What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you pick apart the person looking back at you? Do you focus on the things that society might frown upon and compare yourself to others?
I wonder, does any of the negative self-talk stem from your growing-up years as you ruminate about things others have said about you? Does it surpass what you look like on the surface and infiltrate into who you are as a person? Have you stored up negative words spoken to you and negative situations, allowing the thoughts and beliefs, including other people’s opinions, define who you are?
Today we live in a society that is so consumed with outward appearances, both physically and socially, that it’s hard not to fall prey to vanity. Vanity manifests itself in several ways. We might spend too much time worrying about our physical beauty or we may be so consumed by what other people think of us that we work hard to perfect our lives—both in physical appearances and in successes. It’s like we have come to believe that the more beautiful we are on the outside and the more perfect our lives seem to others, the more accepted and better our lives will be. Have you ever felt this way?
I have. So many negative words about who I am and what I look like roll around in my mind as past words and comments haunt me, so much so, that there have been times that I’ve wished I was someone else—someone more desirable. Is this just me, friends? Or have you felt this way too?
Growing up, there seemed to be much emphasis on external beauty. Because of this and the added pressures of society, the narrative in my head has made me obsess over my looks for years. In fact, a couple of years ago when I was told by a friend that I looked younger than the last time she saw me (and asked if I was getting Botox!), I felt giddy inside. I didn’t see a change—in fact, every year that passes I see deeper wrinkles, darker age spots, and more sagging everywhere. But still, I was thrilled with the compliment and began wracking my brain to understand why I might look younger. And then it hit me—water!
Before that friendly visit, I had begun a regimen of drinking a gallon of water every day. Though I had lived most of my life trying to drink the recommended eight, eight-ounce glasses of water, this new fish-like behavior made me feel great physically. But I hadn’t considered what benefits it might also have on my skin.
That being said, no matter how much water I drink, it can only turn back the clock so far. The reality is, we are all getting older and with age comes fleeting beauty. Or does it? Might there be a better fountain of youth—one that also includes water?
We will come back to this. But I want to pause a moment to get really real with you. Not only has my mind been overly inundated with negative self-talk about what’s on the outside, but the wounds of other people’s words that have been spoken about who I am as a person have left permanent scars. No matter how fully I try to suppress what has been said, something will trigger me to remember the cruel words—which then come flooding back, creating more negative self-talk.
I will be forty-seven in a couple of weeks, and it grieves me that it’s taken most of my life to begin to change the way I think. Though I have tried to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, this is easier said than done with wounds that are so deep. What has been needed, that I never saw before, is a new script.
But before we go there, we must first get back to water.
I began a Bible study with a lovely group of women in January. Together, we dove into the book “I Am” by Lisa TerKeurst. It was a wonderful study that helped us see who the great I Am (God) really is and who we are because of Him. As we listened to the videos, read the lessons, and dug deep into God’s word we discovered the goodness of who He says He is—with so many “I Am” statements. In addition to these, God also says He is Living Water.
John 4:14 says, “… but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Have you visited the well to receive the “Living Water” that is offered? If you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, do you drink from God’s Word and fill up often? Do you know Him intimately and find your worth in Him? Do you allow Him to quench your thirst? Or do you try to quench your thirst from people or other things?
Oftentimes, we try to quench our own thirst—and the things we drink never quite satisfy. We may sip on social media—comparing our lives to others and buying all the things to “keep up with the Joneses” or sharing the best parts of ourselves while waiting for “likes” to fill us up. We may get plastic surgery, strictly diet, or exercise excessively in order to swallow the lie that a perfect body is a better life. We may be boastful in our successes in search of compliments so we can gulp up affirmations in an effort to satiate our thirst. We may turn to addictions with food, pornography, drugs, alcohol, etc.—guzzling up the good feelings they give us. We may consume ourselves with too much work or too much play in order to bring satisfaction.
Doing one or all these things certainly seems to gratify our desires temporarily, but they never fully satisfy our true craving. We are made with a thirst for Christ—a deep desire to be in a relationship with Him. God created us for this purpose, and He gives us a way to not only quench our thirst in Him but fill us to overflowing so that His goodness will flow from us and into others.
In doing this well, might we need to combat the lies that are in our minds—taking the emphasis off ourselves and putting it back on God in order to find our true worth and live for him? The perfect verse to help us do this has been in God’s Word the whole time—for all forty-seven of my years and for all of yours too. Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman (or man) who fears the Lord is to be praised.”.
Do you see the power of this one little verse? Our lives are not about us! And this verse is the prescription for a life well lived—to become truly beautiful in God’s eyes, the only eyes that matter, we need to fear Him.
