Distorted Self Perception
by Jesse L. Smith
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“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into that same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” –2 Corinthians 3:18
Have you ever tried to read the reflection of written words in a mirror? It really is a difficult task that requires your brain to interpret and mentally rearrange the letters in order to find the correct meaning. Although the mirror presents a likeness of whatever is in front of it, it is a distorted likeness that is not an accurate representation of the truth. If we were somehow able to take the reflection out of the mirror and set it alongside the object it was reflecting, they would not match! For me this was a particularly troubling revelation when I was in junior high school. I think I first ‘discovered’ the comb when I was in eighth grade, and began to part my hair in the rudest possible manner on the right side of my head. As my hair combing technique slowly developed throughout the year I felt by the end that I had mastered the art – until I saw my yearbook photo that summer. Not only was my hair an utter mess – but it was parted on the wrong side! I never realized that parting my hair on the right side in the mirror would result in a left side part in reality.
Of course none of this helped my rapidly developing self consciousness. The moment I realized my error I parted my hair on the other side and sprayed it in place- leaving me feeling uncomfortable for days. At least though I would be entering my first year of high school ‘normal’! My confidence however had taken a severe blow, after all in a sense I was operating blind now – and couldn’t rely on the mirror to tell me how I really ‘looked’. The next couple of years would be nothing but tragic for my poor ego, as the onset of zits and teenage awkwardness would only enhance my feelings of insecurity. At the time however I didn’t understand that the entire basis for my self image was deeply flawed – it was based on being pleasing to myself.
What if we all had the power and ability to change ourselves at will so that we could be pleasing to ourselves? I really believe that we would all end up looking like Michael Jackson. Michael spent nearly his entire adult life seeking to enhance his appearance- but only became progressively more distorted in appearance as the years passed by. There was nothing in Michael more different than any of us – only he had the power and resources to use surgery as an attempt to resolve a deep rooted insecurity that only God could fill. The way Michael perceived himself was vastly different than the way others perceived him, and every change he made only exaggerated his self consciousness and sense of inadequacy.
Weight gain or loss, cosmetic surgery, makeup or anything that you can use to alter your appearance will never give you the sense of confidence that only God can! Every human being is a divinely crafted masterpiece, formed and created exactly for the time we are living in today. However, you will never have that sense of confidence until you come into a relationship with the One who made you. King David of ancient Israel said of God, “I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.” –Psalms 139:14 The basis of David’s confidence was knowing that all of God’s works are amazing. As an individual you might not see yourself as amazing- but when you begin to believe that you are amazing because God made you- you will feel your confidence begin to soar. God was meant to be your mirror – as you take your eyes off yourself and begin to focus on Him, you will find yourself changing into that person you were meant to be.
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