Mirrors can be deceiving.
Remember the carnival fun houses with mirrors that made you look really tall and skinny…or short and wide. There were the some that created a wiggly reflection that always reminded me of fried bacon. (Great, now I want bacon.) Others affected only your torso, so you looked like you had really short legs…or were all legs. Depending on the design, the different parts of your body were distorted. It was funny to go through one of these and even more comical to watch others. Children are especially fun to watch as they turn this way and that trying to figure out what happened from one mirror to another.
Have you heard it said that the camera adds 20 pounds? It seems so…I hope so. I will get ready for pictures at a family event and use the mirrors beforehand and think I don’t look so bad. Then, when we check the pictures, I wish I had gathered more of my clan around to cover all but my head. Does that photo reflect reality…or not?
Mirrors also reveal the truth.
Normal mirrors help us to check our hairstyle. To see the back, we need two of them. Putting makeup on often included a lighted mirror. I guess that is so we can see the tiniest imperfection and cover it up. If the mirror enlarges the flaw, it only enhances the need to cover it. I’m intrigued by the latest phase to go without makeup. I just wish it had started before my wrinkles came in. It works for younger women. Really well. I’m reminded of something my grandfather used to say “If the barn needs painting, paint it.” Let’s just say a little paint helps – too much and the wrinkles are exaggerated! But, I digress.
I’m thankful the need for glasses hinders my ability to see well after a shower. Add some exercise clothes, and I’m ready for the “before shot” in a weight loss ad. I really am encouraged by those brave enough to post these before and after shots with exercise and weight loss. I’m even more impressed by those who haven’t reached the after and still post their progress for the world…or at least friends of friends to see.
When I go to the gym – there are mirrors everywhere. Those in shape are facing them to see muscles bulging from shirts. I’m grateful for the areas that let me expend calories without counting rolls at the same time. What the gym needs in some spots are the funhouse mirrors that extend the torso helping us to envision ourselves tall and skinny. But then, we’d probably stop coming if the truth were so disguised.
Mirrors help us to assess what is needed. They show us the food caught between our teeth in case our friends don’t. They give clues as to whether this outfit matches or not. Bathroom mirrors and gym mirror walls help us to stay motivated to stick with whatever diet or exercise plan you’ve chosen to stay healthy.
But, after we walk away from the mirror, we can so quickly delude ourselves into thinking we’re OK as is. From the vantage point of glancing down, we don’t look so overweight, and we can’t see our own teeth. And, we risk staying as is…with extra weight and food in our teeth. Mirrors can only point out what is needed – we still have to do the work.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. (Jas 1:22–25. Message)
When I read scripture, God’s Spirit will show me areas I need to change and grow. I may be convicted about some sinful attitude or the need to forgive another person. Areas of service may come to mind. But, if I don’t do something with what God is doing in me during these times, I risk leaving my time with God unchanged. But it might not be spinach in my teeth. It could be a log in my eye (Mt. 7:3-5).