Monday, May 30, 2011

Reflection: In the Mirror

Maybe none of you have these moments, but I do...

The ones where you look in the mirror and see something completely different and separate from reality...

Since the beginning of the year, I've lost about 2 sizes, which isn't a huge amount.  The more remarkable part for me is that I still sometimes look at my reflection in shock.  I'll put on a tried and true shirt, look at my reflection and exclaim, "What happened?"  There's real consternation there.  I think I enjoy the idea of "shrinking."  I even have goals in the back of my mind of shrinking further.  But truly, there's a disconnect somewhere.

I think it happens a lot for us girls, where we get accustomed to being overweight or of sub-optimal beauty, and we look for that in the mirror.  When we see something else staring back at us, we're surprised.  Even if it's good.  Even if it's real.  It reminds me of what a dear friend astutely said once:  "Someday, someone's going to tell you who you are, and you won't be shocked . . . ."

So I got a bit of money for my birthday, with strict instructions to buy myself some new clothes that don't fall off.  To Goodwill I went with my astute friend, shopping for new jeans and maybe a top or two.  I took 2 pairs of jeans into the fitting room, and seriously doubted my eyes when it didn't look like my butt was sagging.  The pants looked good.


Friend confirmed the jeans were winners.  Now to search out shirts . . .  and again I enter the fitting room, expecting lackluster or even bad results.  But no, Friend assures me both options are great.  "It doesn't make me look dumpy?"  I ask.  "No," she answers with an eye roll.

Foiled again by ye olde self-image.  I went into that fitting room expecting to see a girl who didn't fit the clothes.  Yeah, the old self is supposedly dying.  Daily.  But I really think this thing gets resurrected daily--if not momentarily.  In short, I'm losing weight, but I'm keeping it on the inside.  Might as well keep only funhouse mirrors around, for all the good real ones do me.

How utterly ridiculous.  Counter-intuitive.  Counter-productive.  Counter to reality.  Someone (another astute person in my life) asked once, "Isn't it wonderful when our experience aligns with reality?"  Wouldn't it be great if the girl in the mirror were the same girl we saw there?  It's still something on the horizon, and it is my hope that your self gets reflected on the outside, undistorted.

I remember (from my brother's tutelage) in the DC universe that Bizarro is the distorted clone of Superman.  His skin is gray, and his "S" emblem is backwards.  He uses Tarzan English, and he's usually depicted as more than a little dense.  He is Superman's less than mirror image.  You name it, Bizarro is less than the epitome that Superman represents. . . .  This should be sounding familliar to you.  Don't take the metaphor too far, but sometimes we see ourselves as Bizarro when our loved ones see Superman.  We are our own worst critics, right?


Now for a startling maneuver:   we look in the mirror, saying, "I am beautiful.  I am lovely" (If a Man Answers, 1962).  Shocking, I know.  We might start to believe it.  Our blind spots might shift from their current locations.  We might see loveliness even in bad lighting and unflattering angles.  It's just shocking enough to turn our reflected world on its ear.  And that's really all we're trying to do:  make our reflections match reality.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011



The chorus word God tells His people.  Remember who He is and what He's done.  Remember who they are in relation to and because of Him.

Um, me too.

I stand convinced I've been struggling with my identity so much for so long becuase I forget.  That also lines up with what God told me last fall:  Don't keep finding out who you are only to forget again.

I run around forfeiting my territory and my rightful claims on God's promises.  As a result, I go grasping for any facsimile that looks good at the time.  I'm left weak, bitter, adrift.  No wonder James 1:5-8 cuts me like a knife.  It's meant to.

No wonder I feel abandoned.  I've haven't been left; I've left.  That's the crux of the issue.  I run over every parcel of land, screaming, "God's left me.  He's failed me."  The fact is, I've deserted the place He prepared for me, where there is shade from the sun and cool water to drink.  If His embrace is my shield (Genesis 15:1), I've left His embrace over and over.

Then I get attacked.

When I leave Him, peace leaves me.  I'm open season for old attacks:  rejection, anger, pride, doubt.  Wow.  I don't know that I've ever seen it this starkly before, sans altar experience.  I've somewhat identified parallels between my relationship with God and Gomer's with Hosea.  Ouch.

Create in me a clean heart, Oh God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presense, Oh Lord,
And take not Thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation,
And renew a right spirit within me.

"When the pattern is right, the glory will fall." --Joe Oden

God, I want a new pattern.

Taken from a prayer written on 27 March 2011.