Last Christmas I requested a new magnifying mirror. Applying mascara was becoming more challenging every day. A mirror with higher magnification would surely make my mornings less stressful.
So I thought. My daughter and son-in-law indulged my wish, and come Christmas morning, I was the proud owner of a mirror with ten power magnification. I set it up in our bathroom and flicked on the switch.
And then I said ick. Fine lines around my eyes became crevasses. Pores that I’d always considered a little on the large side became big enough to shelter a tortoise.
With my new mirror, the one I had asked for, I could avoid smears when I applied cosmetics, but I found myself brooding over the newly-discovered sorry condition of my skin. I spent more time than I would like to admit examining my complexion under the unforgiving enlarged view.
The skin may be the body’s largest organ, but it isn’t the one to inspect if you want to gauge beauty. I know this fact and I embrace it. So why am I so stuck on my skin? The shape of my heart is what matters, right? And there’s no mirror to reflect that.
Or is there?
I took my mirror on a trip, and the magnifying glass broke in transit. I ordered a new mirror, but I chose a lower magnification. Nothing good can come from studying my blown-up-ten-times face.
In fact, as I think of it, something bad comes from a preoccupation with my skin’s condition. My complexion is about as important as the dust jacket on a book. Time spent examining my face is time that isn’t spent on the stuff that matters.
I’d do better to focus on the health of my heart. Is it supple with joy and unblemished by fear? What do I see reflected in the faces of my family, my neighbors, my coworkers, the gardener blowing leaves out of the gutter? What do I hear when I ask God how my heart is?
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV)
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