I hate the funhouse at carnivals. Especially the room where the mirrors distort the way you look. Sometimes they make you appear short, tall, fat, or faceless. They haunt me even now as an adult. When we have a distorted image of who we are, nothing looks real.
Since I was a child looking into a mirror has been especially tough. I think it started for me around third grade. I had suffered a head injury and was put on medication for migraines. These pills also increased my appetite, and I indulged; overindulged. As a result, I began to grow more in my waistline than in my height. My classmates were not kind. They were downright mean as a mean could be.
In our last segment, I asked you to stand in front of a full-length mirror and invite God to look in with you. What did you see? Did you ask God what he saw? My wife reminds my daughter all the time, “You are a beauty to behold, a beautiful child of God.” I have to admit I need to hear that as much as my daughter. But, unfortunately, the reality is this; if we are not attending to the affirming words of God, then we are hearing the condemning words of the devil. There is nothing more discouraging than to listen to these words over and over, “You’re not beautiful,” “You’re ugly, no one would want you.” These words come straight from the pit of hell. They simply aren’t true. So why do we buy into them?
Why do we practice these self-defeating words which shatter our souls and
bring us into the pit of despair?
As Christians, we need to look at ourselves and see that God loves us for who we are; that includes our minds, bodies, and souls. We must look at the outward and see how God loves us from the inside out. We must fight the negative thoughts we have about our bodies and turn to God. I struggle with this every day. In my self-talk, I want to be a beautiful man. The reality is I am. The fact is that what is on the inside shines out in my life every day. I need to get over the appearance issues of seeing a morbidly obese body to understand that God affirms me just as I am.
Each day we get to wake up is an opportunity to see God differently. It is an opportunity to stand in front of a mirror and see what God sees. It’s not about vanity. It’s about being a supernatural being in a very human world. We are beautiful creatures, and we need to love every inch of our bodies, whether or not they are perfect in our eyes.
If we don’t see ourselves as God sees us, we will be doomed to a life of misery and never measure up. When Jesus has baptized, the heavens opened up, and the Holy Spirit fell upon him when he came up out of the water. God said, “This is my Son the Beloved; listen to him.” We are beloved, and we should be listening to Jesus' words. They are words of affirmation and grace, and each time Jesus meets people in need, he affirms their humanity. He sees them as necessary and beautiful. He sees them as in need of a touch of grace.
Do you need a touch of grace today?
Hear these words from the Communion Liturgy, Jesus said, “This is my body which is broken for you.” “This is my blood which is shed for you.” Jesus' body was broken, and his blood was shed that we might have life and have it abundantly. So, stop looking in the funhouse mirrors and start looking into the face of God and seeing the reflection of the beloved child that you are. You are more than you think! You are the pinnacle of God’s creation!
This piece isn’t easy for me to write. It is tough to put myself out there; my hope is in doing so, you might find God in a way that you have not known God before. I want to invite you to call me at 716.485.6246, and I would be honored to share more of my story with you. Stay alert for more to come about this serious subject.
Go with God, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Rev. Daniel J. Bradley