Friday, April 9, 2010

How Does My Hair Look Now? Admissions of an Amnesiac

Today's blog is an essay I wrote a while back, but never had the opportunity to post. Hope you enjoy it!

If you’re like me, you appreciate mirrors. You respect them, maybe even love them. If you’re like me, you use mirrors every time you see them, no matter where they (and you) happen to be. And if you pay the least bit of attention to your surroundings, you already understand that mirrors are everywhere in our society.

You see them in your bathroom first thing in the morning (sorry for the reminder) . . . inside and outside your car as you rev up the engine and head to work . . . in the elevator you ride to reach your office . . . along the walls of the studio where you take that aerobics class . . . Again, sorry for the reminder. But mirrors are everywhere. You can’t help staring into them, even if you don’t want to.

There’s definitely a part of me that doesn’t want to, the part that remembers First Peter: “Don’t adorn yourself just with outer beauty, but let your beauty shine through the hidden woman in your heart.” Right, right. And then there’s the part of me that says, “All is vanity. So I’ll be vain.”

There is a reasonable explanation for my obsession with my reflection—my unruly curly hair. My hair is like a classroom of seventh-graders on the last day of school. The curls don’t stay where they’re supposed to; they don’t obey. They’re not even organized in their rebellion. They just straggle all over the place. I have a nagging suspicion that they purposefully rebel against mousse and hairspray just to spite me. That’s why I pause whenever I see a mirror. Gotta check the hair, and put those curls back in place!

Mainly, though, I appreciate mirrors because a good mirror is like a good friend. Neither one lies to you. A mirror forces you to step away from any distorted view of life that stubbornly tries to dominate your thoughts. A mirror compels you to face reality. In the mirror, you see life as it is. You see yourself as you are. You see the truth.

You even see the piece of spinach that’s been stuck between your two front teeth all afternoon as you’ve been grinning up a storm in front of dozens of people, including that cute guy you’ve been trying to captivate with your fabulous coolness. (Been there? I have. At least once a week. It’s terrible. I’m exaggerating. It’s not that often, thank God.)

I’d apologize for digressing, but actually, I’m not digressing. Everything I’ve just said is crucial to my next point: I find it absolutely incredible how frequently, how easily, how habitually I take time to check my reflection throughout the course of any given day. I must do it at least ten times a day. It might even be more often.

And yet, when it comes to checking my spiritual reflection by looking into God’s Word, I’m not nearly that diligent or consistent. When it comes to remembering who I am as a Christian, it’s as though I’ve suffered a blow to the head and now I have spiritual amnesia.

How is it possible to forget so much of the truth about who God has made me to be—and to forget it so often? It’s like I’m on a schedule for it. Go to work, check. Break for lunch, check. Forget that Jesus lives in me, check.

Let’s be honest. We all forget the truth sometimes. We get busy. We fall into ruts. Maybe we have a past we’re not proud of, so we focus too much on the mistakes we’ve made. Or maybe we think too highly of ourselves, and start thinking we’ve achieved our success in our own strength, not God’s. Mostly, though, life just happens. And we forget what we look like.

The problem is, when we forget who God says we are, we go back to what we know best. We go back to seeing ourselves the way we saw ourselves before we invited Jesus into our lives. That’s a major problem, because God doesn’t see us that way at all.

I saw a picture once, in my mind's eye, of how God sees me. I was standing in the king’s hall, and He was calling me into His service. At that moment, I received a new name, a new position, and a new future. I became a new person.

That’s the influence of the King on you. When the King calls you and you answer, you are a new person from that moment forward. He changes you by the very virtue of who He is. To believe otherwise is, quite frankly, an insult to His power. He’s the King. He’s marked you. Admit it! And believe it!

We have so many images of this truth in our lives. A husband gives a wife a new name when they marry. A child receives a new family when he or she is adopted. We get a new office when we get a new job. We see this truth all the time, and yet the natural examples of it never do it justice. The natural never reveals the fullness of what happens when we are transformed into God’s image through Jesus Christ. He sees you and me in that fullness right now, right this very second, whether you and I see ourselves that way or not.

If only I’d look into God’s mirror more often. If only I’d remember to do it, take the time to stop my day, stop the anxious thoughts, stop the habitual approach to life, the acting-out, the foolish behaviors, and say: “Wait! How do I look again? Let me see.” If I did that as often as I check my hair, I’d be reminded again and again that the real me is a fabulously attractive person who has all the hope I need, all the peace in the world, and all the grace I’ll ever require.

Because if I’d look in God’s mirror, I’d see exactly how I look right now. I’d see who I really am. I’d see the truth. I’d see Jesus Christ. He is God’s mirror. And I’m a new creation in Him.

I’m pretty certain that if I’d look into Him a lot more often, I’d be a lot more conscious of who I am in Him every moment of the day. I would no longer be an amnesiac, would I? Wouldn’t that be worth making the effort to achieve?

I know one thing for sure . . . It would sure beat checking out what my curls are doing!

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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