Ephesians 2:4-5 (NKJV)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved.”
Do you ever take the time to do a self-critique? Not just what you may see on the surface, but what may be going on in the deep recesses of your mind? If you do, is it easy finding fault with yourself or is it more convenient to ignore or make excuses for what you may do or say?
Recently I encountered two separate situations over the course of a few days that had me taking a fresh look at myself and who I was as a person. I happened to walk up to a conversation where the question was raised, “What do you see when you look into the mirror?” This actually did get me thinking, but with my busy schedule my mind quickly pushed it into the background.
This is where it remained till a few days later when a similar question came up when the premise for a program was being explained. The participants were asked to find out what God created them to be. This pulled the previous question out of the confusion to where I could be examined closer. So have you ever actually genuinely looked at yourself in the mirror? I have, but it had been quite some time since I dug deeper than a few layers below the surface.
I actually had a mentor in the military who would encourage us to take the time to self-critique by asking ourselves things like if we would want to work with or for ourselves. I can honestly say that over the years it would be equally split if I would or would not want to. It says a lot about a person if they admit they would not even want to work with themselves for any number of reasons. How about you, would you be able to work for yourself?
Better yet, let’s get back to looking at ourselves in the mirror. After I got past the initial shock of what I saw, it was an interesting staring contest which in some ways I lost. Even though I have made great strides in my walk with the Lord I was still somewhat lacking in the self-confidence department. Not that I was apprehensive about most of what I did throughout the day for my job or family, but an uncertainty that likes to hide deep inside some of us all when it comes to our walk with Christ. God has given me a gift of writing and it continues to improve, but I am hesitant to share or engage verbally.
I wouldn’t even attempt to guess how many people have the confidence to speak to people about Christ anytime or anywhere knowing they can cite the perfect scripture or know the perfect thing to say. All I know is that I am not one of them. I can quote scripture some of the time, but more often can only remember a part or fumble with the delivery. Too often I have silently prayed as I paused to answer, but God always gives me the words I need to say. Then afterwards I have to apologize to God for doubting Him.
As I continued to delve into this complicated subject, I encountered three separate answers to help me overcome the underlying apprehension that continued to lurk in the shadows. Two were things that can be learned and one that we all should do. The first was, “As you believe in Me you have to learn to believe in yourself.”
This took me back to the basic beliefs that are professed. Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins we have confessed. He rose from the dead to fulfill the scriptures and those who believe in Him will have eternal life. I know there may be other or more expanded variations, but I have always tried to keep things simple without over complicating it. I know my Redeemer lives and through His Grace and Mercy I have been saved. He has lifted the weight of guilt from us, so we can confidently stand in His glory no matter what.
The second answer was, “You need to feel My love for you and learn to love yourself.” This may sound simple enough, but we tend to let our emotions influence our connection to God and our self-worth. An unkind word, an embarrassing situation, or even just that anxious moment when you don’t know something can create a separation and cause you to feel unworthy. Have you ever gone through a time where you felt disconnected from God?
I know I have. I was one of those people who thought I could handle everything myself and just lock those negative feelings away, but you can easily get to a point where you feel trapped or lost. I had to realize that I wasn’t perfect and we should embrace the faults that make you unique. We must always remember that God loves us no matter what and should emulate that love for ourselves and others.
I wondered how I should do this till I heard, “Show them that you see them, hear them, and that I love them.” In a way I felt foolish for having to be given this reminder, but it was correct. How often we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to someone God has placed in front of us. That is why we need to share God’s protecting Love that we feel surrounding us, with everyone that is hurting no matter who they are.
As I worked through everything God placed on my heart, the words to a new poem began to form. Soon I stared at a page with nine couplets, but no title and no ending. I put it aside to get a shower before church and continued to think through what was written. As I thought about God’s wonderful love for us, I remembered the passionate words my Pastor used to describe it and it fell into place as the perfect title and ending. So please enjoy those words I was led to write and join me in sharing His, “Outrageous Love of Another Kind.”
OUTRAGEOUS LOVE OF ANOTHER KIND
I’m staring at the mirror not sure what I see looking back,
I know the gifts that I’ve been given but not sure where I lack.
I keep trying to look past the surface to a place deep inside,
To find all those answers in the places they may try to hide.
There are times I question if anyone really hears or sees me,
This is when I am not sure what You have created me to be.
I’m being asked all these questions by those who are yearning,
but who am I to give them answers for I am also still learning.
I now find there is a wall in front of me that I can’t get around,
Lord, show me what I am missing so the way to go can be found.
Child, when you look in the mirror what do you see in the reflection,
Is it a picture of joy and happiness or a frame filled with dejection?
There will be days when you slip and fall then have to pick yourself up.
That’s when you stand in My strength even though the world won’t letup.
You need to feel My love for you and trust My path you are on,
I am there beside you and from Me your strength can be drawn.
I have chosen you to spread My word and bring the lost to me,
So uncover your lantern and shine My light for everyone to see.
Go search, even in the darkest places, for whoever you may find,
Then share with them My Outrageous Love of Another Kind.