Awhile back, I was at the grocery store, and I could see a woman I’d known from church many years before coming down the aisle. I’d always thought she was vibrant and attractive, but this night she looked so frail and worn and moved so feebly that I wondered if she was recovering from a serious illness.
She is probably 10 years younger than I am, but that night, she looked 20 years older. When I stopped to speak to her, she said, “Oh, bless your heart, you look like I feel.” Wow, talk about a kick in the stomach. I looked like THAT?
Even worse, I’d felt like I looked kind of nice that night when I left the house for dinner out with my husband. But now I didn’t feel the least bit attractive.
In retrospect, it’s a funny story. But the truth is that people often see us differently than we see ourselves. We might look in the mirror and see a timid mouse, but our friends might see how we handle life and think of us as strong. We might look in the mirror and just notice the expanded waistline, age spots and wrinkles that have had the nerve to show up—but our spouse might just see the beautiful bride he married.
Sometimes we pay too much attention to the way we see ourselves or the negative words of others—words that can take root in our hearts and defeat us, steal our self-esteem and our confidence. So how to handle those kinds of situations?
At times we just need to laugh them off. Face it—sometimes people just say stupid stuff, and we have to let their comments roll off our backs.
Other times, when the comments are about something important, we may need to take stock and see if there’s truth to their words, if there are things we need to change to become who we truly want to be.
The most important self-scrutiny, however, is to take a good look at our lives, to see what God sees. It’s hard to put ourselves under that microscope, to inspect those crevices in our hearts. But the result is always worth it.
When God looks at me, I hope He sees a heart that desires to be like Him, and a life that is lived to please Him. I hope He sees something of beauty.