. IF I WERE A CROCODILE……
'Tis the season of beauty tips. Fashion magazines from Seventeen to Vogue publish their thickest issues each August chock full of “New Looks for Fall” and “Back to School Beauty”. Although, I have to admit I love a sneak peek at the latest trends and can’t wait for it to be chilly enough to sport the black jacket I got in the leather markets of Florence this summer, I also know the kind of beauty magazines promote is only skin deep. True beauty is found within, and so I went on a quest to find how others find true beauty within themselves.
One of the beauties of social networking is you can poll a large sample of people in a short amount of time. To find the answer to my question, last week I ran a contest on my Facebook and Twitter pages asking fans to tell me how they remind themselves they are beautiful. I got a wide range of responses from -- people blowing themselves kisses in the mirror before they leave their house to answers of despair from people who struggle to recognize their beauty. But of all the responses I got, Wiem from Tunisia’s, words struck me the most. So, congratulations, Wiem, who will receive a free copy of my book, Skinny, which deals with eating disorders and positive self image. Here’s her winning entry:
“Every time I look in the mirror I smile. I feel the secret of one’s true beauty springs from one’s smile. It might seem as a simple physical act, but the impact it brings to me is huge. Even when I speak, I know that when I smile, I just look good. Each time those lips widen, I know my heart is filled with their warmness and comforted that I still have a beautiful life ahead of me.” Wiem Melki
Perhaps it’s because she started with a phrase about looking in the mirror. Anyone who has heard me speak knows I love to challenge people, “Who do you see when you look in the mirror?” Maybe it’s because she ended with a message of hope for what’s to come. But I think the real reason Wiem’s words impacted me was that each and every one of us has a smile. Whether we are male or female, rich or poor, young or old, God gave us a smile when He created us.
I’m reminded of the song, “If I Were a Butterfly”. The eighth graders’ at my kids’ school perform this song in front of all the students on the last week of school each year. One of the verses goes, “If I were a crocodile, I’d thank you God for my great smile. But, I just thank you Father for making me me.” And I guess that sums it up. God gave us our smiles – a peek into our inner light and inner joy that He put in us when He created us. Our smiles are a way to project all that is good and happy and hopeful within us to others we meet. What could be more beautiful?
And crocodile, or not, God did make me me, and you you, just the way He intended. Because He made us, we are beautiful and there’s not anyone or anything that can tell us otherwise.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Romans 12:6 So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other or trying to be something we aren’t.
Laura L. Smith