Finish the sentence: “I am _________________.”
Look in the mirror and finish the sentence: “I love my _________________.”
I have spent a lot of time thinking about words lately. Not just the words I write, but the words I think, hear, and speak. The words that influence my life. Some of the best, and yet most daunting, writing advice I have ever heard is “Make every word matter.” This is great advice when you write because you can choose every word you use to propel your reader further in. It is also true, without effort, in every other area of our lives because every word we hear, speak, think, and read matters.
But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
Ephesians 5:8-11, NASB (emphasis added)
Our community serves as a mirror. Their words are a scaffolding. What we see and what is built impacts who we are in such a way that we cannot afford to ignore.
Recently I spent a precious few moments with a dear friend. When I left her company, I felt differently than when I arrived. As I relived our conversation, I saw myself through her eyes. To her I am funny and beautiful and encouraging. I am intelligent and reliable. I am vulnerable and honest and real. I am fun to be around. I got all of this from a half an hour of talking with her about writing, life, fears, dreams. In other words we weren’t talking about me. After 17 years we each see the other as the best of us. So I have this friend, this mirror, out there always. She sees me as only she can and knows this truth about me that I only see when I’m with her, but is none the less true when I’m not.
The truth of God is always true. Even when you don’t want to believe it. And this is the truth. You are designed by a loving creator for your space and place and people. God looks at you and says “Loved. Redeemed. Mine.” You have nothing to fear of others’ success or abilities or mothering finesse. In God you are enough. Not because you can do it all and be all, but because you serve the God who is “I AM.”
We need to surround ourselves with those who speak this truth, God’s truth, over us and see us for who we really are. Not “yes” men and women, but thinkers who listen and speak truth and can just as easily say “Brilliant!” as they can say “This could be better.” Just as we can’t improve if we are constantly being told there is no room for improvement, we cannot thrive if we are constantly being fed a diet of lies, inaccurate comparison, and unsupportable standards.
It is essential to have community with whom we can be honest and from whom we can hear honesty. We need to connect face-to-face with those who build us up even when they are challenging us to be better. Because when we are alone the voices that are the loudest are the ones we are going to hear and believe. So let’s drown out those lies together.
Join the conversation.
Where does the majority of your self-impression come from? Who and what are your mirrors?
Do you believe what God says about you in the scriptures? (Click here for a short list of quick references.)
Do you have people in your life who see you clearly and tell you what they see? Or do you spend the majority of your time in your own head believing what the world and media has to say about you?
Note: I have been working on this post for a while. Everything I read and hear lately reminds me of this. The other evening I was making dinner and this song came on our prime station. Try by Colbie Caillat contains a powerful message we all need to hear.