Everyone has that thing that they love to hate OR hate to love and I am no different! Can you guess what I have a love ~ hate relationship with? It may be something different for you than for me so let me give you a couple of hints…
I think women struggle with it more than men…
It reveals both the best and the worst of the way that I see myself…
It doesn’t lie but depending on its source, it can distort…
It’s my mirror, or ANY mirror, window, metal, or thing that shows my reflection! I can list for you my physical flaws and the things that I despise about my appearance. I can tell you the things that I like about the way that I look as well as the things that I wish were different.
My point is that the reflection that any of us sees in the mirror is just the surface of who we are. It isn’t a true representation of what makes us uniquely us! The truth is, there is so much more to each of us than what we see!
For example, when we look at ourselves in the mirror it doesn’t tell what we value or believe; it doesn’t reflect our level of education, gifts, skills, abilities, or talents; it doesn’t reveal our family dynamics, life experiences, or the roles that we fulfill in our job, church, or community; it doesn’t tell our age, or the story of our past, present ,and future; it can’t speak of our hopes and dreams, successes, and failures. It doesn’t communicate any pain I have endured, lessons I have learned, illnesses I have had.
So why do we put so much stock in what is reflected in the mirror and invest so much in the outer appearance of what others see? I am so willing to invest in the surface of who I am, that oftentimes I neglect the investment into all of the things that are really what make me, me.
The way that we present ourselves on the outside has some value and purpose, but if that’s all that we allow people to settle for in the way that they look at us as a person, then we have failed to give them the best view of us!
I think that we can and should spend time investing in the areas that I mentioned above and here are some things we can understand and apply:
*TRUST THE BEST IMAGE CONSULTANT: KNOWING GOD ~ Values & Beliefs
It is foundational to know what you believe and why you believe it, especially when it comes to God as the object of your faith.
Why? Because your values will guide you with principles and standards in the way you make decisions, the way that you treat other people, and the way you work and serve those around you. Character will be developed from your belief system and will serve you in every area of your life.
How? Spend daily time getting to know God by reading and studying His word. Invest in your relationship with Him by receiving instruction, and praying about the people and things you care about.
*KNOWING YOUR SELF ~ Education, Gifts, Skills, Abilities, & Talents
We all have been given by God:
-life: a past, present, and a future
-the capacity to learn
-certain gifts that were meant to be used for good purposes
-opportunities to grow in our skills, abilities, and talents and use them to serve others
Why? When we acknowledge WHO the Giver of these things is we can begin to tap into our God-given potential and live beyond our limited views!
How? We do this by our testimony - remembering where we have come from, sharing our life experiences, examining our own thoughts, affections, intentions, and our submission to the Divine Will. We use all of the things that we have to build a life that impacts the world around us for good.
*KNOWING OTHERS ~
We begin to understand that others were made as we were, by God’s divine design! They have a life beyond their mirror image that we can learn from, be challenged by, and be beneficiaries of if we will learn to view them through God’s eyes.
WHY? We were never meant to do life alone! God has given us the capacity to love deeper and to be loved deeper than the surface. Life is so much sweeter when we aren’t alone and we can learn so much from one another.
HOW? We invest in relationships that will keep us in line with God’s will for our lives. We practice and apply Biblical principles that will help us reconcile and heal broken relationships. We recognize and deal with offenses honestly, extend forgiveness, and receive it as well.
I realized the truth of this when I was in my early 20’s and working for a local bank. At one time or another, I had worked in nearly every department of the bank as well as two of our branches outside of the main bank. I enjoyed serving customers and I liked my co-workers. I had several good reviews by my boss which helped me to decide to take some night classes on banking to plan for a future career.
Later that year, I got a boss who was new to our community and our bank and decided to review our job performance without interviews. As I recall, I found it odd that she never came into the department to watch the operations and the way we worked together. Nevertheless, the day came for my review, and I had spent extra time picking out my outfit and putting myself together. I was called into the Vice-President’s office for my review with him and my new boss. Without ever having had a one on one conversation with me, she proceeded to criticize everything about me, my appearance, as well as other things that she “saw”. I was stunned that there were no questions asked about my future plans with the bank, no positive remarks of any kind about my work ethic, no words of encouragement or guidance to be better at my job.
At the end of the meeting, she handed me a piece of paper to sign saying I was in agreement with her assessment, and a refusal for a raise. I pushed it back to her and told her NO, got up, and left the office. I waited until I got outside of the office and made it to the restroom before I burst into tears. The Vice-President later apologized to me for not saying anything in my defense because he had been in on all of my previous job reviews and knew that what she had said wasn’t true.
The bottom line is this:
She NEVER bothered to look past the surface of me, and even that view was distorted.
I learned that I never wanted to treat anyone like she treated me.
Her opinions could have destroyed my image and given even more validity to my
LOVE ~ HATE relationship with the mirror.
But I know in Whose image I was created and I trust God as my Image Consultant!