For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (I Corinthians 13:12, New King James Version)
Many times over the years the reflection staring back at me has changed. It has grown, altered, and aged. It has reflected many moods: sorrow, joy, anger, and angst. At times my failures and inadequacies have seemed to scream back at me as if written in ink across my reflection. I've seen words like failure, ruined, unloved, unwanted, not needed, and undesirable written across the reflection of my heart. And I believed those words. But then out of the dimness of my marred vision (sight) came my true reflection. A reflection that not only changed the way I saw myself, but one that transformed me from the inside out.
I'm a competitive person by nature or I should say, I became a competitive person because I grew up in a house full of guys, the only girl. I couldn't endure the thought of being different. I saw the camaraderie my dad had with his sons and I wanted the same type of admiration I saw in his eyes when he was with them reflected back at me. So I set out to be the strongest, fastest, self-efficient, most obedient child imaginable. I was hoping that if I was good enough at sports, if I won enough trophies, if I did enough things right, he might not notice that I was born with the inadequacy of being a girl.
What I didn't understand then was how precious my differences were to my father. I tried to blend in when I was born to stand out. I didn't just do this in my home, but everywhere I went. I had to be the best. I had to get the most attention, not by being loud but through hard work, diligence, and service. The worst part was that my constant comparing of myself to others kept me from seeing my fathers great love for me. And because I didn't understand my earthly father's love I couldn't accept my heavenly Father's love either.
No, that was a love that I was going to earn by being the very best Christian imaginable. But I forgot one important thing. God didn't make me to be a self-reliant, perfect individual without need of Him. In the very beginning starting with Adam, He formed us (mankind) by His own hands and breathed in us His own life giving breath. We (I) were made to be in a relationship with Him, to need Him, to draw my identity, peace, and existence from Him.
I either didn't understand or I completely disregarded God's grace and set out on a mission to earn my own way, to prove my own merit and worth. If I was going to stand before God one day and hear, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant,' it was going to be because I had earned it and deserved to hear it.
I may have lost you at this point. You may be thinking, 'OMG, was she messed up! SMH, she thought she could earn the right to stand before God? What arrogance! She struggled with her gender thinking she wasn't born right, please. This girl was messed up with a capital M!’ Yes, I was but for the grace of God.
The truth is, we all stand before a mirror and each one of us sees in that mirror a reflection of what is in our hearts. That reflection can be marred by comparison, rejection, abuse, and pride; or it can be flawless when we see ourselves the way God himself sees us, through the eyes of Christ.
The choice was mine, as it is yours. We can choose to see ourselves through the eyes of this world, comparing and measuring ourselves using the different weights and scales of our peers, family, society, and even our own skewed thought. Or, we can see ourselves through Christ who offered Himself up for us. The choice is ultimately ours.
Will you choose to stop seeing yourself through the lenses of shame, past mistakes, failures and inadequacies? Will you instead choose to see yourself as God does? Will you disregard the labels of your former self and like me lay aside the words Worthless, Unloved, and Ruined? Will you instead choose to walk in the freedom that Christ purchased when He ransomed us from a life of slavery to sin and adopted us into his own family? Will you choose to accept that His offer of grace is enough to atone for all of your sins, failures, and inadequacies? Will you choose to believe that His way is the only way, His love enough? If so, the next time you look at your reflection in the mirror, be sure to see yourself through the eyes of Christ who has bestowed you with purpose, value, redemption, and love. Let your reflection speak words of truth, words that give you the courage to live life transformed from the inside out. Loved, Valuable, Beyond Compare, Redeemed, Chosen, Victorious, Daughter of the King.
(If you are interested in hearing more of my story and how I came to see myself through the eyes of Christ, check out my book on Amazon, Learning to Love the Woman in the Mirror.)