(a guest post from my husband that is definitely a gem for the rest of us!)
My favorite Christmas gift from my wife is a picture of Mickey Mouse sitting on a stool smiling, paintbrush in hand, looking at himself in the mirror. To his right sits a wooden easel and sketch pad. Mickey has painted enough that you can see the picture coming to life: it’s the face of Walt Disney. When Mickey looks in the mirror he sees the image of his Creator!
That colorful drawing has drawn my attention countless times and the more I look at it the more profound it becomes. It has caused me to not only look at myself differently in the mirror but to look inward and ask “How do I really see myself? What do I really think of me? What do I REALLY believe?”
These questions are so important to ask. Because what we believe about ourselves will profoundly impact how we show up in the world. It will affect every relationship and ultimately even determine the trajectory of our life.
Unless we’re aware, we will carry the same negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves into every experience and then
create meaning that fits with these beliefs.
Imagine you believe you’re not attractive enough to land the girl. You meet someone at a party, text her afterward and she doesn’t respond. Automatically your mind will categorize this as rejection because you’re not attractive enough and you won’t call her again. Later you discover she’d lost her phone and never received the text. You’ve lost out on a potential relationship because of your automatic negative belief.
Our beliefs absolutely create our results and become self-fulfilling prophecy. Replace that innocuous example above with more debilitating lies – i.e. I’m not a good dad, I’m not worthy of love, I’ll never find a job I’m good at – and you begin to see the damage our beliefs can do.
A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. James Allen
But what if we could see ourselves the way Mickey does? What if, as we looked in the mirror, we saw ourselves as a reflection of the Creator God who made us, as already enough, and as just who our creator planned us to be? Wouldn’t we have that same joy on our faces and be so much more at peace with ourselves? How quiet it would be with no self-judgment, no inner critic, no second-guessing!
To think this way will require some work; because we have been taught otherwise. Intentionally or not, our parents, teachers, sadly even our churches have communicated to us that our worth is based on how well we perform. From getting onto the right team, driving the coolest car, dating the hottest girl to going to the right school, making the most money, having the smartest kids – all become yardsticks to fitting in, to measuring up, to being “enough”.
This even translates to our spiritual lives. Are we volunteering enough? Praying enough? Giving enough? Not only do we fear others’ opinions, but imagine that God too is judging us negatively based on our behaviors, performance and actions. Evaluating us based on our DOing, instead of our BEing.
The truth is, as God followers, we are men restored to the image of our Creator. God, our Creator, sees us based on who he has made us to be when we chose to follow him. He is less concerned about our outward behavior than our inner being and sees us only as his beloved and unique tour de force. He is thrilled with his work and when he sees us he has in mind who we can become based on his creative genius. Imagine if you were to focus on THAT picture instead of the negative one of your inner critic!
As you begin to see yourself as God does, you begin to thrive…in ALL of your relationships
This one picture of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney has been instrumental in my ability to create a new story for my life. Every day I see it I’m reminded to see myself — and live from — my WHO and not my DO.
Take a look in your own mirror and ask yourself a few questions: Do you like what you see? Do you see the reflection of your Creator and the love, the joy, the destiny he sees? Are you willing to be honest with yourself? Then do a self-check:
- Self Awareness: Slow down, look in the mirror and think about your thoughts. Recognize that your beliefs and the results they are producing (or not producing) in your life are your responsibility. Change them or don’t but be intentional in your choice.
- Self Image: Truthfully admit how you see yourself and commit to make changes where needed. Understand your self-talk is optional. (This was a huge “aha” moment for me and very empowering to realize I could choose what I say to/about myself).
- Self Acceptance: Stop allowing your past to define you and fuel your inner critic. Instead allow your Creator God to be the voice you listen to and tell you your true identity/worth.
I’ll unpack this more in future blogs and dive deeper into the “how”. But for now, just know that your relationship with yourself is most important. As you begin to see yourself as God sees you and to choose to think from all that he says about you – you will be more gracious, more compassionate, more loving, not only toward yourself, but in all of your other relationships as well. Promise.
Until next time,
Strength & Honor