Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Restoring a Shattered Reflection

 "Hey gorgeous," an aquaintance said and I could feel my body recoil. Immediately I went to the restroom and looked in the mirror, trying to see what she saw to make her say that. Instantly the Lord asked me why I would search to see evidence of what a woman saw and would not search near enough for all He sees in me.

It happened at a women's retreat. I was in a valley. My marriage was in trouble again and I was 10 weeks pregnant. The doctor was pretty sure this baby would not survive and I had a kidney stone to top it off. I felt anything but gorgeous. I felt sad, tired and heartbroken.

More often than I would care to admt this has been my story; allowing others, circumstances or my own toxic thoughts to define me. I am controlled in the worst of ways by thoughts before I even hear words. It goes way back, but still haunts me today.

After my fifth child was born just before my 43rd birthday I went to visit family and I was tormented while packing because I knew my weight would be an issue and a topic of conversation. It always had and pregnancy would be no excuse.

I do not bring this up to expose my family, but to expose the enemy that has tortured my soul, at its core, my identity. After nearly two decades of following Christ, you would think I wouldn't still struggle, but I do. Not as much, but looking in the mirror is something I still usually avoid.

Today, as I read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional, I knew I had to share this. I knew I wasn't the only one. She was referring to a field of beans on their farm, which looked sparse when she said:
The field, it was hard to even look at it. I've known a face in a mirror much like that. 
It hit me, we struggle with this, not just me. It's not that I like to hear other's are struggling, but there is something about knowing I am not in this alone.

The enemy would love for me and you to think we are alone in any struggle.

Can I tell you a secret? The mirror lies. The mirror will tell you a perfectly crafted story of why nobody would want to be your friend, invite you somewhere or ask you to do anything.

The mirror is a master storyteller.

Since we all know mirrors don't talk we have to look at where this is coming from. It can come from one of two places, the enemy or our own mind. It is never God because He would never speak to us that way, He encourages and edifies.

Too often when I hear the voice I cower and look away as fast as I can. Honestly, that is why sometimes I avoid looking in the mirror in the first place. This is not a good strategy to defeat the enemy. I need to be proactive, I need to talk back.

I once heard someone say, "If you are not talking back to the enemy you are his captive audience." I don't know about you, but I don't want to be his "captive" anything.

The only way to defeat this is with truth.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,... 2 Corinthians 10:5
Do not be afraid to disagree with the enemy.

Once I had a startling encounter with the mirror at a departmet store. My son was about four months old and I still looked six months pregnant. I was there to buy a dress. The mirror had a lot to say that night, but I did something different, I talked back and I won that battle!

But there have been too many times I didn't talk back. Too many times I let the mirror, the enemy or a person tell me who I was. I did it enough times for it to become a stronghold in my life. Looking up the meaning of stronghold I found something interesting. On Biblehub.com I found this definition for stronghold:
3794 oxýrōma (from the root oxyroō, "fortify") – a fortified, military stronghold; a strong-walled fortress (A-S), used only in 2 Cor 10:4. Here 3794/oxýrōma ("a heavily-fortified containment") is used figuratively of a false argument in which a person seeks "shelter" ("a safe place") to escape reality.
I do not want the enemy's lies to be the place I seek shelter anymore, especially to seek a safe place. I have a safe place and His name is Jesus. After reading that definition Psalm 27:1 has a whole new meaning to me.
...The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 
I want to seek shelter in Him and Him alone will you join me?

He created me in His image, so when He looks at me He sees His reflection. Who am I to tell a different story or worse allow the mirror to?

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