I have never possessed an object for which I have so much disdain and love for all at once. I dislike it because it shows me all the things I do not like about my appearance and how my appearance has changed as I have aged. Small wrinkles starting to appear, tired eyes, and crazy hair are all highlighted, and sometimes magnified in front of the mirror. And yet, I love the mirror. I spend so much time in the morning arranging my hair just-so, making sure my makeup is just enough to cover the pimples but not too much to be obvious. I put on an outfit and change my shoes or sweater because it doesn't "look right."
I hate standing in front of it but I keep coming back and lingering every time I pass by a window where I can see myself.
It's so frustrating and I know I'm not the only one. For as long as I can remember, I have worked so hard to not let my self-worth and value come from what I see in the mirror looking back at me.
But here I stand...again...critiquing my appearance and allowing Satan's lies to shape how I view myself.
A few years ago I penned this in my journal and today, as I write this, it stings a little more than when I originally wrote it:
Here before me
Stands a girl
Professions and confessions
Being too much
That one day
Who doesn't have to.
The problem with the mirror is that we (and by we, I mean me) spend so much time making ourselves appear to be what we think other people want to see. I say that I don't care what I look like but then the way I speak about myself and to myself while I'm in front of the mirror, says otherwise.
The problem with the mirror is what it doesn't show:
What makes us unique.
The mirror often does not truly reflect how God sees us.
Many of you have probably read Song of Solomon 4:7 that says, "You are altogether beautiful, there is no flaw in you." For me personally, that verse has brought me so much freedom. I am beautiful. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords thinks I am beautiful. When I was in high school, that verse became a lifeline but now that I'm older and I feel the unspoken pressure to start "settling down," I find myself doubting the validity of the verse. If I am truly am beautiful, why are things the way they are now? Why has nothing changed?
The Lord used the story of Solomon dedicating the temple to show me that absolutely nothing has changed about that verse. His Word is active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The verse hasn't changed, the character and heart of the Lord hasn't changed, but I have. My wavering attention span and inability to truly listen to the heart of Jesus within the pages of Scripture have brought me back to this place to where I need my Savior to step in and show me that He thinks I'm beautiful, inside and out. To read more about the temple's construction and dedication, read 1 Kings 6-8.
Solomon was guided by the Lord as he built the temple. Each stone, each cedar plank, each ounce of gold was laid in reverential silence. Each and every detail perfect in the eyes of the Lord, proven by His presence, so overwhelming and thick that the priests could not perform their duties. His presence as firm and sure and constant as the cloud by day and fire by night... As reliant as manna from heaven. The temple was finished and perfectly imperfect, created by human hands for the purpose of His glory and His redemption.
But what does that mean for me?
I am the temple of the Lord, indwelled by the Holy Spirit: firm, sure, constant, and reliant. But unlike the temple, I am not made by imperfect human hands. The same God who lives within me has made me. I've been knit together in the secret place (Psalm 139) with more detail and care than Solomon or David could have ever dreamed of. Now, because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the thick cloud is mine and I am His. I do not have to enter into the Holy of Holies - His presence is within me. On the cross, my temple was finished and the veil was torn. I have the cloud. I have the fire. I have the manna. Constant. Sure. Reliant. Trustworthy and available with just a breath, a whispered prayer, or a flood of tears.
And if I ever need a reminder of God's purpose, His glory, and His love, I need only to look in the mirror and view the temple God created. I am the temple: made, cared for, radically loved, redeemed, beautiful, and created for His glory.
Many days, I may allow my imperfect, human thoughts of my reflection define my worth. Now, I am challenging myself to look at the mirror through the eyes of Jesus. Yes, there may be pimples, wrinkles, and crazy hair but here is also purpose, love, and relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What defines me is not what I see but what He sees.
I am currently a teacher and life-long student of Scripture learning more about life and Jesus's marvelous love and boundless grace.