Reflections – Lose the Filter

Day Four

Every year when I was growing up, we’d go to the Puyallup Fair. I looked forward to it all year – early release from school, the yummy fair food, the sketchy rides…all of it!

One of my annual faves was an attraction called the Fun House. Perhaps you’ve experienced it? You enter a building and walk through a maze filled with all sorts of silly things. But what I remember most is the room containing a bunch of crazy mirrors. (It was the old-school equivalent of today’s Snapchat filters.)

I’d run back and forth giggling as I looked at my warped reflection. Some mirrors would make me look tall and skinny; other mirrors would make me look short and stumpy. But all of them were distortions of reality and didn’t accurately reflect how I truly appeared.

If you were to think of your life as a mirror, what do you see reflecting back? Do you think the reflection you see is an accurate one?

Quite possibly, the “mirror” into which you’ve been looking, has been terribly warped, clouded and distorted.

I believe it’s time for you to get out some Windex, change the filter, and do whatever it takes for you to see yourself through the lens of God’s Word – the true, undistorted mirror for your life. Because if we’re going to get an accurate picture of who we truly are in Christ if we’re going to accurately reflect who Jesus is to a broken world, we need to begin painting a picture of ourselves that resembles who God says we are.

You are created in God’s image.

In Genesis 1:27 God provides a “frame” for how we should see ourselves,

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

An image is an accurate representation or reflection of something. So when God says He created us in his image, He means He created us to be like him and to accurately reflect who He is and what He is like.

This is what distinguishes you and me from everything else that God made. While God made flowers to be like flowers, birds to be like birds, fish to be like fish, He made us like himself.

His image is seen in the eyes of the orphaned children in China; his likeness is found among the impoverished in Africa. From the faces of the poor and oppressed to the successful and wealthy, his presence and likeness are found in his children—all of them.

In the movie, The Help, one of the main characters, Aibileen, makes an intentional effort to mold the self-image of a little girl. Daily, she has the little girl repeat, “I is smart. I is kind. I is important.” While the people around her may not affirm the girl’s worth, Aibileen determines to be a positive voice speaking into her heart.

God desires to be this voice in your life. He wants to be the guiding voice shaping your image, molding your character and defining you.

I love how Bob Goff put it in his book, Everybody Always, “God has never looked in your mirror or mine and wished he saw someone else.”1

 If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves investing a lot of energy attempting to be who we think we should be or trying to be who others think we should be.

God knows you intimately. Your birth wasn’t an accident; it didn’t catch God off guard. In fact, He planned your life long before you were formed. Before you even took your first breath, He had a wonderful plan for your life. Before you did anything, accomplished anything, or achieved anything, you had value to God simply because He created you.

As we close, I’d love for you to read Isaiah 44:3-5,

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob… Isaiah 44:3-5

You may be thirsting for significance; your hope may have run dry. Your “mirror” may be warped, distorted or just plain dirty. Time to take off the filters, clean off the mirror and allow the Word of God to wash over your soul, filling you, shaping you, refreshing you and molding you into his image.

An image that gradually comes more and more clearly into focus as you grow in your knowledge of the “Whom” to which you belong.

Think about it…

  • If you were to think of your life as a mirror, what reflection would you see?Do you struggle to see yourself as being created in God’s image?
  • If so, what hinders you?
  • Do you believe that your life has purpose and that God knows you intimately? If not, what hinders you?
  • Can you confidently say, “I belong to the Lord”? Why or why not?

 

1 Bob Goff, Everybody Always(Nelson Books: 2018) p. 66

Issue of Identity – Part Two of Your True Selfie

Day Five

Recently on a quick trip to the grocery store, the cashier asked me if I would like to take advantage of their senior citizen’s discount.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!

Stunned and shocked, I thought perhaps I hadn’t heard her correctly so I clarified by asking, “Exactly what age is the minimum requirement for the said discount?”

(Thinking…hoping…praying that it was ridiculously young…like 35.)

“Sixty,” she replied confidently.

I mustered a futile attempt to mask the wide range of emotions raging through my mind and body. While I’m no longer a spring chicken, I’m not even close to being 60!

I was hurt.

Appalled.

Offended.

Angry.

Incredulous.

And a part of me wanted to educate her on the finer art of asking appropriate questions.

For example, you should NOT, under ANY circumstances, ever, ever, EVER ask two general kinds of questions:

  1. Any questions related to a woman’s age, and
  2. Anything that has to do with being pregnant, possibly being pregnant or postpartum baby weight.

