I’m sure many of you have seen this extremely touching video making the internet rounds. It shows women describing themselves to an artist who cannot see them and then being described by someone else. The differences are striking, and the perception of the other person is much more accurate than the perception of the person actually being described.
I think sometimes we get caught up in assuming others are critiquing us when they’re really not. We’re doing that to ourselves beautifully without any assistance. Most of the world has so much going on that there isn’t much time or energy for lying around minutely focusing on my flaws. But Satan would really like for me to believe otherwise. I believe it’s one of his favorite deceptions. So how can it be fought? I think this video actually points it out in a striking way. What if we shared with others our positive descriptions of them? What if we were more open in our praise and in our affirmation? I’m not talking about empty flattery; we can see right through that. I’m talking about taking those things our heart feels and blurting them out. Without concern for the conventions of society. Without the constant check on our tongue of how we will be perceived if we are honest in our praise. Sometimes I think we are far quicker to share the negative than the positive, as if that makes us smarter or more sophisticated. What are we so afraid of?
A few years ago I was convicted to do more saying out loud of what I felt toward others. I realized that many would never know the things I loved or admired in them unless I spoke the words. And I wasn’t going to wait for their funerals and make touching statements once they weren’t there. So I became the rather sappy person that I am. I make people uncomfortable sometimes. I’m aware of this. I tell people I love them often. I tell my friends they are beautiful, that they are wonderful moms, and I write syrupy things about my husband on Facebook where everyone can see them. And I genuinely mean every word. Because in the grand scheme of things I really don’t care whom that bothers. What if a sentence or two could reset a little part of someone’s perception of herself? What if a blip of encouragement could realign someone’s courage with his difficult calling. What if we used these sometimes questionable avenues of constant contact with one another for something truly beneficial? Yes, we can try to stand on the bigger issues, and somewhere some of that may make a difference. But what is that worth if I miss the boat in my own house, in my own family, in my own circle of friends, in my own church, in my own community, in the realm where God has placed me? What if I’m spending so much time and energy on the “greater good” of mankind that I am ignoring the “Greater Good” at work in me doing what I am here to do! I want to do my work. It’s what I was created for. If that’s standing in front of thousands, I’ll do it (with trembling knees). But I know this, what I say to one person tomorrow has just as much power as a speech to the masses.
I don’t want to be someone who draws attention to myself. I want to be someone who is a reflection. A mirror.
Years ago I felt the Lord call me to a life purpose. My name means “from the King’s court.” I wanted my purpose to be that wherever I was and whatever I was doing, others would feel they had drawn closer to the Presence of Jesus. So what happens to me if I can in any way become that reflection? What if when I am with others, they see themselves more truly, more beautifully, and what if they see their Lord more clearly? What if their attention can be drawn away from me and onto what will bless, heal, or nurture them? Then I am free. Free from fear of others’ opinions. Free from turmoil over others’ acceptance. Free from anguish over others’ rejection. Free, free, free. Less of me, more of Him. There is so much win in that, it’s indescribable. And I am a long, long way from it. But I see it there in front of me, and I take each little step I can toward that goal. And I hope that tomorrow and in the days after that I can reach the people around me with a more accurate sketch of who they are in the eyes of God and who they are in the eyes of at least one person who loves them. The tragedies of the last few days in Boston and here in Texas are sobering reminders that we don’t have all the time in the world. Now is the most sure opportunity. Maybe as the Church we could be known, not as those who draw sketches with pointed fingers where imperfections and flaws are magnified and focused upon in great detail, but we could be the Artist’s mirror reflecting back to them the stunning portrait of who they are in the eyes of Jesus.