I learnt I lesson from my daughter yesterday. At the age of 4 she really does not give much thought to what other people think of her – she is secure and has no self-esteem issues at all. I lost a discussion about whether it was appropriate to wear a princess dress to church or not – in my negotiations (yes, I went wrong by even trying to negotiate with a 4-year-old) I asked if people might not laugh at her wearing dress up to church. She declared that if they do her little brother will just bite their toes (He is very good a biting toes!) So, clad in a full length glittery gown, Jenny twirled her way through church and Sunday school. As we were driving home she turned to me and said: Mummy, you were wrong. Nobody laughed – they all thought I was gorgeous.
I was wrong – often we do too much and base our decisions on what other people may say or think.
I wonder how much twirling I have missed out on for fear of other’s comments. Yet there is only one person whose opinion really counts – the One who made me, the One in Whose image I am created. He says this:
Psalm 45:10-11 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. 11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
We launched an update on our church website this week and I was not thrilled by the photo of me – too silly a smile! But Jenny declared it beautiful as it was just like her mummy.
It can be hard to not think too much about what other people may say or think – although half the time it is only our own thoughts we are thinking. Eleanor Roosevelt famously said: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
So this week I chose to listen to the opinion of the one who created me and to twirl a bit through my days- to let God’s voice be louder in my life than those around me or in my own thoughts. Will you twirl with me this week?
This weekend I heard the familiar tap-tap tap on my windows that torments us at this time every year. Every year we have an unwelcome visitor who runs up and down outside our house tapping on all the glass doors. Every time I chase them they run like mad, but in half an hour or so will be back doing it again – tap-tap tap-tap. Our guest is a Guinea Fowl who seems irritability drawn to try and peck his reflection in the glass. Even if you jump out at him and chase him the windows are like a magnet lure to him back again. I don’t know if he sees a handsome rival who may be after his mate. (I imagine his mate, who is sometimes watching, is laughing at his bravado). Whatever he sees he doesn’t like it and he is compelled to attack, even though all he receives in the end is a very sore head. Thankfully it is usually at me at home when it happens as Ramos has reminisced more than once about how good Guinea Fowl can taste!
Why does he keep doing it? Surely he realises that he gains nothing except pain from it? We often do the same to ourselves – looking at ourselves and not liking what we see. Often we don’t need other people to bring us down, we are sometimes our own worst critics. How often have you asked God what he sees in you, like the Psalmist did?
Psalms 8:3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. 4 Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? (Message)
Yet, whilst we are stuck looking at the reflection of ourselves that we don’t like, with our sin and bad habits on display, God sees us differently. He sees us with all our potential and that we are a work in progress:
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
So give yourself a break – stop attacking yourself. Accept that God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that you are a work in progress being transformed daily.