Summary: We can have a tendency to focus a lot on our image. Whether it's how we look, how we come across or how we're perceived. And to some degree we should it seriously but we can focus too much on our physical image and not enough on our spiritual image.
We can have a tendency to focus a lot on our image. Whether it's how we look, how we come across or how we're perceived by others, our image is something we take seriously. And in part, that's a good thing. We should be concerned with how we come across and that people perceive us correctly.
But sometimes the image we present is merely a superficial portrayal. People spend a lot of money altering their appearance; whether it's plastic surgery, cosmetics, clothes or some other way. One of the reasons why is because we don't like our image so we change it to suit the image we most want to convey. Women want to look like super models or Barbie so they go through the process to look more like them. Skinny guys lift weights to try to bulk up and look more masculine. Everyone has something about themselves they don't like.
Sometimes it's something they can alter: I was born with curly hair and I want straight hair so I get a straightening iron. I have brown eyes and I want blue eyes so I get colored contacts. Sometimes it's something that I can't change like an unsightly birth mark or a birth defect or maybe an incurable disease or illness. So I make attempts to try to hide these things; make them less detectable.
In all of this we see how easy it can be to have a poor self-image. The danger in this, aside from being depressed about how you look, is where this negativity could lead. We come to loathe ourselves. We're disgusted when we look in the mirror. We wish we were anyone else.
Maybe we're sick of the stares or tired of seeing those who look more like what we wished we looked like and we're jealous and envious. The irony is the one with pin straight hair envies the one with curly hair and vice versa. We become bitter, angry people who are miserable and unable to enjoy our life.
Unfortunately, what can happen is we become angry with God. We don't like how he made us so we conclude he either made a mistake or he doesn't love us like he loves other, more "gifted" people. When we develop this line of thinking we have a major problem.
In last week's sermon on being a treasure seeker, I said God viewed us as a treasure because he loved us enough to send Jesus, who gave his life to redeem us. Then I asked you to say, "I am God's treasure". Some of you may not have said it. Perhaps you did say it but you didn't really believe it.
Why not? Is it hard for you to believe you're a treasure in God's eyes? Why? Is it because of the way you look? Is it the negative things you were told growing up? Is it because of the poor choices you've made in life? Is it because of the sin you just committed for the millionth time?
If we were asked to describe how we see ourselves, would we have answers like, "ugly, fat, stupid, bad, worthless"? Would our self-analysis be accurate? How far off is our self image? How can we begin to see ourselves in the light that God sees us in?
1) Mirror, mirror on the wall.
We know this phrase from the 1937 classic, Snow White. The beautiful but wicked Queen stands before her talking mirror to inquire, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Each time, the mirror would respond, “Thou, O Queen, art the fairest in the land.”
But over the years, Snow White grew into womanhood and her beauty transcended every other woman in the kingdom. Came the day when the mirror said to the Queen, “Snow White, O Queen, is the fairest of them all.” From that time on Snow White was the object of the Queen’s hatred. The queen was more focused on her physical image than her spiritual image.
We might not have a magic mirror that talks to us but chances are when we look in the mirror we begin talking to ourselves about what we see. The defects and flaws jump out at us. They say the mirror doesn't lie. That might be true but if we have a poor self image, when we look in the mirror we might see something that isn't there. [pic of anorexic girl seeing a fat girl].
The true image vs. the perceived image; it's a scary thing. The reality is this girl is very thin but her perception is the opposite. So what she'll do in response to this will be to lose more weight; putting her in a more precarious situation. We might not look at ourselves quite as drastically as this but we can still see ourselves in the wrong light. We see all our imperfections and ignore all the positive qualities. Say we have pretty eyes but a big nose. Which one will we focus on more?