What Mirror Are You Looking In?
Warning: Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.
That warning on a car’s side-view mirror warns drivers that the image in the mirror is not a perfect representation. Without that notice on the mirror, the driver might believe the car is that close behind them. The views and perceptions of the world would be distorted without even realizing it. This particular mirror is one of the few that have a clearly labelled warning - most mirrors don’t.
Most mirrors do not have a notice on them saying that the image in the mirror is not always correct. While a part of this image comes from the way mirrors work, there is a tendency to see an image from cultural mirrors or comparative mirrors. Society, culture, our parents and friends can all act as mirrors that distort how we view ourselves. They each show us in a different light - so when we look at ourselves in these mirrors, what is the image that we see? Truthfully, it may not be exactly what it seems.
What about that warped mirror? That mirror that tells us our body just isn’t the right shape, regardless of what it actually is. It’s too tall, too short, too big, thin, curvy, straight... anything that is not like that person’s reflection. The mirror’s dishonesty hurts everyone - even that person’s reflection may lie to them. Our efforts to correct the image in a wavy mirror will not be noticed. However, the warped mirror will never show progress or reality. It will continue to make those flaws and insecurities larger than they truly are. It only reflects what we think are the worst parts of ourselves and what we think others think are the worst parts.
The dirty mirror prevents us from seeing ourselves clearly. We have to squint and guess what our identity is, who we are supposed to be. Eventually we get used to guessing what that identity is or we have to ask others what it is. Even worse, the longer we look at that mirror, the less we realize it’s dirty until we see a clean mirror.
There is a mirror that we can look into that shows us as we were created to be. God’s mirror shows us as He sees us. He made us in His image. He designed our outside and inside with the intent to reflect Him. That clear mirror does not distort the way we look and how we feel like the other mirrors of this world do. This mirror calls us beautiful. This mirror calls us loved. This mirror calls us to a greater purpose and it shows our identity clearly as His beloved children.
So, what mirror are you looking in? Be mindful of which one you look into and know that your image may be distorted in a warped or dirty mirror. Instead, go look at yourself clearly in God’s mirror. Embrace how He sees and loves you, and know that even in the broken parts, He restores us to beauty as His image-bearers.