Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beyond the Mirror

Most women I know who have sworn off cosmetics have done it for altruistic reasons- fasting from vanity and chemicals, or protesting animal testing. Not me. A couple months ago I stopped wearing makeup precisely for vanity's sake. I haven't sworn it off for good, or even for the week, but it occurred to me that I sleep on this face and the skin isn't getting any more elastic, so maybe I should save my eyelids from sagging and give up eye shadow. Not to mention the money I save on not buying the stuff. So, in reality, I'm just cheap.

But I almost didn't make it. I didn't usually wear a ton of make up, but still. Every single time I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I'd groan a little. There's the woman who gave up. I had lots of friends who go sans makeup, and never once had I thought that about them, but this was my face. I'd depart the mirror only to look again later and be reminded of what my face actually looks like.

I probably sound shallow. I didn't lose sleep over it, but it is an uncomfortable thing to forget what you look like. To get used to being "just you." No frills. Plain old you.

And plain old me has been reading a lot about being uncomfortable lately. My walk through the Bible had me reading through Exodus and Leviticus recently. The last couple days especially have been heavy on the laws and the sacrifices. I'd hate to be the priest on mildew and body sore duty.

Clean, unclean. Over and over. Sacrifices. Atonement. Offerings. I couldn't read it without thinking, I'd be unclean all the time! Seriously, those were busy priests sacrificing and making offerings day in and day out for people like me who fall short. Were there standing appointments I wonder? See you this time tomorrow, Aaron! On a daily basis, God's people got a long look in the mirror at themselves. No frills. Unclean.

But the craziest part of it all was that God stayed with them. These unclean people who would just as soon return to slavery or be absorbed into pagan life- God sat in the midst of them. These rules and regulations seemed a bit much until you got a glimpse of the Most Holy God making camp with them.

For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. 
You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Leviticus 11:45

40 years in the desert and 40 days of Lent are not just cute symbolism. These days we look in the scriptural mirror and get a good glimpse of our fallen state. No sacrifices we offer could atone for the wrongs we have done. No measures taken on our part could bring about healing and holiness in our lives.

But it goes beyond that.

It compels us to look beyond our unclean selves into the presence of the Holy God that delivered us from slavery and makes camp in our lives.

Because He chose us.

Because He loves us.

Because sacrifice must be made so we and God can live together.

And that is exactly what He did.

Praying for you, Dear Friends, as you travel in the wilderness this Lent. I pray you see beyond your shortcomings and sinfulness to the God who abides with you and within you. He is so faithful. So so faithful.

Linking up today with simply wonderful Simply Beth. Check her blog out- you'll just love her :)