Growing up, I loved everything about the fair except the house of mirrors. Put me on a ride that can fold onto a flatbed truck to travel to the next town – I’m game. Ask me to walk through a maze of mirrors that made me look taller and skinnier than I already was? I’ll hold the cotton candy while you guys go ahead.
It wasn’t so much that I felt self-conscious, as much as it was the feeling of being uncomfortable. All those mirrors pointing back at me – surrounding me with nothing but myself – made me aware of how alone I felt. It was eerily quiet in that tent.
So you can imagine my surprise when Papa began using the house of mirrors to help me understand His love.
Not all mirrors tell us what is true.
When we’re battered by shame, it becomes the lens through which we see God, the world, and ourselves. It’s like the house of mirrors, distorting what we see: the mirrors are neither accurate, nor reliable. The danger in not realizing the distorted view it reflects back to us is placing our worth and value in what we see. Our inner mean girl does not want us to see how loved, accepted, worthy, valued, and significant we are in the eyes of our loving Father.
So she adjusts the mirrors to reflect back what she wants us to see: amplified flaws, a reminder of how far we are from measuring up, and evidence we still don’t have it together. She points us to our old self, the one who is dead, gone, buried and not coming back. And sometimes, we’re tricked into believing we are still that person.
The goal of a house of mirrors at the fair is to find the exit and, as far as I’m concerned, your freedom. The mirrors will make hallways appear where there are none, leaving you in a tiny tented labyrinth in a fairground parking lot. To get out, you can’t look at the mirrors: you have to look at the floor. The floor breaks the illusion. With a careful eye, you can see the mirror stands revealing the pathway exit. The lines on the floor reveal what the mirrors cannot.
Finding the Exit
In Galatians 5:1, Paul tells us,
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. NASB
When my inner mean girl gets riled up, it’s like she drops me in that house of mirrors. My eyes open, and every turn I take shows every failure, flaw, mistake, and short coming she ever planted in my mind. She puts them in the mirrors, so I can no longer see who I really am. It’s like I forget.
When that happens, I run to a few good friends who will remind me who I am in Christ. They help me name the attacks and strategies so the fog clears and I can remember the truth of my present reality: free. When I cannot remember who I am, it is their reminders that bring me back to the grounding of the only mirror I can rely on… Jesus.
He sees us through and through. He’s not out to trick us, hide from us, or play hard to get. Unlike us, His view of who we are is not distorted. It is accurate, reliable, and trustworthy, even when we can’t see it for ourselves.
This is why we need a community of grace. When you or I believe our inner mean girl’s lies about our worth, value, and belonging, we need a reminder of who we are in Christ.
Reminders of truth break the illusions
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Psalms 119:105 NASB
Papa’s love often reaches through people. Christ in you wants to love your friends, family, community, coworkers, and those who sharpen you like iron sharpens iron. When we are invited to remind those around us who they are in Christ, it’s like being granted permission to point to the lines on the ground. It gives them a pathway out of the distortion to the arms of Jesus, where we are always safe, loved, and secure.
When your inner mean girl tries to distort your view of yourself, God, and others, I pray you will brave reaching out to a close friend to remind you of what is true about you in Christ. And I pray you will be willing to remind others of who they are in Christ when they forget too.