes and sags where I used to be perky. I heaved a weary sigh and shook my head in resignation. If only I were blonder. Skinnier. Younger. Sexier. I grunted a morning hello to my drowsy husband Roger.
He also checked out his disheveled, thinning hair, poochy belly and slightly pruny face. Instantly be grinned a winning smile and chirped, “Now there’s a handsome man!”
Unbelievable! How could two people have such disparate views of themselves?
Actually, I wasn’t too bad looking in my prime. I was pretty cute. But I gazed at my blonde, Barbie-shaped sister Kathy and wished that the gene pool had dealt me a better hand. God had B-listed me and I wasn’t happy about it.
Most women hate the way they look. And the media doesn’t help. Emaciated, re-touched photos of teen-aged or twenty-something starlets remind us all that we are below average, chubby or just plain homely.
The American Health Organization commissioned a Gallup poll survey to evaluate the average woman’s self-image. In a large group of test subjects, women had some surprising answers. Gallup asked, “If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?”
These were Gallup’s findings: most women wanted to be two to four dress sizes smaller, at least one inch taller, eleven pounds lighter, good muscle tone, curly blonde hair and bronzed, sun-tanned bodies.
48% wanted to cover signs of aging, 37% wanted to change their teeth, 34% wanted more shapely legs, 18% wanted smaller feet.
When men were polled and asked what they would change, most answered, “Absolutely nothing!” (Well, not really). But from the results of the survey, men are either more self-satisfied or natural slobs.
The young bride of the richest, wisest king in history, King Solomon, had a low self-esteem. How do we know? Listen to her first words in the love poem.
“I am weathered but still elegant, oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem, Weather-darkened like Kedar desert tents, time-softened like Solomon’s Temple hangings. Don’t look down on me because I’m dark, darkened by the sun’s harsh rays. My brothers ridiculed me and sent me to work in the fields. They made me care for the face of the earth, but I had no time to care for my own face.” Song of Songs 1:5-6. The Message
The shepherdess, the Shunammite woman who captured King Solomon’s heart was self-conscious-embarrassed of her swarthy skin and rough hands. If this stunning beauty had continued down her path of self-loathing, she would have missed the love of her life. But slowly, tenderly, Solomon praised her and declared his unconditional love and passion for his bride.
These are his racy, adoring words:
“You’re so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled. By your hair as it flows and shimmers, like a flock of goats in the distance streaming down a hillside in the sunshine. Your smile is generous and full—expressive and strong and clean. Your lips are jewel red, your mouth elegant and inviting, your veiled cheeks soft and radiant. The smooth, lithe lines of your neck command notice—all heads turn in awe and admiration! Your breasts are like fawns, twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers. “The sweet, fragrant curves of your body, the soft, spiced contours of your flesh. Invite me, and I come. I stay until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.
You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Solomon 4:1-7. NIV
Flocks of goats, shorn sheep? Farm animal analogies may not ring your bell. But Solomon was not messing around. He praised every part of His bride. He called her “beautiful beyond compare, ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS.” The Message
The exquisite poem between Solomon and his Shunammite is an allegory for the love letter Jesus is writing to you, His bride. He looks upon you with rapturous, passionate, adoring devoted love and affection. Don’t let curved mirrors of this world distort your beautiful reflection. Don’t let unrealistic expectations destroy your joy. Psalm 139:13-16 says that you are His Masterpiece. He loves you exactly you way you are. Every strand of your DNA was embroidered by the Master Artisan. He numbered the hairs of your head and the days of your life.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.”
“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.” Song of Songs 8:6-7 NIV
Christ’s love is as strong as death. His death. He made the ultimate sacrifice for you. So as you throw off the covers and slide your chilly toes out of bed onto the tile floor, tape Solomon’s love letter to your bathroom mirror. Stare at your reflection and remember, “You are beautiful, my love. There is no fault in you!”