The Mirror Challenge – can you take it up?

October 17, 2006

I am proposing a ‘look-at-me’ free day!  Will you join me? 

While on holiday in Italy last year i had a day where i vowed not to look in the mirror til the evening. It was an exercise in self denial which left me in shock at how many times a day i look in the mirror normally, almost without thinking!

At the moment we’re re-doing our downstairs toilet. This means the mirror above the sink has been removed from the wall to add a new lick of paint. Consequently there is no mirror to look in before i leave for work in the morning!  (I leave for work before the sun has returned from sunny climes so can’t legitimately switch on the lights elsewhere where there is a mirror because i might wake up the rest of the household!)

Yesterday i walked out the house at 5.30am with no idea how i looked… and it was strangely freeing.  It made me focus more on developing inner beauty. I was reminded that that which we spend most time reflecting on and looking at we become like or becomes our focus in life and our priority. 

If i spend lots of time focusing on my looks that becomes a distraction from God; if i spend time reading scripture i can’t help but be changed by that too.

So… i propose having a looking-at-me-free day tomorrow.  Will you take up the challenge and see what you learn about yourself?

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces like mirrors all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2Cor 3:17-18)


25 Responses to “The Mirror Challenge – can you take it up?”

  1. Oscar said

    Really LIke your blog. Esp the design. Looks cool.

    Keep up the good work.

    In HIM,

  2. autumnrose said

    Oh gosh…what a challenge (which I have already failed for today!) Much of my early morning routine is spent looking in the mirror, putting on my make-up, which takes some time. I haven’t gone out to work with a bare face for a long time *blush* although I don’t wear make-up on ‘stay-at-home’ days!

    But I guess now I’ve started, I could avoid looking in the mirror again today (although that will involve closing my eyes when I go to the ladies at work so I don’t catch a glimpse of myself in the HUGE mirror in there! 😀 )

    This has made me think about lots of things…why is it I feel I must wear a mask every day, for one?! Thanks for this entry 🙂

  3. rade said

    Well written post! Glad you found my blog and linked to yours 🙂

    Keep it up! Bless, rade

  4. Maria Toth said

    Looks like we’re truly international, what with comments from Finland and the US.

    Oscar and Rade – thanks for stopping by.

    AutumnBlush – thanks for sharing from the heart!

    In Jesus,
    Maria Toth

  5. misslionheart said

    Oh dear! I couldn’t possibly *not* look in the mirror. I’m thinking now, how often I actually do look in the mirror. Let me count……
    I’d say about ten times a day. My make-up has to be perfect, although I don’t use much, I wouldn’t be happy being told my lipstick was on my teeth! I like to think I take care of my appearance, and personally, I feel happier wearing makeup (and younger)

  6. diana said

    And an Indian 🙂
    Hi Oscar good to see you here– lol

    Maria, thats a really creative idea and I am curious so I think I will give your challenge a go.

    Make up isnt a problem for me cos I never wear any. lol

    bless ya!

  7. At a youth ministry training event last summer the speaker, Bo Cassell, challenged the youth with the concept of “femage” which means “fear of image.” To test the idea that we are too afraid of what others think of how we look, he challenged a group of 150 teenagers to raise their hands put them on top of their heads and the rub their hair briskly (i.e. mess up their hair!). It was really hard for many of them to obey, even though everyone else was doing it too.

    We have been conditioned to think that we have to look a certain way or we will not be accepted.

    Of course, on the other hand, if I have a piece of broccoli stuck in my teeth it might distract from my ability to influence someone for Christ!

    Thanks Maria for raising a great issue in our “all about image” world!

  8. It would be hard for me to partake in this experiment since we have mirrors above all the sinks in our bathrooms that cannot be easily dismounted. I automatically see myself when I go to wash my hands, whether I want to or not. An interesting parallel, is that the book of James compares God’s Word to a mirror. Some people, when they do look into “God’s mirror” may see something that needs to be fixed, but then they don’t do anything about it and eventually forget that there ever was anything wrong with them.

    Jam 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
    Jam 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
    Jam 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

    We may be able to get by without looking into a physical mirror, but we would be in far worse shape with the mirror of God’s Word.



  9. misslionheart said

    Oops, a typo in my last comment! Please edit or I won’t sleep tonight! 😆

  10. Maria Toth said

    Hopefully you’ll have a good sleep in bonny Ireland now, MissLionHeart, because I amended the comment for you.

    I have to say i’m impressed at the length of some of these comments – nearly as long as my blog entry for the day!

    I also appreciate short comments too – good to have an Aussie on board along with the rest of the crew.

    You’re all most welcome whichever country you reside in!

    Have a blessed afternoon, evening, morning or night depending on which time zone you’re in.

    In Jesus,
    Maria Toth

  11. timglass said

    Count me in. Great idea!
    God bless you, also.

  12. Maria Toth said

    Do feed back on how it goes everyone!

    Maria Toth

  13. Roo said

    Wow! I don’t know if I could do it. Even if I’m not checking how I look, I like to pose. Eek! So I’ll give this a shot tomorrow to see how it goes.

    Beautiful template by the way. I experimented with this one once. Gecko and Fly do some great work.

  14. helenl said

    Maria, What a great, creative idea. I’m game. Hard to do literally because there are too many mirrors. This doesn’t have to be a literal exercise but rather one that makes us aware of how vain we are (not that we shouldn’t stand in front of a sink, where there is a mirror, to brush our teeth.) If we think spiritual thoughts (scripture, words to a hymn, etc.) each time we would otherwise look into a mirror, I wonder how different the day will be.

