I love my mom. I think it is fantastic that I want to talk to her on a daily basis. What’s even better, is that I always come away with some amazing insight from our chats. I recently have really enjoyed talking to my mom about God. She is the most spiritually mature person I know. She’d probably laugh at me if she read that, but it is totally true. My mother has had an hour or more quiet time every day since I was very young. I cannot remember a time that I didn’t wake up to Mom’s Bible, journal and her concordance strewn near the big chair in the living room. She loves hanging out with God. During one of our recent conversations, my mother said something that showed such discernment, I was blown away. First, a bit of background on our talk.
I was looking through some pictures on my computer the other day trying to find some that might be useful in our MOPS newsletter. I came across a file from a trip my husband and I took to his hometown in Oklahoma shortly before I got pregnant with my daughter. Actually, Oklahoma was so incredible and riveting for me that as entertainment I took to romping around the bedroom with my hubby the entire trip…got home and found out I was preggers. Nice huh? Anyway, as each image from this vacation scrolled across my screen I grew more and more upset. “WHY?” I kept asking myself. “Why didn’t I ever see how heavy I was?”. I cannot remember ever looking in the mirror and seeing what was displayed in those photographs. Looking back on them now, it’s glaring, obvious and painful to look at the weight I had gained – more than 80 pounds in the eight years since I met my husband. That lack of vision is kind of a double-edged sword really. When I look at my reflection, I see me – the real person that I am – staring back. Even now, I don’t see what those around me do. I know I’ve lost weight, but I still see the same person in the mirror. It’s partly self-confidence I’m sure. I know who I am as a person, regardless of what the mirror or my pant size says. It probably also has something to do with the time I got in trouble as a kid for calling myself “ugly” and had to stand in front of a mirror saying “I am a creation of God’s, beautiful and set apart” like 100 times. I certainly don’t wish for a bad body image so I could obsess over my thighs constantly, but I also would love it if I had a little perspective on what I really look like on the outside. The question I posed to my mom was “How is it possible to not see something that’s so apparent to everyone else?”.
Now, my mom has the unique position of knowing exactly where I’m coming from here. In her twenties she worked out a couple hours a day, watched what she ate and lost a ton of weight. She says what she saw in the mirror really never changed for her either. So, she gets it. But what amazed me was her ability to compare such a physical tangible thing with something much deeper and more valuable. She said that losing all the weight and yet, not seeing the previous weight problem in the mirror reminds her every day to ask for God’s spotlight on her life in case there’s something she’s missing. I am a little slow sometimes picking up on God’s messages to me – and didn’t really understand the correlation so I asked her to elaborate. Kindly, she explained that if we have the capacity to be blind to something so obvious in our everyday physical lives, how much more difficult is it to be aware of the glaring spiritual obesity that might be present. Wow. The truth of her words was like Windex on dirty glass. Suddenly it was so clear.
Unless I’m asking God to show me the areas in my walk with Him that need a little exercise, how will I see them? The way I turn a blind eye to those things is to just not ask for clarity. Rather than ask for conviction and transparency, it’s much nicer to just compare my sins with others on a sliding scale. “Well, I might be critical and harsh, but at least I don’t lie.” “Who cares if I keep the money if a cashier gives me too much, it’s not like I’m robbing a bank.” “Sure, I had sex before marriage – but at least I never stole a married man from his wife.” How can we deal with the plank in our own eye, when all we see when looking at others is their splinters. I would never judge how much I should weigh by comparing it with Shaquille O’Neal. He’s about three feet taller than me. His shoes are about the length of my legs. So how does it matter what my friends issues are? What bearing does that have on my need to be on a healthy spiritual diet?
I’m so thankful for a mother who can speak these kinds of truths into my life. What a wonderful gift. Her words have brought me to a place of looking at my reflection wanting it to show back God. I want people to look at me and see Him. His love, His grace, His kindness and generosity. I don’t want to display the obesities of selfishness, pride, sarcasm or jealousy. I guess it doesn’t really matter what I do or don’t see in the looking glass. Obviously my eyes can deceive me physically and my mind can trick me spiritually. What’s important is that my mirror image showcases the beauty of God.
Teach me and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. — Job 6:24 (NIV)