I turned 37 this year. Being a blended family of eight, having six teenagers, sometimes you can feel a grey hair sprout just from being the passenger in the car that my daughter is driving. When I am out in the public with my family, at track meets or at a PTA meetings and I am introduced by our children as their mother, the response is always funny as well as flattering. Responses like, ”No, way…You look so young!” or “You look like a teenager yourself” and of course,  ”Did you have them when you were ten?” It never gets old. The funny thing is that I seem to look younger with each year passing instead of older.

But it wasn’t always that way.

With cosmetic surgery on the rise, over $1.6 billion spent on it last year alone, the mainstream media and airbrushed images on the cover of Cosmo will have you over-analyzing your image in the mirror. You think, “Maybe a quick lift here and a tuck there won’t hurt.” But the best youth serum out there is not cosmetic surgery nor is it “10  minute abs.”  It is the Holy Spirit…and it’s free.

Loving yourself is accepting your human condition; that we are flawed and imperfect but like a flower that needs soil to grow, you use those dirty things in life to push you through the dirt to get a taste of the sun.

Before I was saved, I was insecure and broken. I always wore dark clothing and make-up and I looked down when people talked to me. But since I gave my life to Christ, the transformation that has been going on in the inside has been working it’s way on the outside, like a ripple. I slowly became more confident, secure in my identity and began to have more joy in life. 

Once you begin to feel better on the inside, it will be apparent on the outside.

 From the way you walk, talk, dress and smile. I now look at my wardrobe and see a rainbow of pinks and yellows, my make-up is fresher and my smile is brighter. I cultivated the art of learning to love myself.

But don’t get me wrong. There is a big difference between vanity and loving yourself.

Vanity vs. Loving Yourself

Vanity is investing so much in yourself that you have no room for others. 

It is focusing merely on your surface by  exhausting all of your efforts on your hair, make-up, clothes, shoes and physical attributes. But that is limited to your surface. We see many examples on social media. Thousands of self-portraits of young women who have been programmed to believe that they are only as good as they appear to men. But God reminds us of the kind of beauty that He delights in as told in 1 Peter 3:4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” And then again in Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting.  But a woman who fears the LORD shall be praised. ”

Loving yourself  is accepting your human condition; that we are flawed and imperfect but like a flower that needs soil to grow,  you use those dirty things in life to push you through the dirt to get a taste of the sun.

 It is cultivating the beauty that flows from within by extending the same grace to yourself that Christ extends to you so that in turn, you may extend it to others. 

You cannot possibly give what you do not possess.

Loving yourself is also letting go of the need to be in control of every aspect of life and learning to just BE.

It is the difference between independence and dependence.

Independence vs. Dependence

In my new book called Independent No More that is releasing on Mother’s Day, Independence is defined as “relying on no one but yourself.”  That is such a sad way to live. 

When you attempt to control every aspect of your life, it will most definitely spill over in others lives and you will soon begin to try to control others.

 That is such a heavy burden to bare. The stress and anxiety will cause you to have health issues and age. Again, what is going on in the inside will eventually make it’s way on the outside.

Dependence is learning to put your complete trust in God and opening yourself up to Him and others as we are not our own.

 We were not created to carry the heavy burdens that God can. In attempting to do so, we throw ourselves into autopilot. Dependence is casting all of those cares, worries and anxieties to Him and leaving them there, trusting that He will intercede on our behalf. We can get burden with worries, that we forget to live in and embrace the moment. It is also opening yourself up to recieving help as well. That is circle and beauty of interpersonal relationships.

A huge part of transforming from independence to dependence on God is that you relax. 

Relaxation tends to bring your inner glow to the surface, like a co-worker just returning from a long vacation in the Carribbian. We may attempt to justify our need for control by looking at women in the bible like the Proverbs 31 woman and think, “Now there is an Independent Woman.” But no.  She was not an independent woman, she was a woman you could depend on.

One of the most beautiful stories of the glow that you recieve from God is the story of Moses after he came back down from Mount Sanai. “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.” Exodus 34:29

After Moses spoke to the LORD, his face was no longer burdened with his past. His face became radiant. It is the same glow that we recieve after we accept Christ by recieving the Holy Spirit. If that still does not convince you of the everlasting youth serum, refer to Psalms 34:5 where it tells us “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

Even though I am closing in on my thirties and entering my forties, I refuse to turn to Cosmo for beauty tips. I will look to HIM as His glory and majesty brings a glow upon my face that cannot be duplicated with cosmetic surgery, MAC or Oil of Olay.