Looking in the Mirror, and Finding God

norman rockwell

We look in the mirror all our lives.

It starts when we are young. It’s mostly physical appearance then. The world seems to fall down on us and we see only what needs to be “fixed.” This goes on forever. Adults still have something to fix.

Then, also at a young age, we begin to look beyond the mirror, into the soul. And we just try to figure out WHO WE ARE. I don’t know why this is such a big question for us.

The middle school days can be killer. The mean girls. The boys who never notice you. The name calling. Every kid who has walked a hallway knows the pressure of finding who you are and being okay with it. Identity is given through what you do. “He is a baseball player.” Or by who you hang with. “She hangs with those people.”

Then, through various channels – we are presented with books of knowledge/opinion on getting to know ourselves. Geez. Reading these alone could take a lifetime. And we watch the early morning talk show interviews about women in their sixties finally being comfortable in their own skin.

Leadership adds a new reflection. Because now other people get to chime in on who you should be. Oh, this happens to everyone. We all seem to find a critic. But basic math means the more people you are in front of the more critiquing you get.

The mirror can wear you out. When other people chime in, you don’t even know what to look for.

It’s a hard balancing act: not caring what people think but having to care what people think.

I’ve been told where I should sit in church. That I should be more _________ or ______. One woman actually told me she waits every Sunday just to see what I wear.

And all the while, I’m just trying to find my place with God.

The Norman Rockwell painting of the girl and the mirror hangs in my bathroom. When my eye catches it on a morning, I think of young girls and the struggle of self-esteem. Of days I can encourage them. Outer appearance has become a god to us.

But the inner self – that’s the harder rub for me. It takes a few years to know this.

I told someone the other day that I’m an introvert. They were surprised. Because people seem to think this means hermit. That you can’t be a leader if you refuel by being alone.

Why are we so obsessed with other people? I don’t understand how so many of us fall prey to living through other people.  How much energy we spend wondering about “her” or who “he” is or if “that girl” ever has a bad hair day. How we enter a house of worship and pay more attention to others than the soul work we need. Why we eat up People magazine like some actor’s grocery errand is what we need to know about.

I suppose it’s another way to find a god. Because we were made to worship something. (Someone).

Maybe it’s just easier to “help” other people fix themselves.

This is why books like Carry On Warrior are so refreshing to me. She starts with herself and then offers grace to others.

I think A LOT about grace lately. A LOT. It seems we have a very big shortage all over the place. Grace is where the whole deal started for me. God (who is really the only true judge because he was willing to give his life for me in Christ) – showed me my sinful need of Him and then opened His arms wide. And the gift He still offers me is blindness.

This might be one of my favorite gifts. A spiritual blindness. To shut your eyes and look through His. To see the soul of man. Of yourself.

Not the disability. Not the clothes. Not even the personality that is not like yours. The soul.

Our eyes can assume things. Find faults. For so many reasons. Some are just how we have been conditioned. How we have believed.

But God – he looks on the heart. And I’m looking in the mirror of my heart and finding God. The beauty He is making in me. The danger He calls me into. The risks that make no sense to people. The confidence to know if I am right with Him, then I’m right okay. That labels don’t define me. People don’t understand everything about me. And I don’t understand everything about them. We don’t have to. And by golly, it’s just plain tiring to try.

Overall I want the mirror of my heart to reflect Him. But I am fallen. So very deep down. Everyone really is. And what we see on the outside tells us so very little about the inside, if anything at all.

And some people will always want you to be a different form of yourself. I’m learning not to apologize for certain things about myself. It comes with the package.

In the movie, First Knight, Sean Connery delivers a great line: “I take the good with the bad. You can’t love people in slices.”

Some people will not like you. BE OKAY WITH THAT. But find freedom in closing your eyes to their faults. Let the physical mirrors break. Maybe if we loosen up on ourselves, we will loosen up on others. See your reflection in the face of God. And know all those other people…..were made in His image too. We just have some work to do to be more like Him. And that’s okay too.

 

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