It’s Narcissist Friday!
If you are old enough to remember the television show, “Happy Days,” you will remember Fonzie as he went to comb his hair. He looked in the mirror and saw nothing wrong! Nothing needed to change, nothing could be better.
Most of us don’t look in the mirror with contentment. We look for imperfections and find them. Some of us are ashamed of what we see in the mirror. Even when all the fixing is done, we sigh and walk away defeated. So much change is needed.
We were taught that it was sin to look on ourselves with approval. After all, we are dirty rotten sinners always falling short of God’s expectations. The disdain we see in the eyes of others is just a reflection of the way He looks at us. Or so they said. So, we learned always to find fault with our performance and appearance and reason and more.
And we learned to apologize for our inadequacies. What better way to drive the point deep into our subconscious than to make us apologize for never being good enough? We believed the negative assessment about ourselves. After all, it came from everywhere. The world, the church, our families, our friends, the school, and on and on. We got the message.
These feelings of inferiority, what we see as our failures and weaknesses, give an opening to those who would hurt us. There are people who push us toward those feelings, then pretend to offer something better. Narcissists and other abusers tell us of our inadequacies so they can show us how good they are to allow us into their lives. They cultivate that feeling of inferiority in us. They put us down to lift themselves up. But they offer nothing to us except bondage. When we look to them to make us feel better about ourselves, we give them power over us.
But here’s the real story. It’s in two parts.
First, you are complex beyond understanding. Not even you can handle all the intricacies of you. No definition could describe you in all your aspects. So, if you are looking to find fault with yourself, you will always find it. The short time of your life is not enough to fix everything.
And you don’t even know what should be fixed. Body images change as culture changes. The “perfect” body is redefined almost as fast as clothing fashions. Skills that once lifted people to high ranks are dropped as new technologies come in. All abilities and characteristics are affected by what the culture desires and how the culture moves. Young people lament what older people wish they still had.
Second, the complexity of each person and the differences between people are witness to the amazing creativity of God. To make this even more amazing, God has built growth into our being. Not only are we “wonderfully made,” as the Scripture says, but we are not what we were nor what we will be. We are constantly changing. This means that change is not only possible, but inevitable. God’s creativity in you is dynamic.
Of course, there are things we would like to change in our lives. There are some things we really should change. We can make good changes in us. Stop abusing yourself. Stop yielding to addictive behaviors. Take care of yourself. But understand that this process of growth never ends.
Here’s the lesson: When you look in the mirror, you are seeing someone loved by God, designed by God, blessed by God. You are seeing someone who is wonderfully made and kept. You are seeing someone who is changing constantly. Give thanks for the person you see.
The Serenity Prayer has been an encouragement to so many.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Participate in the change God brings to your life. Allow His creativity to be a blessing for you. Trust in the guiding hand of the loving God.
And when you look in the mirror, be at peace. No one is like you. You are growing and changing and God is in the process. Be content with who you are in Him and where you are on the path. When you are content with yourself, you give no opening to the abusers.
Never tell yourself that you are ugly or stupid or any other negative thing. That’s not true, but it will bring poison to your heart. Instead, speak the truth to yourself in love. Tell that person in the mirror that he/she is loved and valued and welcomed in the heart of God. Give praise to the Lord for what you see. Thank Him for the changes He is making in you. And be content.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.