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Christian Living

Mirror, mirror

By Antoinette Pinckney

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. -James 1:26

In the classic fairy-tale of Snow White, the wicked stepmother asks the same question to her mirror repeatedly “Mirror-Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”  The mirror responds “You, O Queen are the fairest in the land”.  As time goes on, the queen asks the same question, until one day the mirror responded “Snow White, O Queen, is the fairest of them all”.

A Spiritual Surprise

Talk about a “burn”, no that’s a “super burn”.  Was this the truth?  Seems that mirror was lying to the queen the whole time, trying to please her, telling her what she wanted to hear.  Although the queen ruled all of the land, she constantly needed to be reminded of who she was.  Some might say that she was a true example of the ultimate narcissist, but in my eyes seems to me as if she was simply insecure.  No amount of makeup, jewelry, money, extravagant parties or food was ever enough.  She had to be told every day that she was the best looking.   Bitterness, jealousy and anger began to increasingly grow in her heart. The queen was so busy keeping tabs of Snow White she forgot her title. She was the queen, but deep down she knew that the condition of her heart was far less than what she proclaimed or deserved.

Ahem, Ima just go ahead and say right now because you may have guessed, this will not be a blog comparing myself with Snow White.   I gotta shoot you an honest one and say that many times lately I’ve been more like the queen.  It seems as if over the past months I’ve prayed and made a lot of declarations of what I’m going to stop doing or of what I’m going to do.  Then when hit with a lot of test, POOF, some of those declarations went right out of the window.  This walk sure aint’ a perfect one.  Believe me, on my off days I’ve had my moments where I think back to when I first became Saved.  I had thoughts of having all perfect days, because I gave my life to Jesus.  Wrong.  Those words were nowhere to be found.  I am only made perfect through my Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 12:9). So when I finally reminded myself of this (actually it was more so the Holy Spirit with a very blunt wakeup call), I had to admit and say “Lord here are the things I’m dealing with right now.  I say one thing to You with my voice, but these are really what’s in my heart, I need Your help.”

I went on to say “Lord you know when I say so and so is a manipulator?  Well I’m not that different, I try to control things, fix situations. And I’m tired of waiting for you to do things I’ve prayed about already, I compare myself to others, I haven’t fully forgiven that person, and I’m still angry at that other person”.  It was so hard, and as I write it still is to admit. I’ve begged and begged for Him to fix the same problem, but it seemed as if He hadn’t. But I constantly found myself back around the same mulberry bush, the same negative emotions that would cause my heart to sin.  Why would a God that says He loves me so much allow me to be treated this way or go through this?  I prayed and prayed so many times for Him to take my pain away.  But He reminded me about Paul and the thorn in his flesh.  He begged for God to take it away and at that moment God told Paul that everything he was experiencing was for a greater purpose.

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

He also reminded me of Jesus Christ and His prayer right before He gave His life for me on the cross.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

 Heart Surgery

Snow White was enjoying her life.  She was kind and seemed to make the best of every situation. This is what every Christian woman should be, right? I’m pretty sure she was aware that the queen couldn’t stand her, but she didn’t seem that fazed. Well, sometimes this girl right here is the opposite with queen-like behaviors.  The Bible tells us that those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the same way that sinners take are blessed. (Psalm 1:1).   I have gotten so distracted with problems/fearful thoughts that I forget that I don’t have control of anything.  Over the last year I’ve gotten a little better at not running to friends, tuning out with social media, my mother, anything or anyone I could talk to about what was going on with me.  My experience has been when I do those things that they fell upon deaf ears.  It was like talking to a wall and expecting for it to speak.  Finally, I began turning to the Lord.  It feels so much better releasing everything to Him, about my daily life, and being remind that my tree isn’t as firmly planted as it should be   (Psalm 1:3).

Recently the Lord asked me “who are you”?  “Huh? (pause) Well, I’m a child of the Most High, above and not beneath, the head and not the tail, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, the capstone that was rejected”, and the list went on and on.  Then these questions came flooding to me.  “Why don’t you remember all of these things when test come?  Do you really mean what you say?  What are you seeing when you look in the mirror? Name a time when you’ve looked in the mirror for more than putting on your makeup, or taking it off?  Are you reading all the Bible quotes you’ve plastered up on your mirror? You have forgotten who you are”.  I mean, He came hard for me that day, for my life—which is really His anyhow.