  15. Jen said

    Wow Maria, what a challenge, but a neat idea too. Kinda hard for a teen girl like me…lol 😉

  16. Hi Maria,
    I will have no problem taking up this challenge. I dislike mirrors, and I tend to avoid them. I like what “writeathome” said about the mirror of the Word. It is so much more revealing, because it focuses on the inside where it really counts. Great post!

  17. And a comment from a South African who lives in Australia… but about 1 month ago was in London!

    I recently was travelling and I went to Daha in the Sinai (in Egypt) and while I was there, I had no junk food, no television, no mirrors… and I didn’t miss any of them.

    I vote we make your day into a lifestyle Maria!

    Bless you,

  18. Bill said

    Great entry, Maria! I found your blog through your comment on another blog and I’m glad that I did. I think your challenge is excellent. It brings to light something that we do very much need to guard against in our lives.

    However, your challenge to avoid mirrors set me to thinking of how difficult this would be on a couple of levels.

    First, there is the obvious consideration—the literal mirrors we use in our daily lives. If you ever saw how disheveled I looked every morning you would immediately retract your challenge and plead with me to find a mirror a put my mop in order.

    Second, there are so many “incidental” mirrors in our lives. As I sit composing these lines, I can see my reflection in a variety of places. There is the bay window across the room; the china cabinet in the corner and the computer screen from which my faint reflection is visible. But, more than these there are also the children, two of whom are young adults, as well as the two that are asleep in their beds, whose behavior and mannerisms are also a reflection of my imprint in their lives.

    Every day, in dozens of different ways my likeness is reflected. Occasionally, therefore, I need to take a good, long look at myself in the mirror and ask whether or not I living what God would have reflected in the lives of those whom I’m influencing.

    Blessings to you!

  19. Maria Toth said

    Wow! What alot of insightful reflections. If ever i need to give a talk to young people on self image and love of self i’ll be sure to return to this post and the comments.

    God bless you whichever time zone you are in,
    Maria Toth

  20. Father Joe said

    There is a painting entitled, VANITY OF VAITIES. It shows a lovely Victorian dressed woman admiring herself in the mirror. However, as you step back from the picture and perspective changes, you see instead a large looming skull. I have a poster of it somewhere, from my schoolboy days. It always intrigued me, but even more so as I grew older and mortality pressed more heavily upon my mind. Beauty may be skin-deep, but it is also fleeting.

    Most past generations did not have to face the signs of this that we must endure. Before the creation of photography, only a privileged few could have their portraits taken. As the years passed they could literally compare their reflection in the mirror with the artist’s ageless depictions. Oscar Wilde’s PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY actually turned the tables, a man stayed young and beautiful while his painting, not only aged but displayed the consequences of his vile life and unhealthy habits. Today we have photographs, digital images, movies, and video depictions of ourselves. As we age, we might look at them and wonder silently, where did that youth go?

    I am a fan of old movies, watching one the other night from 1929. That is 77 years ago! We are seeing images of people who lived before most of us in the world were born. Now they have grown old, and most if not all the actors are dead. Every time you watch an old movie, you are essentially watching ghosts!

    Oh well, I digress, but the theme of mirrors and our recorded image is a fascinating topic, unless of course, you are a vampire, for whom superstitious legend insists, there can be no reflection.

    Father Joe

  21. Roo said


    I almost looked once and caught an eye, but I refuse to give up! It’s currently 1:33pm (13:33 Eastern standard). I will make it!

    I knew I was vain, but I realized how much when I was staring at my shadow on the ground to see if my hair looked okay. I trust my husband to tell me if I look good, but I’m realizing just how little trust I can have in something if I can’t see it with my own eyes. I really feel like its a struggle and I sincerely hope no one else is feeling this way. And if you are, I’m heaping on extra prayers today for us both.


  22. Roo said

    Another Update! 5:28pm (17:28)
    I looked 3 times, almost back to back! Eek!

    And I noticed hair out of place.

    Here we go, back to the trust issue. I trusted someone to let me know if I looked okay, but wasn’t told. At the same time, I have to wonder: does that little imperfection really attract as much attention as it does in my head?

    No one has told me that my hair was out of place or that I looked anything other than normal, even when I asked. Am I so caught up in my appearance that I never see the whole picture?

    We, as human beings, can be very selfish and it can appear in strange ways. We zero in on small ‘imperfections’ in our lives, which is very selfish and leads to a lot of heart ache. Who cares about one pimple? one stray hair? one slightly off make up smudge? If you are told that you look good, take it at face value and be happy. In a world where we are bombarded with images of perfection, a day without the mirror should be freeing and not stressful.

    I’m going to keep up and do the same thing tomorrow. I’ll look in the mirror tonight after my shower to comb my hair straight and leave it at that.

  23. helenl said

    Maria, I love this idea as a metaphor. In practice, I spent more time thinking about not looking in the mirror than I would have spent looking in the mirror. So no time was gained to reflect on the Lord. I guess we just have too many mirrors! LOL.

  24. winterland said

    Well, I failed miserably at this challenge. We just have too many mirrors in this house! I’m not sure why I found myself gazing into the glass as often as I did, but this challenge inspire a poem which is now posted on my site.

    Thank you!


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