A look in the mirror
Not sure how you feel about looking in the mirror, but just imagine a world without mirrors. For some this might be a relieve, for others it will be a disaster. Nevertheless how you feel about mirrors, we use mirrors on a daily basis. For some it is to see if my cloths still fit and how they make me look. For others to see how many wrinkles have been added since last week. For teenagers unquestionably to check-out the latest uninvited ‘zits’ on the upper lip. For those who reach a certain age, definitely to do an assessment of the body fat vs. muscles. It’s amazing how small your stomach suddenly gets when you look in the mirror. A mirror can be useful, or the bearer of bad news.
In life there are two kinds of mirrors. The one is the mirror the world wants us to look in, and then there is the mirror of truth and life. The question is in what mirror do I look because both of these will impact not only how I see others, but also how I see myself and the influence this has on my self-worth and life as a whole.
The worldly mirror
The mirror the world would like me to look in, often convinces me that if I want to be happy and feel valued, then I must be beautiful, thin, without wrinkles and cellulite; be tall, dark and handsome, have a square jaw and be muscular; be successful, rich, have the right address, drive the right car and move in the right circles; and be smart, not make mistakes and always be right no matter the price.
The problem with getting measured by these standards, is that not many people, if any, will ever meet these standards and “make it” in life. Unfortunately, this is the mirror in which most of us look and measure ourselves. The world’s mirror offers a picture that is not only unachievable, but which also results in millions upon millions of people having a poor self-esteem and feeling that I’m not good enough and have little to no value. We are confronted with this every day on our TV’s magazines, advertisements, social media, etc. We keep measuring ourselves against this unrealistic and false worldly mirror.
But it is not only this worldly mirror that de-valuates us, but sometimes also the people close to us, like our parents, teachers and leaders: “You are not good enough and won’t mount to anything”. They compare me with others, criticise everything I do and how I look. They make me feel ashamed when I made a mistake and won’t support or encourage me. The result of this is losing my self-worth, feeling that I will never be good enough, and for me to achieve something in life, I must first be and achieve something, look a certain way and be “acceptable”.
In all my years of counselling and coaching, this is probably the one thing that kept people from achieving their goals and living a purposeful and fulfilled life: “I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not like that person”, and so on.
Dove beauty sketches
I want to encourage you to watch a very powerful video clip that was produced by Dove. It illustrates the above and show the results when we keep looking in this worldly mirror, a mirror that is created not only by the media, but often presented to us by the people around us like our parents, teachers and people of influence and authority. Click here to watch it.
Isn’t it sad that people let themselves be defined by what others think and say about them? Research has shown that 96% of all women are unhappy with how they look; 80% of female students are unhappy with their bodies and are directly linked to the negative comments of family and friends; a third of children around the age of 7 feel that they need to lose weight; 70% of primary school children think they are not good enough; and 75% of girls with low self-esteem admitted to engaging in wrongdoing such as bullying, smoking, cutting themselves, drinking, and talking badly about themselves. Not only this, but the worldly mirror wants to convince us what the perfect husband, wife and children should look like: They must be strong, beautiful, perfect, etc. The fact is this worldly mirror is a false mirror. It is filled with botox, plastic surgery, pretend, make believe and to round it off… photo shopped.
Why is this important to realise? Because the mirror of the world makes many people feel that they have no worth and value, think they are not good enough and this leads to a low self-esteem which has an effect on every aspect of my life, including my career, relationships and the decisions I make. Living like people with no self-worth, becomes a trap that leads to self-dislike, to criticism of others, to wrong considerations when choosing our partners, the breakdown of relationships, etc.
But there is an alternative.
God’s mirror of truth and life
I would like to invite you to look in a new kind of mirror, a mirror of truth, life and abundance, a mirror of fulfilment, contentment and tranquility, a mirror that says that there is only one like you, someone that is awesome, precious and very special, a unique masterpiece.
I want to share a few passages from the Bible that will give you a glimpse into God’s mirror and I hope and pray that you will use this lens to look at yourself and others? Gen 1: 26-27, 31 says this: “God said, let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness. (GNB says: …they will be like us and resemble us). So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. (AMP)”, and also in Ps 139: 14-17: “I thank you, High God – You’re breath-taking! Body and soul, I am marvellously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! (MSG)”
If you think you are not good enough, that you are a nobody, come and look in God’s mirror. The Creator of the universe has invented and created you. You were made in His image and resembles Him. You have position, status and the value of a royal child. Do not let the world define you. Do not let people determine how you feel about yourself. You are artistically woven together. You are a masterpiece. After all, that’s how God sees you!
Yes, it may be that you have body defects that you feel self-conscious about, or that you have a less perfect career, or that your children aren’t top achievers, or that you don’t live in the “right” neighbourhood, but God invites you to see something else and you need to believe this and make it your own: “I’m beautiful created by God. There is only ONE like me!”
There is only one like me! Celebrate it and start LIVING!
It is time to start thinking differently about the real me. I am what I think. My thoughts determine my actions, my future, my happiness, my life. So, it is time to realise that there is only one ME and that this must be celebrated.
I want to challenge you to stand in front of the mirror and celebrate who God made you to be. Forget the wrinkles, crooked noses and flaws and celebrate who God made you: “Someone special and beautiful, someone made in the image of God, someone with gifts and talents, someone who is artistically woven together, someone unique and special!” Break the yoke that the worldly mirror and people have put on you. You are good enough! Your dad and teacher were wrong when they said you are not good enough and that you are not going to make it. Do not let people and the standards of this world define you. You are unique. Watch the Dove beauty sketches again.
Did you know that since beginning of time it is estimated that approximately 107.8 billion people have ever been born? Why is this important? Because of these 107.8 billion people that have walked the face of the earth, there is only one like you with your fingerprints, your ears, your eyes, your talents, your life purpose, your passions, your personality, etc. How great is that! You are unique, so change the way you think about yourself and start celebrating who you are and start living your purpose and make a real difference. The world wants to keep me focused on how bad I have it, and how I’m not good enough and this will keep me from seeing how God sees me: Someone who is worth living a life of meaning and abundance.
There is only one like you! Celebrate it every time you look in the mirror and praise the Lord for whom He has made you. You are robbing the world by not believing that you are unique and special. You have so much to offer. Belief it and start living it!
So when next you look in the mirror the world wants you to look into, ask yourself these powerful questions: “How does it limit me to look into this worldly mirror?”, and “How will it serve me to look into God’s mirror of truth and life?”
Have a blessed day!