You probably know the drill as well as I do, the I-hate-the-way-I-look attitude combined with the I’m-running-late anxiety, with a little bit of everyone-else-looks-so-cute jealousy thrown in for good measure. You’re in the middle of your mascara routine, and it occurs to you that nothing about your appearance is playing out according to plan.
The dress you wanted to wear is at the bottom of the laundry basket. You dropped your favorite eye shadow pallet, sprinkling the bathroom floor with $11 worth of shimmery powder. You had high hopes that your hair would finally, just maybe, hold some curl today; instead it’s got this half-wavy, mostly frizzy thing going on, and there’s just no stopping it.
So you arrive to your destination, your friends greet you, and this distinctive, despairing wail comes gushing from the depths of your heart: “Guys, do I look okay?!”
“You look fine!” they all reply.
“You all look so cute! I look awful,” is the natural response.
I write from experience. Time-and-time-again. That makes me a veteran of this routine. I’m even plagued by a specific dream, well nightmare, where I’m scrambling to find something—anything—in my closet to wear so I can arrive to my destination on time. It takes me hours to get ready, and I’m rendered a wreck. Thankfully, I wake up from that disaster, but the anxiety lingers.
Maybe you can relate to locking yourself in the bathroom on the verge of a dramatic and tear-filled meltdown because you are vehemently displeased with your appearance. Mascara runs down your cheeks, and the entire contents of your closet might as well be on your floor. Or maybe you relate to the feeling of never measuring up, no matter how cute your hair and clothes are.
We all experience these getting-ready woes at one point or another, right?
With every gaze into the mirror, your insecurity builds, and you leave the bathroom with heightened self-loathing. I hate the way I look.
You and I both know that’s the wrong perspective to have—but in the moment, we can’t seem to shake the feeling, and we carry it with us wherever we go.
It’s time for a strong dose of the stuff that truly matters.
You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
Do you remember the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from Annie? That show tune was a childhood favorite of mine, but recently it’s turned into a mantra of sorts that gives me perspective when I’m looking in the mirror.
Usually somewhere between applying eyeliner and running a straightener through my hair, the lyrics play through my mind:
It’s what you wear from ear to ear
And not from head to toe
Of course, our clothes do matter, because modesty is always the God-honoring choice. But it isn’t my clothes or makeup that matter most, but my attitude—my heart. My smile.
Wherever I’m going, by God’s grace, I want to remember the thing that matters above all, to the people I’m encountering and to our Father in heaven, is how I communicate with my words, attitudes, and actions.
She is clothed with strength and dignity (Prov. 31:25 NIV)
Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious (1 Peter 3:4)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:22–23).
I’m never fully dressed without a smile, a cheerful heart, a joyful spirit, an others-focused state of mind. Neither are you.
I’m never fully dressed without a smile, a cheerful heart, a joyful spirit, an others-focused state of mind.
Consider what happens when we get wrapped up by insecurities or swept away in a meltdown when things go awry. More often than not, we arrive to an event, gathering, or coffee date in a frazzled, tempestuous mood.
We’re consumed with self, and we become life-drainers rather than life-givers:
- We’re self-focused clouds that rain on the parade.
- Like Oscar the Grouch, we drag our nasty trash can into someone’s space and spread the stench of our bad mood.
- We pass up opportunities for fun and memories.
- Worst of all, we beg for attention and affirmation when our confidence is really meant to be rooted in Christ.
There’s a common thread linking these negative outcomes of frustration and insecurity: a prideful focus on self.
So how do we turn our focus from inward self-service to outward love as we look in the mirror? The answer isn’t found in turning a frown upside down, but in the good stuff—the eternal, truth-filled stuff—in God Himself.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:3–7).
We need a big view of Him. A grand, awe-inspiring view of His mighty power, love, mercy, and sovereignty. As we understand more of Him, we begin to get a glimpse of the big picture, the redemptive story of the gospel. And our concerns about makeup grow smaller and dimmer.
He can show us how to put on humility, love, joy, and a smile for His great glory.
When we’re most concerned with God’s glory, we learn humility—how to set aside our worries about our appearance in order to focus on the good of others. Our insecurities may fight back, tooth and nail. But by God’s grace, as we look into that mirror, He can show us how to put on humility, love, joy, and a smile for His great glory, even when you feel like the pits.
The next time you’re getting ready and you feel the frustrations and insecurities bubbling up, what will you do to remind yourself of God’s truth? You’re never fully dressed without a smile that shares the love of Christ!