Fearing the Lord does not imply that we are to be afraid of Him, rather, we are to reverence Him. When we reverence God, we deeply respect Him and in this, we seek to Serve, Love, Obey and Walk with Him. In other words, if we S.L.O.W. down and become still to know Him, we will not only quench our thirst, but we will also shine for Him. Herein lies the real fountain of youth—the beauty that we attain through our relationship with Jesus Christ achieves a beauty so great that others won’t even notice our aging bodies because they will be mesmerized by our beautiful hearts.
But there’s more good news! My friends, there is also a fountain of youth for your vehicle. Though it doesn’t quite have to do with water, it does come in liquid form—all the fluids in your vehicle. Just like the water doing work on my skin that I could not see, fluids in your vehicle are working behind the scenes to make many systems run at their best and keep your vehicle as youthful as possible.
There’s a new dirty four-letter word! Just thinking about filling up brings some anxiety these days. It might even make us delay our fill-ups until absolutely necessary. But, I encourage you to consider filling up when you get to a quarter of a tank. Doing this is better for your vehicle in a few ways—it prevents moisture from potentially freezing the gas line, decreases the chances of running out of gas due to unexpected traffic or weather-related issues, and it's better for the health of the fuel pump. Have you ever considered a fuel system cleaning? There are several components of the fuel system - having them professionally cleaned on a regular basis will keep your vehicle in optimal health and can even save money at the pump.
Oil changes are critical to keeping your engine healthy. Though most people know the importance of this fluid, more and more often, I hear how people are delaying this service. There is a reason shops put a little sticker in your window indicating the due date/mileage—it needs to be changed. It’s not a suggestion like “try to get it changed around then or within a few thousand miles or a few months”. It’s due by that date or mileage—whichever comes first.
Because oil additives that protect your engine break down with time and mileage, it’s imperative that both are considered. Just because you only drive one-hundred miles per week does not mean you should go an entire year before an oil change—especially when you live in an area with climate extremes like Minnesota.
And what about differential oil? Have you ever changed that? The differential is the part of the vehicle that transfers power from the front of the vehicle to the rear wheels. The high-stress gears inside the differential are lubricated with oil and have no filtering system. Getting a differential service on a regular basis is extremely important to the health of your rear end!
The cooling system of your vehicle has nothing to do with how cool you are and everything to do with the temperature of your engine. Coolant, or antifreeze, is the critical fluid that protects an engine from overheating, freezing, rust and corrosion. It also lubricates the water pump. Over time, antifreeze will break down and lose its ability to provide proper engine protection. A cooling system service is designed to clean out corrosion and contaminants while replacing the antifreeze. This helps your vehicle run cooler, restores freeze protection, prolongs the life of the water pump, and protects the radiator, heater core, and other internal engine components from corrosion.
Transmission fluid lubricates, cools, and cleans components of your vehicle's transmission. Over time, this fluid breaks down due to use and heat, thereby reducing its effectiveness and placing your transmission at risk of failure. A transmission fluid exchange removes virtually one-hundred percent of the old fluid and replaces it with fresh, new fluid. Keeping this on your maintenance schedule will lengthen the life of your vehicle's transmission.
Power Steering Fluid
Compared to other parts of the vehicle, the power steering system uses a relatively small quantity of fluid to perform a large amount of work. The power steering fluid deteriorates and becomes contaminated over time. A power steering fluid exchange will clean the power steering system, removing sludge and contaminates while replacing the old fluid with new. Proper protection and lubrication will be restored with this service.
Brake fluid is one of the most neglected fluids, yet is vitally important for safe driving. Brake fluid attracts moisture and starts to absorb it from the moment it is put in the system. This will cause corrosion in the system over time and deterioration in the hydraulic parts. Changing the brake fluid at regular intervals will reduce the risk associated with this corrosion. Take a break for a brake service!
When To Service
As with any maintenance service, it is important to consult your owner's manual or talk with the experts at your auto-home to understand when to perform fluid exchange services. Additionally, all fluids are not created equal, and some fluids need to be maintained at specific intervals in order to maintain a warranty. So, my best advice is to know your fluids and service them regularly.
Our vehicles are a lot like our bodies. They need regular maintenance and repairs. And though we should not consume ourselves with a perfect body, we should do our best to take care of the body God gave us with a healthy diet, exercise, and lots of water.
Our minds are also like our vehicles—exchange services are needed! Meaning, we need a new script—we need to exchange our old negative thought patterns with new words so that we can define ourselves by who we are in Christ—not who we are according to other people’s standards.
God’s Living and Holy Word tells us who we are—we are made in His image. We are His masterpiece! The next time you look in the mirror, say to that beautiful person looking back at you “You are God’s creation. You were made by Him and for Him. You are fearfully and wonderfully made!”
Friends, we need to stop picking ourselves apart and stop listening to any other voice but God’s. We also need to SLOW down in order to fear the Lord and drink from the well of the Living Water that is offered.