One of the many reasons I love coaching outdoors is because there are no mirrors or bathroom scales available. There are breezes and birds, sunshine, people – yes – but no mirrors in sight. For one hour a day, the athlete is free from the reminder that their body is less than absolutely beautiful.
Did you know that 80% of females would say they hate looking in the mirror? Even so, the average woman pauses to look in a mirror over twenty times a day! Teenage girls double that number, averaging about forty. times. a. day. Isn’t this crazy?
The habit of checking in on our physical appearance, an activity that most of us say we hate, seems to suggest the deepest level of self-consciousness, rather than straight-up vanity.
What is it, exactly, that we’re looking for in all those mirrors? Are we suffering such a collective identity crisis that we must check and re-check our reflection forty times a day to remember who we are? Why are we so dissatisfied?
There are lots of ways to skin this cat on spiritual and cultural levels, and while I have considerable opinions on the topic (yeah, big surprise), I will not share them all at this moment. But, there is one particular type of person that is so beautiful to me, and that it the struggling athlete.
Becoming an athlete means you take on the mantle of do-er rather than watch-er. At the end of the day, the struggling athlete has little choice but to appreciate, respect and quietly admire what her body can really do.
Might I respectfully suggest that it’s unlikely many of us stand in front of a mirror and marvel in admiration at our bodies? That’s because mirrors are man-made pieces of glass that can give no life or comfort. Mirrors reflect only the outer man, not the heart.
If you’ve read even one book of the Bible, you’ll understand that God’s deeply interested in all matters of the heart. It’s impossible for a mirror to reflect effort or attitude, perseverance, courage, sacrifice and joy. However, his living creatures – those created in God’s image – absolutely can. And it’s beautiful.
Peace, and much grace, as you consider all these things in light of who you’ve been created to be, for whom (not the mirror!), and for what!
(And throw out your scale! That will give you GREAT joy!)