the broken mirrors
"I hate myself."
I heard those words slip out from a voice behind me. I turned around to see a young woman recklessly flipping through a magazine while we stood in line to check out. She didn't look up. But I could tell that she meant those words as she returned the magazine to it's shelf, those pretty faces on the cover still slapping her soul.
My heart reached for her, only because I knew the trap so well. I see a culture of women (both young and old) so desperate to look worthy of a front cover that we will try anything, any angle, any filter, any color, any makeup, any position to try and step out of this shadow and not loathe ourselves.
But I gotta say something out loud here, out loud to myself. There is a truth that needs to pierce us clean through and let the light pour into us:
When it comes to discovering and defining who you are, stop looking into broken mirrors.
They are everywhere, hunting us, finding us, smothering us from the inside out. They reveal a problem in us, a problem we are scrambling to fix before someone notices, but our solutions fill the wounds with dirt. They show us we are lacking -- and we spend ourselves trying to find a mend.
They point out the fractures in your personality, the dent in your intelligence, the frizzy of your hair. They gasp at your height or your ears or your voice and convince you to compare, compare, compare.
You know the bondage, the heavy chains around your feet, the sharp fear of panic and shame that jumps into your face as you stare at those mirrors. You can't seem to look away, even though the blindness covers you thick. You begin to resent the perfection you cannot find in yourself, even on your best days. The hooks sink deep into our minds as insecurity creeps up our souls and thrives.
We've been staring for far too long at the wrong reflection.
Because the hope in a dark night and the life you paint in your dreams and joy that covers your bones is never found staring at yourself. And "self-esteem" is a trick of the world that only wishes for you to trip over freedom and become trapped within yourself.
The only "esteem" that will wash the sight-choking scales off of your eyes is the esteem of Christ.
By looking to Him we discover a world untangled from becoming more and fully satisfied with becoming less.
It's time to break eye-contact with yourself and look into the true Beauty of heaven and welcome the definitions He gives us. He gives us clean mirrors found in pages holy:
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he [Jesus] grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:1-6)
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:21-25)
Self-esteem does not heal the gaping holes in our souls longing for fulfillment or purpose, nor will it ever answer the questions of worth or beauty. Because esteeming yourself will only steep yourself in the same broken, insecure, self-absorbed nature you need rescue from. Worth, security, and fulfillment can only be found by esteeming the Savior of your soul, peeling open the law of liberty, and walking in freedom and obedience to what the Book reveals.
It's hard to change who we are -- until we change who we SEE.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE God." (Matthew 5:8)
Look to Him, dear one. Look to the One despised and rejected, crushed for you. Lift your eyes.