Jump directly to the content
What I Saw When I Gave Up Mirrors for Lentmalomalverde / Flickr

What I Saw When I Gave Up Mirrors for Lent


Mar 24 2014
A reflection on fasting from my reflection.

I haven't looked in a mirror since March 5, the day my pastor thumbed a black ashen cross on my forehead. I won't look at myself again until the trumpets sound under my country church steeple on Easter morning.

I gave up my reflection for Lent because I'm tired. I'm tired of the self-degradation that we engage in as women. We tell ourselves that we're not enough—or let our bathroom scales tell us that we're too much. I'm tired of how we, as women, often see ourselves and each other as a series of parts and "thigh gaps," or lack thereof. I'm tired of the photoshopping and the airbrushing, and yet, I am guilty. I deftly wield Instagram's Amaro filter to magically take five years off my face.

I'm tired of being a hypocrite in front of my daughters. At ages 12 and 9, they're now are old enough to know when I'm talking a good game and when I'm actually living what I believe. Children are mighty fine accountability partners. They are also mirrors themselves, reflecting what they see in their parents.

We've all seen news reports of the studies about preteen girls and their eating disorders. Nearly 80 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being overweight, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. We're quick to point an accusing finger at the glossy covers on magazine stands. But what are we modeling in front of our own mirrors while our children watch? I wonder how many times our children see us suck in our post-baby guts, scowl at our reflections, run away from cameras, or shake our heads in disbelief when someone pays us a compliment.

As Christian parents, we are the main (or at least the first) influencers in guiding our children into having a positive self-image and developing a healthy understanding of their identity in Christ—loved and accepted, as is. But now—perhaps more than ever in human history—we are being bombarded with opportunities for literal self-reflection.

Image-based social media sites "force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before," said Dr. Edward Farrior, president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. "These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests, and employers, and our patients want to put their best face forward."

(Farrior's organization found our selfies are encouraging more people to go under the knife. One in three facial plastic surgeons saw an "increase in requests for surgery due to [patients] being more self-aware of looks in social media.")

Related Topics:Body Image; Lent

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
The Benefits of Having Other People Raise Your Kids

The Benefits of Having Other People Raise Your Kids

Why doing it all alone isn’t the best (or most biblical) parenting strategy.
What to Do When You Don’t Know a Family’s Immigration Status

What to Do When You Don’t Know a Family’s Immigration Status

Amid the confusion over immigration laws, here are five things you should know.
Christine Caine: Would God Give Me Ministry and Marriage?

Christine Caine: Would God Give Me Ministry and Marriage?

How God multiplies our loves and passions.
The Christian Editor Behind the South's Sweetest Wedding Mag

The Christian Editor Behind the South's Sweetest Wedding Mag

Talking perfectionism, marriage, and faith with entrepreneur and new author Lara Casey.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Not All Vulnerability Is Brave

We don’t have to expose our deepest secrets with every speech and blog post.

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
What I Saw When I Gave Up Mirrors for Lent