A Cover is Not the Book

Anyone else loving Mary Poppins Returns? I went to see it for the second time and it blew me away! The acting, singing, dancing, overall entertainment…It made me want to be a kid again.

And for those of you who went to see the film, you may remember the song “A Cover Is Not the Book”. The title is sort of a reinvented version of the age old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. I really resonated with the message they were trying to send, because it is something I all too often struggle with.

I am the expert at putting stock into personal appearance. I feel 100 times better about myself when I’ve put makeup on and am wearing something figure flattering. I am uncomfortable if I’m not looking “cute” or “trendy”. I find myself apologizing to my fiancé for not looking cute when we hangout, and 100% of the time get shot down with responses like, “You ARE beautiful!” or “You don’t need makeup to make yourself pretty!” When did we become so obsessed with appearances that we started contouring our faces to make our noses look smaller or buy plumping lip gloss to give us that coveted Kardashian pucker?

It’s unsettling to think of the amount of products we apply, slather, and don ourselves with each day to makeup for the lack of care we are taking for our own spiritual, physical, and mental health. Rather than obsess over the latest eye cream or cellulite lotion, why aren’t we focusing our attention on real issues of the heart? You can have the most flawless makeup, most expensive brands of clothing, most lit ride, and most dank looking husband, and still not have a personality or character worth a flip. The more time and attention you take to care for your own spiritual health and wellness, the more attractive your life’s story will be to others.

I don’t want people to see me and think that my cover is nice but my book isn’t worth opening. I want my cover (my words, thoughts, character, and habits) to allure people to the transformative story of my life. I want my life to be a reflection of God’s continual work in my heart, mind, and soul. And let me be quite frank, my life is far from perfect. It’s tinged by sin, frustration, impatience, selfishness, greed… I could keep going but I think you get the picture. I like to keep up the appearance of perfection, but my imperfections always seem to surface at some point or another. We don’t need more THINGS. We need to invest more in our hearts than our appearances. We need more JESUS. He is the ultimate example of a life lived humbly and sacrificially, above the reproach of others.

Without my faith, I truly have no idea where I would be or what my life would look like. I have struggled through countless seasons of hopelessness and fear (which are all stories for another day), but every time I surrender those feelings at the Lord’s feet, I am reminded of his sovereign control over the intricacies of my life.

In the world in which we live and work though, comparison can be a thief of our joy. Social media especially can be a beast sometimes. I took a short (two week) hiatus from it about a month ago, and it was probably not long enough. The comparison game is strong. I follow so many people I don’t even know! And yet, I want their all-white-subway-tile-backsplash-marble-countertop-fresh-fruit-on-the-counter-with-laughing-kids-all-perfectly-groomed lives. I scroll through the perfect details of so many bloggers’ lives and covet all of it. Rather than pining after an unattainable and selfish lifestyle ridden by keeping up appearances, I should be investing in my friends, family, and self. I have the life I once thought was only a pipe dream. I am reaping the benefit of successes I once poured over in prayer to come fruition.

Thank you God for allowing my life to be a story marked by your faithfulness. I pray that my cover (my words, thoughts, character, and habits) is a mirror image of the book which God continues to write: my life story.

For a cover is nice, but a cover is not the book…

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