How we see ourselves

By Denae Jones – 

There is nothing sweeter than looking into the eyes of a newborn baby. It’s the face of pure innocence. They’ve not yet learned to fear. Or judge. Or criticize. Or form opinions. Hopefully they have not yet been hurt. Their life, their future, can literally be anything. Don’t you wonder what they will become?
Have you ever witnessed a baby looking in the mirror for the first time? They are fascinated! They can’t figure out who it is, but they see someone smiling at them and can’t help but smile back. They see a little person that they love.
I’ve seen my toddlers climb onto the bathroom counter and watch themselves brush their teeth in the mirror. They giggle and laugh and make faces. They don’t mind that their hair is disheveled or there is a stain on their favorite shirt. They are just happy with who they are.
I’ve seen my young son dressed up in his Spiderman costume, flexing his muscles in the mirror. He would go on and on about what he was going to do that day to help save other people. The person in the reflection was nothing less than a hero.
I’ve seen my six year old daughter in her favorite dress, with hair she fixed herself, and adorned with bracelets, rings, and a tiara. She looks in the mirror with perfect approval at the image that looks back at her. Not with vanity, but with satisfaction that she is perfectly and wonderfully made. She twirls away and asks everyone to look at how pretty she is today.
Somewhere along the way, we seem to lose that. At some point, we start getting very critical. Instead of first seeing all of the things that are great about ourselves, we immediately notice all of the things that aren’t. A skin imperfection, or too much weight, or ears that are too big, or gray hair, or clothes that are out of style, or too many wrinkles. Why do we do that?
Maybe we can learn to look in the mirror and realize that what may seem to be imperfections on the surface are actually blessings in disguise. Yes, maybe we haven’t lost all of the baby weight, but have a child planting kisses on our cheek to show for it. Maybe we have gray hair, but have endless stories of love, laughs, and wisdom to share with others. If we learn to look past what we view as flaws, maybe we can see that the kindness, the intelligence, the hope, and the talents are more important than the mistakes, the failures and the flaws. Maybe we can learn from those little ones, and only see the good things reflected back.
Then most importantly, we can take that lesson and do the same when we look at others. Do we first criticize? Or do we look for the good? Let’s try to look for the blessings beyond the imperfections. After all, don’t we want them to do the same when they look at us?
I’m so glad that God does not see us through the same lens that we see ourselves. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) When we look in the mirror, let us see God’s handiwork. Like the little ones, let us see the hero, the friend, the beauty, the person that we love, because God loves us. Let us go about our day doing good for others and find happiness while we are waiting to discover what new goals He has prepared for us.
Have a blessed week, friends!