Reflections from the Guy in the Mirror

When you look at the guy in the mirror, do you like what you see? I’ve never had a problem with thinking more highly of myself than I ought to. Romans 12:3 cautions us: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” 

If anything, I have spent an undue amount of my life apologizing for who I am! (At least in my mind). I have lacked confidence. Often, I asked the Lord why He chose me to preach the gospel. I am the middle of seven children, the one least likely to influence a crowd. My consistent argument was that others were far more qualified. In my mind, I came up short when it came to personality, looks, family of origin, and educational background. My invisible imprint, or the vibe that one gives off upon entering a room, was less than effective. Many of my thought patterns originated from my boyhood. 

I’m mostly bald, somewhat overweight, soft-spoken, even shy. These attributes have held me back in our image-driven church culture. I’m more of a teacher than a preacher. Most describe me as a kind and reconcilable man, attributes which have caused many over the years to see me as weak. I hate confrontation to the point where I embrace personal loss instead of hitting issues head-on. When I do confront, I’m viewed as unreasonable and harsh. I can’t win!

I’m deathly afraid of water, so I can’t swim. I don’t hunt or play sports. I even hate to watch sports! Golf it seems, is most pastors recreational go-to. I stink at golf! While in the company of other men, I feel “less than.” I’m afraid of guns, bows, motorcycles and four-wheelers. Motors scare me. I’m not mechanically inclined, and certainly not a jack-of-all trades. I never served in the military. 

I have found it difficult throughout my life to have male friends, partly because a consistent number of male leaders in my churches sought to control and undermine my authority as their pastor. I suppose trust issues have kept me from male bonding. In short, I’m a mess!

While shaving this morning, I took a longer than usual look at “the guy in the mirror.” Then, a Scripture came to mind that reminded me about my uniqueness as both a man and a minister of the gospel. In Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth (1:12-14), he confronted several leaders who were playing the comparison game: “What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius.” Some in the church were comparing their leaders and causing division. Comparing ourselves to others and always coming up short or less than, is one way the enemy minimizes our joy, steals our influence, and effectiveness. 

God made only one me, and one you. He placed within us specific gifts and strengths. We do ourselves, God, and those we lead a disservice when we compare ourselves to the gifts and calling of others. Man may look on the outside, but the Lord looks on the heart!

Think about that guy in the mirror? First, God does all things well. He made us from an original mold, stamped by grace. The fact that no two fingerprints are duplicated, reminds us that we are unique and significant to the Lord. He has placed heaven’s design inside and outside! For me to compare and always come up short is to insult the creative expression of God. And to question His decisions. 

This is not to say that we should quit striving toward excellence, only that we need to be comfortable in our own skin, not comparing ourselves with others, but celebrating our uniqueness –trusting God to continue His never ceasing work in our lives. 

Have you ever struggled with similar issues?

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