Mirror, Mirror on the wall… Are you still reciting this fairy tale rhyme? When you Look into your mirror what do you see?
Of course, we use a mirror to make sure we don’t have wild hair or a smudge on our face. But what we tell ourselves when we look at our reflection is more about our identity than our physical appearance.
The problem with mirrors is, if you are not looking in the right mirror you are going to get a distorted image of your true identity.
A full-length mirror hangs on the closet door in my bedroom. It was in my childhood bedroom, and now it’s in my adult bedroom. I use it every day. I’ll be honest; I don’t like my reflection, and every time I look at my image that is precisely what I tell myself.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we shouldn’t want to improve on ourselves. But we can’t do that unless we are using a mirror we can trust.
I have trusted my bedroom mirror for years to tell me about my physical appearance. But then one day I took a visiting friend into my bedroom to show her some updates I had done. She took one look at the mirror and blurted out, “Your mirror is distorted.”
My first reaction was to think she was just in denial because she didn’t like the reflection it was showing to her. However, as I looked through her eyes, I could see the distortions.
Why hadn’t I been able to see those flaws before? Good question. My answer would be that my focus was in the wrong place. I was focusing so much on my flaws I couldn’t see the flaws in the mirror.
And that is exactly what happens when we trust the wrong mirrors to discover our true identity.
But in Jesus, we have a mirror we can trust. He is the only one who can or will reflect our true identity back to us.
You may have noticed I have an unusual first name in that it is spelled with only one letter. It was a standing joke with my classmates that on the first day of school, when the teacher asked what the K stood for, they would recite as a whole, “It’s just plain K.”
Everyone, including the teacher, would all get a good laugh. But the truth is plain is exactly how I saw myself when I looked into the mirror. It is the lie that I told myself for years. I’m just plain K. Nothing special about me.
That all began to change as I grew in my relationship with Jesus. I began to trust the reflection of who He says I am.
I went from “Just Plain K” to “Special K.” Now I’ll be honest with you. It’s still a struggle for me to say that. It sounds so egotistical. Not to mention it is still hard for me to see myself as special. I’ve been looking in that distorted mirror for too long. But I want to discover and embrace who He created me to be, to know my true identity. So I am using a new mirror.
In his book Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning tells us, “Define yourself radically as one beloved of God. This is the true self. Every other identity is an illusion.”
“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)
One tool that helps me not slip back into plain K mode is a list of scriptures that point out and remind me the truth about who I am in Christ. It was developed by Freedom In Christ Ministries, and I use it every morning during my time with God. I read it out loud before I start my day. You can get a free copy here if you would like to use it too.
Jesus really does want us to know how He sees us and what He knows is true about us. He is not willing for us to live in the reflection of a lie so He invites us to journey with Him.
Ned Erickson of Young Life calls the journey a “progression” and it goes like this: “Get to know Jesus well, because the more you know him, the more you’ll love him, and the more you love him, the more you’ll want to follow him, and the more you follow him, the more you’ll become like him, and the more you become like him, the more you become yourself.”
Let’s make Jesus the only mirror we trust. It’s not about our accomplishments or failures or gifts or anything else. We are only truly defined by what Jesus says about us. We find ourselves in Him.
Remember, there are only two questions that matter. Everything else hinges on your answer. They are: “Who do you say Jesus is?” and “Who does Jesus say you are?”
This post first appeared June 27, 2017