If this is your first time hearing this, you’re welcome. You have just been spared much embarrassment, ire and shame.

I went home to complain and cry to my husband and kids who immediately responded with,

“Did you get the discount?”

Really?!

The next day, in an attempt to repair my injured self-esteem, Gregg took me to Longs and invited me to purchase whatever beauty/hair/makeup products I desired. What a great husband.

Interestingly, there was one emotion that I didn’t expect to find triggered by this incident.

Insecurity. For the next week or so, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time comparing my looks, my hair, my skin, my body with other women.

I know it’s shallow and shouldn’t have bothered me.

I know I should be mature enough to just laugh it off.

But it did bother me.

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this either.

Just a quick glance at the magazine covers in the line at the grocery store and you’ll notice how our culture sends plenty of messages about the value of achieving success and attaining “outer” beauty.

Whether it’s the latest anti-aging cream, weight loss plan or hair product, we’re seduced to invest a lot of energy into improving our “outside”.

But how much attention to we direct towards cultivating and caring for inner beauty?

I love how Peter gently instructs and reminds women where their focus should lie,

“Don_t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT

How quickly we can lose focus. In looking for the affirmation from the people around us, we spend a lot of time fixing and upgrading our outer self.

God looks deeper. He sees our heart. He sees who we’re becoming. He sees how he created us to live and I believe it breaks his heart to see us settle for the superficial second best.

I still color my graying hair. I’m still on the hunt for the best anti-aging cream. And I still haven’t been able to bring myself to go back through that cashier’s line at the grocery store.

But my primary focus is in a different place that looks towards a different end result of developing an inner beauty that is precious to God and brings glory to him.

Think about it…

How have you seen your external appearance affect your identity?

What would a gentle and quiet spirit look like in your life?

What is one step you can take to cultivate your inner beauty?

Issue of Identity – Part Two of Your True Selfie

Day Three

My eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I wear glasses for distance, but then I can’t see when I’m trying to read. I’ve been avoiding the whole bifocal thing. I’m just not ready to admit that I’ve reached that season of life.

My current solution is to wear my reading glasses over my regular glasses. When I’m at the beach, I put my sunglasses over them both. Keepin’ it classy.

My kids aren’t embarrassed to be seen with me at all.

It’s so important for us to get a clear view of God. How we view God will direct our life, define our identity, determine our values and many of the decisions we will make.

How we see God is intricately related to how we view ourselves.

If we believe God is loving, we will dwell with a security that reflects someone who is loved.

If we believe God is forgiving, we will live confidently, not cowering in shame or condemnation.

If we believe God created people with incredible worth and value, we will treat others as well as ourselves in such a way that supports the value and worth God says his children have.

This is why it is so crucial for us to grasp our identity in Christ – not at a “head” level, but at a believe-it-with-everything-you-got “heart” level.

True identity cannot be derived from our career, relationships or material things.

I used to think I could just change the landscape around me and expect my “vision” to improve – change my job, get new friends, move to a different city – surely that would fulfill me and give me a greater sense of worth. But it never did. Eventually, the same longing in my heart would bubble up to the surface.

Only God is the true source of your identity. Your identity in Christ is how God sees you and how He created you to live.

Jesus is the sure, unshakeable foundation upon whom you can build your life and find lasting worth, significance and fulfillment.

And because God created you, He is the only One who has the right to name you, give you purpose and worth.

Deriving your identity from anywhere or anyone else is identity theft – using another identity that is not your own. And living this way will negatively affect your whole life. It will affect your relationship with God, how you see yourself, how you interact with others. It will steal your confidence and destroy your self-esteem.

The worst part is that living this way will limit you to a life that is less than what God created you to live.

It’s impossible to move forward into all God has for you if you see yourself unworthy and undeserving of God’s love and goodness.

You weren’t created in the image of your job, or your career, your family or your money. You were created in the image of God.

A Little Bit of Aloha

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Seeing yourself as God sees you will enable you to handle change, endure setbacks, deal with failure and allow you to navigate the ups and downs of life with strength and resiliency. It’s like an anchor that will tether your life – stabilizing it and strengthening it regardless of the pull of the current surrounding you.

So, get out the Windex and clean those smudges off! As for me, I may have to get a new pair of glasses. 🙂

 

Questions

  1. Read and reflect on Psalm 139. What does this Psalm say about God? What does this Psalm say about you?

 

  1. How have you seen your view of God influence your identity?

 

  1. What are some inconsistencies in what God says about you and how you see yourself?