How I Learned Humility From My $3 Mirror
When Katie and I were first married, we owned a $3 mirror, purchased from Target. It stood in a corner of our bedroom and did a very poor job of reflecting anything accurately.
Have you ever been to a carnival? Have you experienced one of those “funhouse mirror” exhibits that bloat and distort your image enough to make you LOL? That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about with this $3 mirror; you moved to one side, you lost 10 pounds, you moved to the other, you gained them back exponentially. A $3 mirror will usually do a poor job of reflecting what you really look like.
We have a lot of distorted mirrors in our lives. For example, our friends (though they love us as best they can) are not perfect reflective surfaces. Much of what we get reflected back from them is their stuff mixed with our stuff and things can get distorted in a hurry.
Our desire to please authority figures, especially parents (no matter how old we are), can distort the way we see ourselves.
Bad church experiences can definitely do it and we’ve all had some. Are we aware of the impact of those experiences or are we just cranky about church stuff, refusing to take responsibility for the repair work we must do with the help of others.
Pain from our past can distort and regularly does. When we don’t know the STUFF we carry around and deal with it appropriately, we remain distorted versions of our true self (yesterday’s blog talks about this).
And of course, our online connectivity allows us to constantly compare and contrast our own lives with a myriad others. This often leaves us feeling “worse than” or “better than” someone else, another distortion.
The only answer to distorted images of ourselves is HUMILITY.
Humility is not thinking too highly of ourselves. It is also not thinking too lowly of ourselves. In fact, humility simply means thinking rightly about ourselves. A life of humility is one defined by living distortion-free, by living out of our true selves – the people God fully intended us to be when he dreamt us up and created us.
The book of Genesis makes it clear that we are all created in the image of God. That means when we look at Jesus, we will see our true self reflected back to us. We will see our image-of-god-ness, our distortion-free identity. We will see ourselves as Jesus sees us and the end result is humility – the freedom to be ourselves.
Jesus thought rightly of himself. He knew his own loveliness. He knew his own belovedness. And it was out of that knowing that he made his way through life, transforming the world around him. Can we even imagine how seeing ourselves accurately could transform our world? Consider the ramifications of thinking rightly of ourselves:
- We would not feel the need to pose and posture in order to feel better about ourselves.
- We would not need to downplay our gifts and abilities for fear of threatening someone else.
- We would be at ease in our own skin.
Humility comes when we see ourselves rightly, free from distortion, and that only happens as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the one perfect mirror. What are some ways we could do that today?