She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Genesis 16:13 NIV
No, I’m not coming onto you. I’m asking you a legitimate question. A question I’ve been asking myself a lot as of late. When I look in the mirror, am I seeing the person that God sees or am I seeing the person the world tells me I am. Am I seeing all of the wonderful things that He has put in me? Or am I focused on all of the flaws that the world around me says I possess? The answer to this may come out as an immediate declaration that, of course, we see our own beauty, but if we examine our behaviors closely will they reflect the person that God sees and knows that we can be or will they fit more closely with what those around us tell us we look like to them? Whether it’s a parent that we cannot seem to please or a spouse who never intended to look past how we could serve them or that friend who has never grown up past the point in time where you had the most fun together or an employer who sees us as a bottom line producer or a child who sees us as either a person who provides for their every need or one who fails to provide? What reflection is staring back at you?
I had a strange encounter with a woman this past weekend as I was out listening to a band at a local bar. Yes, every once in a while, I do go out. Nearly alone in my sobriety, it is always interesting when I have the opportunity to interact with an inebriated patron. The woman had bumped into me several times as she was attempting to get up out of her seat and after the third time, she turned to me and said apologetically, “I’m so sorry I keep hitting you. My rear end is way too big, but I love to eat…and I love to eat bacon,” she said. Well, bless her heart, I had to reassure her that it was quite alright and that there really was no shame in liking food, especially bacon. It occurred to me that her speech was one that she employed frequently to apologize for being what she considered to be a larger woman. I thought she was beautiful, but I could see that there was no way that she would ever believe that about herself. And this made me very sad for her.
My own experience with accurately seeing my reflection has been all over the place. I’ve spent most of my life trying to live up to the usual roles that family places on its first-born daughters. I’ve tried being the “responsible one,” I’ve tried being the “screw-up,” I’ve tried being the “sad one,” I’ve tried being the “angry one,” and I’ve even been labelled as the “one who we avoid because she’s no fun now that she’s a Christian.” Most recently, I’ve felt like the “one who can’t win,” but this, too, shall pass. Sometimes I have to wonder, will I ever see the woman that God sees when He looks at me? I know that He has given me many great qualities, but I sometimes have difficulty accepting that these are of any value when society tells me time after time that who I am just doesn’t fit who “they” want me to be. It’s hard to look around and see people who are clearly suffering because they have no relationship with or foundation in Christ and know that at one point in time I was right where they were, yet I cannot yet articulate clearly enough to them the peace that comes with building a relationship with Him.
Yes, at first, it is painful. It’s painful to confront who we are when we are living a life that is entrenched in sinful behaviors and attitudes. It’s painful, once we realize who is really in our corner, to cut loose all of the people in your life who are only there to tear you down and take whatever they can from you. It’s painful to be constantly reminded of just how little we should expect from one another in terms of our ability to be anything and everything for another person…it just isn’t possible. But the more we learn about Christ and His sacrifice and all of the history behind our creation and the purpose He had in mind for us, the more we grow to understand the purpose behind His sending Jesus to die for our sins. The more we understand about that, the more we grow to love Him and to want to see ourselves as He does. This doesn’t mean that we will always get it right from that point on, it just means that the path we are on will begin to resemble the path he had in mind for us instead of the one that leads us to a life filled with pain and suffering and lacking in the peace that comes with knowing that there is a Divine purpose behind every trial.
So, when you look in the mirror, are you seeing someone? More importantly, are you seeing the someone that He sees when He looks at you? He sees what has been there all along and what can be, allow yourself to receive His great love. Don’t be content with what others tell you is there…see as He sees you.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV