Reflect it Forward

About a month ago I quit drinking alcohol. This pronouncement came after months of trying to brute-force-will-power-justify my way there with no success. (Here is the story if you’re interested… Spoiler Alert: It was the HOLY SPIRIT!)

With the new found freedom of the alcohol monkey off my back, I have felt empowered and inspired to look for other areas of my life that need “spiritual housecleaning.” So, what’s next? What next worldly, unhealthy, bad habit, way of thinking, or stronghold do I need to identify and then ask God to help me fix?

There are a lot of LITTLE things that I should work on, everybody has those. But, there is one BIG thing that is a constant source of distraction and pulls my focus away from God. I compare myself to EVERYONE I see. Actually, not everyone, just women. I think (obsess) about it every day … in the morning, walking down the street, going to the gym, meeting new people, meeting friends. (Actually, it’s less that I “think” about it than it is a “state of being.”)

I have done this as long as I can remember. “Is she smarter, taller, richer, more helpful, better at a craft or hobby, better at cooking,” or pretty anything I could use to compare us, make my “assessment.” (e.g. Well, she is prettier, but I can make better hummus, and I do have good hair, but she’s definitely a size or so smaller).

Why do I do this? Because that is how I have always determined my VALUE. The women around me, friends, acquaintances, classmates, employees, employers, clients, etc. were all analyzed and mentally recorded to form a construct, a spectrum, a rating system of where I “fit in.” Most of this comparison happens on the spot. And then a judgment is made.

It is that judgment that will govern my initial interaction. Will I be confident? Will I be sheepish? Does she know more than me? Does she HAVE more than me? And actually, a lot of the time there isn’t even interaction, like when I see a woman on the sidewalk, for example. In those instances, the comparison that I make in my mind is sufficient.

Of course it’s obvious that this is ridiculous, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are many women out there doing the same thing, or something like it. Sizing up, assessing a pecking order, mentally or emotionally designating the “alpha” female.

So, I think this is what God wants me to work on. A had a little breakthrough a few months ago that helped me to think of all women as my sisters, because they ARE my sisters in Christ. I should love & support them unconditionally. I’ve been trying.

Trying. Yoda said “Do or do not… there is no try.” So, God…

Last week at Women’s Group, I was sharing a bit about this “comparison state of being” syndrome and God put this on my mind…  REFLECTION.

When we look at people, we see them through our eyes. We judge them by our standards. We size them up based on what we value. The problem is that there is only one possible outcome when we compare or judge others using ourselves as the measuring stick. Someone gets hurt. There is no “equal.” If there is no equal, than either I am better than you, or you are better than me (on whatever topic it happens to be).

To SUPER-generalize, when you are better than me, I envy you. When I am better than you, I look down on you. The “reflection” I see of myself in you, is how I think we compare. I look at you, I judge myself.

Yeah, that’s not good. That’s not God. He says, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:48).

Simple enough… All I need to do is remember that I am perfect, and YOU are perfect. No judgment, no comparing, … But it’s SOOOO HARDDD. Stupid world.

Well, at least we know the goal :)…  I think part of my journey to “perfection” is to be more transparent. I’ve been “putting it out there” a lot lately. Taking risks. Sharing things about myself that I normally would have kept private. I have done this for both selfish and unselfish reasons, but I hope that most of the time it is “God inspired” and not “Me inspired.” I need to remind myself, pray, etc. that it is for HIS glory, not mine. I’m pretty sure that I won’t ever be able to completely “step out of myself.” Human nature has a pretty strong grip. But I’ll keep working on the transparent thing, because I think I can reflect “God” back at people (I first wrote “reflect good … so that too.)

I visualize a ray of sun shining on a mirror. The sun reflects off the mirror and doesn’t just “return the favor,” it is MULTIPLIED. Those rays bounce back on me, surround me, touch others, and pretty much light up the place. The COOLEST part, is that this light, GOD’s light, is INFINITE.

Maybe in heaven, we will all be transparent (not sure if I mean literally or figuratively, but anyway…). God’s light will shine to us and through us and from us. Millions of miles of diaphanous* glory. Shiny.

One of the definitions of transparent I read was, “having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen.”

I try to think of this definition as it relates to God’s light. If I can reflect (transmit) God’s rays of light to people I encounter, then the “bodies (aka God) situated beyond can be distinctly seen.” DISTINCTLY SEEN. It’s beyond visual though. His “body” is freedom, salvation, eternal.  If we all considered this light, HIS light in our interactions with others, NOTHING would stop us.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you." (Isaiah 60:1)

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine
Oh, shine
Gonna let it shine

There's a little light inside us all

(This Little Light of Mine)

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* Total digression not related to this story at all: I was looking up words, maybe “transparent,” and I came across a definition using the word “diaphanous.” This word has stuck in my head for years because of a magazine ad I had seen for the Virgin Islands. The ad showed a lady on a foam mattress in the (diaphanous) water with the caption, “2,000 square miles of diaphanous blue water.” I wondered about the caption, because I couldn’t remember the quantity of miles, so I Googled “virgin islands diaphanous blue water” and found THE EXACT magazine ad in a copy of New York magazine from 1982 (which would have been about the right time) on books.google.com. Technology is cool. Most of the time.

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