Most of my life, I wanted to see someone else in my reflection. I grew up the second daughter and older sister to two brothers.
At the age of five, we visited the optometrist and discovered I had to wear glasses. My first pair made me feel awkward and self-conscious. When I looked in the mirror, hoping to see something beautiful, I saw myself and felt ugly.
As a child, we spent most of the day outdoors. We loved to play jacks, pick-up-sticks, jump rope, baseball and other sports. One day while playing kickball, I took my glasses off and laid them in a grassy field. When we finished, I searched all over, but they vanished in a sea of grass, flowers, dirt, bugs, and stones. Everything looked the same. I asked everyone to help me, and eventually realized they were lost. I remember walking slowly home and dreading telling my parents. My “carelessness” resulted in a spanking and yes, a new pair of glasses.
As I became a young teen, acne covered my face. I was told “You need to keep your face clean”, so I scrubbed my face multiple times a day, but ended up with the same results. I can still remember avoiding mirrors and wishing I was someone else. I thought, “Why couldn’t I be like my sister, who was blond, beautiful, and a model in her teen years”.
I was so embarrassed to go to school and be around people. I tried makeup to hide what was erupting on my face, and it made things worse. I was trying to be someone else by artificial means and hide what others might think was ugly. I felt like an awkward ugly duckling. I grew up loving music, books, and movies, especially Walt Disney. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella became some of my favorite fairy tales.
Merriam-Webster defines Fairy Tales, in part as:
1. a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (such as fairies, wizards, and goblins); 2. a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending.
I object to the “children” part, as many adults love them as well. We have all sung along with many favorites, including songs from Frozen, “Let it Go” and “For The First Time In Forever”; from Beauty and the Beast, “Tale As Old As Time”; from Hercules, ‘Go the Distance”; from Tangled, “I See The Light”; and from Toy Story, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, to name a few. One of my favorites is from Mulan, “Reflection”.
I love this song, as it speaks to the reflections and masks I’ve worn. I spent most of my life “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places”. My reflections were based upon who I needed to be for others, trying to please people, and hiding behind my own reflection in the mirror. I like to call this “the many masks I have worn”. The reflections of those masks were sometimes beautiful and colourful, sad and drab, brilliant and stunning, but they were not me. They were based upon my own feelings and desires to be something or someone I was not.
I WAS LIVING A LIFE THAT WAS NOT MINE!
What does God have to say about who were are? The Bible tells us were created in the image of God. On the last day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). He formed Adam from dust and breathed into him. (Genesis 2:7). Our image and reflection is that of God. Yes, God is spirit (John 4:24) and exists without a body, but Adam and Eve’s body mirrored Gods, and was created with health and did not know death.
Even though Adam and Eve rebelled against God, we have found redemption in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. The only way we can be redeemed, is through accepting Jesus as our Saviour. Sin separated us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Jesus, we are new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So why do we try to be someone we are not. God knew you when you were in your mother’s womb, and we are all unique. Unique came hard for me, as I was still living in a fairy tale. Remember Cinderella and how beautiful she was dancing with the dashing prince.
Yes, she was beautiful, the gown was stunning, the beautiful glass slippers and the prince…oh my. We need to stop trying to fit into the glass slipper or shoes of someone else. Our feet were made to fit into God’s plan for us.
On that note, I have to say that I love shoes. It’s not that I own many, but I love to watch women and the uniqueness and beauty in the shoes they wear. I’m unable to wear high-heel shoes any more, but it doesn’t stop me loving them. Sisters, you look beautiful.
I recently returned from Carol Kent’s SpeakUp Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was the best conference that I have ever participated in. Hear me, I love Carol Kent, but she would be the first one to say, “You don’t want to walk in my shoes”.
It has taken me a lifetime of learning that God has a plan for my life. Yes, I’m older now, 66, and my weight is not where I want it to be and the list could go on. No matter how young or older we are, how we physically feel, God can still use us. Are you willing?
God has specifically mapped out a journey for you. When you look in the mirror, no one other than yourself, in the image that God has created you to be, should be smiling back at you. See God’s reflection in yourself.
Your sister in Christ, Jo