Truth in the Mirror

There is a flattering mirror in the gym that makes me look like I don’t need to be at the gym.

I have noticed it and while I usually avoid mirrors, I actually linger in front of this particular spot. I have believed its lies and thought that the scales and my tighter waistband must be kidding me.

There is another mirror in this same gym that gives me a different picture. This mirror is actually accurate and shows things I’d rather not see. Bruises, wrinkles, cellulite. But if I can rest in my Creator’s love for me and accept this true reflection, I can exercise in ways that help me make needed changes. I have to choose which mirror to believe and when to linger. The real mirror is uncomfortable, but facing and wrestling with the truth actually produces change in me.

“The real mirror is uncomfortable, but facing and wrestling with the truth actually produces change in me.”

I often avoid my reflection. I think that if I knew how bad the back of my hair looks or how big my butt looks in these jeans, I couldn’t handle it. So I just don’t look. I pretend it looks how I want it to.

I’ve realized recently that it’s the same with my heart. I’d rather not know how sinful I am. I spend so much time and effort hiding from the truth. For my pride to thrive, I absolutely need to avoid knowing my faults at all cost. I work to produce an image of myself that I like, but it is faulty. It’s just like the mirror in the gym. That mirror tells me lies and produces no change, no fruit. As a believer, I’m called to walk in the truth in every way. This means the truth about my body and my heart. I miss so many opportunities to know the Lord, to love Jesus, and to receive grace when I spend years of my life looking away and avoiding my reflection.

This practice of “not looking” is a tool Satan has packaged as “busy” or “low maintenance” or “selfless” or “aging gracefully.” The lie I tell myself is that I spend my time caring for others, not thinking about myself. Yes, but what about the time in between? You know. Facebook, email, Netflix, books, naps, meal planning, errands, calendars. I have mental space every day that I choose to fill up with junk so I don’t have time to really know my heart. Satan is brilliantly sneaky to trick me into thinking it’s good to not spend time thinking about myself. The smaller my sin is, the smaller the cross is. So Satan is threatened when I have time to reflect and to actually know my sin. He loves for me to be busy. He loves for my mind to be consumed with anything that doesn’t point to my heart. I have a couple of friends who point the truth to me and I wonder why we’ve drifted apart. It’s because I haven’t wanted to hear the truth. Ouch.

If I rush through life, looking down, looking away, and covering up, then I am indeed hiding. Shame makes me hide and cover up so I don’t really wrestle with the truth. But if I can see myself as a child of God, wonderfully and beautifully made, forever accepted into His kingdom, then I can be honest with myself. I can look in that mirror and although I don’t like what I see, I can learn to accept it. Once I am honest about my body, or my sin, or my relationships, or my finances–honest with myself, with the Lord, and with my community–then change can happen. The Holy Spirit can work in me if I stop working against Him.

I’ve lingered spiritually in all the wrong places – just like with that flattering mirror in the gym. The only hope I have is that my gentle Shepherd is able and willing to carry me to the mirrors that show me the truth He wants me to see and know. As I wincingly glimpse at my sinful reflection, it is painful. And yet, as I see his scarred hands holding me, I know that I am okay. Yes I need to change–my reflection isn’t what I want it to be–but I have a Savior that loves me and can carry me no matter my condition. The marks all over me are no match for the scars on His hands.

“I have a Savior that loves me and can carry me no matter my condition. The marks all over me are no match for the scars on His hands.”

Do you have time set aside for the Spirit to show you your heart? Do you have time in Scripture for His word to shed light in the dark corners? Do you have friends that give you an accurate image, or are they just telling you what you want to hear, showing you what you want to see?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24

Laurie DeMint

Laurie is a wife and mother to three children. She is often straightening up her house and looking for lost library books. She doesn’t feel like a writer but has a lot of stories. She attends our Pelham campus.