Before a closet full of clothing and a floor filled with shoes were the norm, before makeup and grooming supplies were here in abundance, the outward appearance mattered.
When Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Patsy, was a small child in the late 1700’s, he took care to teach her to value her outer appearance by always being properly dressed with not so much as a pin out of place, and always looking as though she were going to tea no matter the hour of the day.
In the 1800’s, tips for a healthy and pleasing appearance included eating bread sprinkled with a half teaspoon of powdered charcoal to curb bad breath, early rising, washing in cold water for glowing skin, and eating heartily of oatmeal and fruit. And, very importantly, a regular washing of the feet with warm water would keep one from becoming offensive to those around them!
The outward appearance has its place of importance. It can show others that we respect ourselves, or that we have little care for our physical appearance. But it is easy to forget what is most important in life if we focus solely on what we see in the mirror. God reminds us to focus on what is inside of us more than anything external. Why? Because what is inside of us sets the course for our life and spills over, influencing others:
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man. Proverbs 27:19
It’s important to show that we care for and respect our mind, body, and spirit in how we present ourselves to the world. But what is inside will be reflected in our lives and lead us forward. More than fine clothing, fancy shoes, well-groomed hair, or even clean feet, is the heart withing. What does your heart reflect?