I have had moments where I’d sit and think about why others who claim to be Christians but not walking in the ways of the Lord seem to be “blessed” with all these “good things” happening in their lives, but I didn’t feel as if I could say the same.  My mind had begun to become warped with comparisons and on things and what other people were doing but not on my Heavenly Father.  Everyone seems to be having more fun than me, laughing, traveling, having a good ole time.  I think about the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).  The son saw everyone else having what he thought was a good time and wanted to veer off on his own and do the same.  In the end he realized that what he saw was only a mirage and it’s all fleeting, all gone with the wind.  (Ecclesiastes 1:14).  He went back to his father, exactly where he always belonged.

But sometimes admitting I have done wrong seems like it’s not an option.  I have a Holy persona to uphold, a mold to fit, I’m a Christian now, can’t talk about hardships.  These are the lies the enemy wants me to hold fast to, because if I do, if you do, we both are slaves to his fear and all the other emotions that comes with it.  We are to share our stories to include our mess.  I read a post the other day that simply read “Our testimonies don’t belong to us”.  We are to proclaim the greatness of our Lord from nation to nation, neighbor to neighbor, coworker, whomever the Lord places on your heart.  I am reminded of the woman at the well and how after her life changing conversation with the Lord, she was so moved by the spirit and thankful for what He did, she ran and told everyone.  She led others to know Jesus Christ that day.  (John 4: 1-26).

I’m gradually beginning to see why the Lord tells us to keep our eyes focused on Him and not others in so many verses of the Bible.  There are tons of scripture about not allowing the thoughts of others to crowd our judgement, walk in fear, or make us lose confidence of who we are in Christ (Isaiah 2:22, Psalm 8:4, Psalm 146:3, Psalm 33:16-20, Isaiah 51:12, Ecclesiastes 7:21-22) to name a few.  Paying attention to others planted seeds to allow envy and hate to grow new roots in my heart.  The bible tells us that “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:26).  I constantly am needing to be reminded of who I am.  This is not so much a bad thing, until I look to things and other people for the truth and not the Lord for that so called extra confirmation.  But God says haven’t I told you who you are, why are you paying attention to anything else than that?  When our eyes are not on the One who matters, we began to become distracted and immersed in a pool filled with emotions that are not from the Lord.  My eyes were focused on the wrong thing.  I am so thankful that I have a bold God that is not afraid to tell me the truth, no matter how hard is it for me to hear.  I don’t like it most times. I mean who wants to be told you aint all of that like the mirror did with the queen. And that what I’m saying does not come from a full heart of peace, of the Lord even with an Amen behind it.   How can I get mad?  Paul speaks to the Galatians and ask “Have I became your enemy because I have told you the truth“. (Galatians 4:16).  The Lord is truthful with me because He loves me and cares about the condition of my heart.

True Shepherding

More things that He’s teaching me is that what appears to the naked eye is not always truth.  When I compare myself to other people, I lose sight of all of the blessings God has bestowed upon me, my testimony, and what He’s done in my life.  I’m so clouded with distractions that I can’t see Him.  The real enemy is not those people I or you have problems with, it’s satan who has the main goal of causing disruption, distraction and wanting people to rely just on what they see and not trust in the Lord so we can end up where he is, hell.  There is a whole spiritual battle that the naked eye cannot see (Ephesians 6:12) and it’s important to constantly stay protected with the word of the Lord. I refuse. I refuse to go back to where I was 10 years, 1 year and even yesterday. I refuse to allow others to win and make me feel defeated.  Every day we choose to get up, commit our faults to the Lord and seek His mercy and grace is another chance to grow, know down a fallen lying angel, and allow the Lord to work miracles in our lives (Romans 8:31-39).

This Snow White story didn’t pop up in my head by accident.  I hadn’t read that story since I was little girl.  You see God, I had been hearing what He was trying to say to me.  He had to take me back to the elementary level, because frankly that’s how I’ve been acting. Although very tough, truth be told no matter how hard it is to hear, I am definitely significant, and precious to Him so much that He took the time to speak to me at that very moment by any means necessary (Luke 15).

So I’ll take this thorn and this cup and bow my head in all humility as God seeks to mold and shape me into the woman He needs for the glory of His kingdom.

Breakfast Chatter:

How many times do you look in the mirror a day?  How long each time and what do you see?

Are you more comfortable hearing what you want to hear rather than the truth?

As my heart breaks for Yours, as I seek Your face and Truth, may these thoughts and words You have given me help the person that needs to hear from You at this very moment.  May Your love, grace and peace pierce and reach the deepest-darkest places that are in need of You the most.  In Jesus Christ name I pray, Amen.

With Love,

Missy Anne