Guest Post by Lindsay Martz Weaver
Lindsay is currently in a rural village in Tanzania working on a project with her husband Jeremy and World Vision. She is a woman who has faced fear to follow the passion God has put in her heart and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone talk about a mirror in such a profound way. We are honored to share her musings today. Check out more of her work on www.nevereatsoggywaffles.net
Last week I looked in the mirror… It’s a small, red, hand-held mirror I had purchased in the market after realizing it had been well over a week since I had looked in one. What?! But what if my hair was a mess all day last Monday, or what if I had a giant zit on my chin last Wednesday? Lets not even talk about the possibility of my eyebrows falling out of place.
I held the mirror up closely and looked at my eyes. It had been 2 months since I had worn any make-up.
My hair was up in its usual braid and I was still continuing to sprout the occasional white hair here ‘n there. I looked at what I was wearing. I was wearing the same thing I had been wearing for the past three days. It was still good for another day at least. It was decently clean if you looked past the few smudges of peanut butter on it from yesterdays breakfast. I took off my mismatched socks, looked down at my toes, and wiggled them. My two big toes were the only ones left with a few splashes of polish on them. I smiled at all of this because this is the most beautiful and content I’ve ever felt about myself.
This would not have been the case a few months ago. I would wake up and head straight to the mirror to see what last night’s rest brought me. I’d probably tell myself something like “eh, same old same ole” or “Good heavens girl, get some sun on those cheeks”. I would then proceed to attack every white hair I saw with a pair of tweezers. When picking out what I was going to wear for the day, it would need to be something I hadn’t worn for at least two weeks. To be honest my toes would probably look the same.
Taking a break to soak in all of the Serengeti
Why is it that I own my beauty here in bush Tanzania, but reject it when I’m back in the states? I’ve come to the conclusion that mirrors only reinforce what you think about yourself. You’re going to see what you CHOOSE to see. Women in general struggle with this. We are supposed to be perfectly coiffed, have the perfect hour glass figure, and stay up to date on current trends. If we don’t have all of the above then we buy it! Why? Who are we really trying to please?
WHO IS OUR MIRROR?
You see the real mirrors we carry or look into are people. Maybe your mirror is your co-workers, maybe its your peers, maybe its your spouse or significant other. Regardless of who it is, we all sub-consciously and sometimes willingly hand over our mirrors to someone else. We ask others what they see, and allow them to tell us who is the fairest of them all.
Since being here in Tanzania I’ve just stopped caring…
I’ve stopped handing my mirror out every day. To some that would be considered “letting herself go.” On the contrary. I’ve taken my mirror back. My mirror has become so precious to me. I used to hate seeing pictures of me without make-up on. Now I’m blasting them on facebook! I’m also surrounded by a culture that is more concerned with whether you have shoes on your feet, are warm enough, and have the parts of your body covered that need to be. Matching is not an issue. Make up is not an issue. Hair fixed perfectly everyday is not an issue. As a result I can put so much more focus on things that actually are an issue.
Some of the sweetest moments I’ve allowed myself to take in are when Jeremy shows me his mirror and how he sees me. In his mirror I see him smiling so big as I braid my hair and put on my peanut butter stained shirt. I also see him hurt when I see a beautiful woman walk by and I compare myself to her. I see him taking mascara out of my hand, throwing the high heels in the trash, and asking me to slow dance.
Our back yard, the Ngorogoro Crater
Almost 2 years ago I went through a life-changing workshop called True You (beyourtrueyou.org). Through that workshop I developed a contract for myself. I am a Virtuous woman. I pulled it from Proverbs 31:10-31 and my desire was to be that woman. But I realized I have always been that woman and I have found such value and worth in claiming it. Until recently I only thought it applied to my inner beauty. Not until my mirror-less experience here did I realize the richness of claiming it for my outer beauty as well.
When I return to the states I know old habits will want to creep in. I’m sure I’ll begin to put on make-up again and pluck or possibly dye a few white hairs. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about make-up, or wanting to look nice. Some of us have an artistic flare and we like to express it through the way we present ourselves. I encourage that. I also encourage everyone, male and female, to ask yourself who’s holding your mirror?
We were made in the image of God. Short, tall, frizzy hair, small chest, acne, big ears, knobby knees etc…. Whoever held your mirror and said, “change this about your body,” was only listening to whoever held THEIR mirror and told them to change. God designed us and we are B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! Psalms 139:13,14 “You made all the delicate parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous. How well I know it!”
Comment below on one way you will take back your mirror today!