What inspires you? I find myself being inspired when I’m in the strangest places. The shower is one of the more common strange places for me, but the world misses out on some really great stuff because I never have anything to write with in there. I’ve often been inspired in the car while driving from one place to the next, only to find I don’t have my voice recorder with me.
Recently while brushing my teeth I saw the remnant of toothpaste smatterings all over my face as I looked in the mirror. Turns out they weren’t really on my face, but when looking in the mirror they appeared to be part of the same landscape.
That got me thinking…….
Mirrors are made for reflecting images. That day the image was of stains, markings and scars…all made out of toothpaste droplets. I don’t know about you, but so many times I have found myself primping in the mirror all the while lamenting that my hair doesn’t look the way I want it to, that my once perfectly-waxed eyebrows are now needing much attention, my blemishes are showing, and then there are those dark circles under my eyes….ugh!
Seriously, what did I think I was going to see in the mirror? Some air-brushed version of what I really look like? Come on now…..I’m a mother of 4, married for almost 20 years, and working very hard to manage all of that and then some!! Reality bites.
If mirrors are for reflecting images, good or bad, then what does my reflection say about me? Is it accurate? Don’t get me wrong, bad hair days really are just that….bad hair days. But do I see my heart in my reflection? Sometimes I wonder.
Soon I found myself being challenged with thoughts of how my life is a reflection to those around me. Do the people around me see my heart when they look at me? Who or what do I reflect? I’m a Christ-follower, so I ‘should’ reflect Him, my Saviour and LORD, right? (yes, I ‘should-ed’ on myself). As a side note…for those who don’t know me, I’m one of ‘those’ women who wears her heart on her sleeve. I decided years ago that I wanted to live a life that showed, “what you see is what you get.” Unfortunately, what some saw they didn’t like. Fortunately, that didn’t stop me from being me. The truth-tellers and Jesus-lovers in my life accepted me the way I was and prayerfully encouraged me to keep surrendering and trusting God with those areas of my heart that needed his attention. To those ‘sisters’ I am forever grateful.
Those times of rejection led me to discover more intimately how God sees me. I recently read a devotional sent out by “Revive Our Hearts” which was written by Nancy Leigh De Moss. I’m just going to quote what she said, since I really don’t think I could have said it any better. It’s taken from her book, “How To Fall & Stay In Love With Jesus.”
“The key to a healthy self-image is coming to see ourselves as God sees us. With our love, purity, and Christ-like responses to trials. God has planted us in this thorny earth to make a difference, to reflect His beauty by how we respond to thorny people.”
As a child of God, I am redeemed. He loves me and sees me as perfect. He thinks I’m so special that He chose to die on the cross for my sin. Who would do that? ONLY a forever-loving, perfect, selfless God, Jesus Christ. No other religion has a solution for sin as permanent as the blood of a perfect, unblemished Lamb.
I met someone the other day. Our conversation was too lengthy to reprint here, but I think it makes my point. We exchanged a cordial greeting and to his “How are you?” I answered, “Blessed.” To my surprise he asked, “Why?” I responded with, “Because Jesus died on the cross for my sin.” Moments later, I think to test me (which I failed according to his standard), he then asked, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” To that I answered, “Jesus.” He laughed, and perhaps you might too. That is a commonly-known question among believers of a particular denomination. It’s part of their foundational theological document.
There is a specific answer that is to be memorized for that question. It starts out, “That I am not my own…” On that particular day that particular answer didn’t roll off my tongue (as expected). So I said, quite confidently, “JESUS.” Again to my surprise he said, “That’s wrong; it’s not good enough.” That man is a pastor. I get that he was trying to illicit a certain response. I get that my response could have been received somewhat flippantly because there are two commonly-expected reponses in the history of the church….”Jesus” and “the disciples.”
So he might have been right for not accepting my answer. But I was right too because JESUS is ENOUGH for me and I want to live a life that reflects Him every day, especially in the midst of the blemishes and other imperfections that I carry. That man doesn’t know me at all; he doesn’t know my heart. I don’t want to have ‘perfectly’ memorized responses that come out as swiftly as my name when I’m asked. Barring scripture. (Make note: I don’t have anything against those who do.) I don’t want to display an image that others deem acceptable either, but it did make me wonder how deep our responses go either way?
Are your responses just skin deep? Or do they go to the very core of who you are?
Imagine the next time you are in front of the mirror and no-one is looking……
What does your image say about you? What does it say about your relationship with God?
What is God showing you of yourself?
What do you need to surrender so that you look more and more like Him each day? So your life reflects Him?
Are you someone who is more concerned about your image and how you present yourself physically?
Are you willing to settle for the status-quo, or do you want more of Him and less of you?
As a follower of Jesus, does your life draw others to Jesus or just to yourself?
It really is a thorny world out there….and ‘out there’ can sometimes be in the comfort of our own homes. The children, the spouse, the in-laws, the out-laws (sorry, couldn’t resist…I’m just calling it like I see it…).
Be brave, have courage and go into that world with your Spiritual Armor on (Ephsians 6). Know that God will be with you every step of the way.
Your Sister At Heart,