How has the last year been? We are in mid-November with less than eight weeks to the end of the year. What have you learnt? What has changed? What are you thinking about carrying on with you or what are you leaving behind?
Watching myself in the mirror is an important part of my daily self-care routine. It all started a while back when I was challenged by my coach to really see myself but that is a story for another day. Every morning as I get ready, I do my hair and makeup in a small mirror facing the natural light then I go to a full-length mirror. Why? I want to see how it all works including my shoes.
I look at all aspects and when I am happy with the look, I find my smile is natural and it grows as I watch myself. At first I thought it was vanity to look at myself carefully until I saw how it changed my perception of self and my view of God. The most intense realisation was I had never noticed how big my smile gets when I am happy or how cheeky it is when I am laughing. In time, I learnt to tell what my smile looks like without looking into a mirror. I could be in a conversation and know that my smile is in full bloom, or it is just small and the impact that has on people. I noticed how much larger my smile is than some people around me just because of the shape of my face and how my features complement each other. I realised that God had been very deliberate when He put me together and I could no longer doubt that I was enough.
I can imagine the joy in God’s heart as He created each of us
Psalms 139 reminds us that He formed us deliberately in our mother’s wombs, that nothing of us was hidden from Him and He saw the full substance of us unformed making us as we were the only ones. How then could I think that this really full 200-watt smile was too much? Why would I hide my full-on belly laugh? Why would I doubt that He made me beautiful? I would be lying if I said it was always easy to look at myself in love and appreciate God’s goodness but in time, it has transformed as I have spent time really looking at God’s creation aka me and learning the intricacies of it.
It all changes when you realise that God created you among all the things, He called you beautiful. It all shifts when you realise that you are made in His image and likeness, designed to bring Him glory and honour. It transforms you when you realise you are His image, created to represent him on earth. As I settled into this reality, a quietness settled on my heart and began healing the years of self-doubt and unbelief, starting a process of many more smiles and laughter than ever before.
Smiles are a temperature gauge in my life.
When I think of God’s goodness to me, I smile. When I remember He knit me by hand, I smile. When I remember I am His beloved, I smile. When I remember He calls me beautiful, I smile. I smile because I am loved, I am forgiven, I am the apple of His eye, I am written on the palm of His hand. I smile because when He thinks about me, He smiles and speaks life to me. I smile because I realise I am His image and likeness and nothing can separate me from Him or His love.
When you see me smile or laugh, it is because I now know whose I am and how deeply I am loved. I laugh loud because I am growing in His love. I have peace because I know that every circumstance is geared to make me more like He saw me when He made me. I carry smiles and peace because they are made available by my Father in Heaven.
Child of God, look in the mirror and see God mirrored in you then SMILE.
When was the last time you said thank you to yourself?
Sounds strange right? It is important because you are the first voice your mind and body hear every day and the one voice it hears every day for the duration of your life.
Sometimes all we have to do is really listen to ourselves. As I was walking this week, I had several opportunities to listen to what I say to myself when tired or in a challenging phase of the 5k. Some of my routes are very dusty and along main roads, others are gravel and a little stony so it takes focus to remain at a steady pace.
One day as I listened to my inner conversation, I heard the frustration about the environment coming out in my thoughts and it amazed me. It felt as if I was under a rain cloud that was moving with me keeping me drenched and tired. The beauty of life is that what we have coded into our minds comes to our aid and for sure help came in a flash.
The word strolled into the room and tapped me on the shoulder, Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Can you imagine the reality that hit me that day? It was clear that I must be intentional about my thoughts, more aware of what I am saying to myself and the root of it. I have to be in a consistent state of consciousness, watching what I say to myself and to others because it affects everything around me. But let’s take it further. I asked myself, “What would happen if I chose an attitude of gratitude towards myself?” This means that I look at what is going on around me and appreciate what has worked, every effort made to move forward and lessons learnt on the way.
So I chose to try to think about it differently.
Remember the question of when was the last time you said thank you to yourself? That was my starting line. I didn’t ask to be born but God designed me in his heart and mind then answered my parents’ prayer for a child with me. He knew that I was well designed and would be perfectly prepared for life by being placed in that home with all its intricacies, including the dramatic segments. I do not pretend to understand why some family situations are so difficult but I have learnt that when I phrase how I see my life from the perspective of how it will give me tools and strength for the future, it has given me the tools I need to thrive, it changed the whole conversation for good.
So I purposed to say thank you to myself.
Thank you for what you ask? Everything. Don’t we say thanks to people who help us, visit us, answer a question, make an effort, or anything else? Why is it so hard to be grateful to ourselves for the same? Why is it odd? Every morning it takes a certain mindset to get up, put on my gear and go out, I am grateful. It takes a clear choice to set the health app on 5km and choose the course and when for some reason it resets itself before the distance is covered like it did today, it takes a clear choice to do a second set to attain the course. It takes a certain measure of strength to go through every day and accomplish the goals set. It takes great effort and focus to raise children and support your family, be grateful. There is something to be grateful about every day so take time to appreciate yourself no matter what.
As I have been consciously grateful to myself for showing up and working on myself and the things on my plate, my inner strength has increased. It hasn’t totally negated the times I get disappointed when I don’t reach the mark but it has shifted how long I am upset and angry with myself for ‘failing’. It has allowed me to extend grace to myself and become a better person in the process.
Try it today and let me know if it changes something for you.