Self-Image is a funny thing. I have teenaged children, therefore I live in a world of two extremes regarding self-image. Or is that hygiene?
I know a thing or two about self-image also. I can change three pant sizes in one day depending on whether I looked at food or actually consumed it. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t frustrate me at least a tiny bit.
Despite that, as an introvert, my self-image has less to do with appearance and more to do with my personality type and the characteristics that accompany it.
While I am an "I" in the Myers-Briggs®, I am also a "T" (Thinker), which means that I have rolled ideas around in my head for hours or days, so when I speak, it comes out much more directly and authoritatively than I intended.
As a result, I’ve been told what a “strong little personality” I have. That I'm “Type A”, dominant, aggressive and other unpopular characteristics.
Millions and millions of dollars are spent each year trying to understand our personalities, behaviors and personal attributes and whether we will compliment, conflict, or complete with an existing pool of personalities, behaviors and personal attributes. It is a wonder we don’t already live in a Divergent-like society.
I get into real trouble when I neglect the One who designed me, in whose image I was created. Instead, I allow myself to live in a world that has boxed me in to reflecting only the characteristics assigned to me.
Then, I stack them, fine tune them, and use them as strengths to live out my life.
I transitioned. I didn’t see myself as withdrawn, I was simply quiet. I wasn’t slow to act, I was discerning. I wasn’t a bully, I was decisive.
I should have asked God long ago what He wanted me to do with all these characteristics that didn’t appear on the ‘nice list’ anywhere in the bible.
I prayed that God would show me how to love like Jesus, when none of my behaviors were described in the fruits of the spirit.
The first thing God showed me was to stop thinking about my self-image as a reflection of worldly descriptions. In fact, he showed me to stop thinking of self-image at all. He gave me a new mirror – one that reflected the holy trinity, even in the beginning.
GENESIS 1:26 (emphasis added)
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
1. Our image is in Them - God, says let US make mankind in OUR image and he took the dust and made us material beings with physical attributes and then breathed his spirit into us and made us spiritual beings with personalities – all in THEIR image. We were created, not to have a self-image based on the falsities of this world, but to pursue an image based on truths; that of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2. The worldly definitions also have heavenly definitions. My dominance also means I am fiercely passionate. My absolute need for structure and procedure means I am highly organized. They are gifts given to glorify His kingdom.
3. My personality and its accompanying characteristics portray the images in my heart. If my heart’s focus is on how best to use my traits, I am missing the bigger point. Instead, my heart must be focused on Christ, his love, his grace, his mercy in my life so that my heart only reflects the goodness of our savior. He will ensure they are used for His will.
4. I will stop focusing on how I can do it better and simply turn my heart to seek first the kingdom of God! (Matthew 6:33)
5. I will stop leaving myself open to Satan by getting into the word of God every day. (Psalms 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you).
6. I can stop listening to the lies of Satan – (Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God…) I can tell Satan that I don’t believe a word he says because Jesus has already won and is already more powerful than anything Satan can throw my way.
The only image you need to see reflected to you, is God’s. And only Jesus can give you the mirror with which to do so.
Heavenly Father, thank you for shattering the mirror that Satan loves to place before us. Only Jesus has the mirror that perfectly reflects the exact image we need to see. Help us to reject any image of ourselves and of others that does not reflect the love of your son Jesus Christ. Guide us to seek your kingdom first and help us to release control of our entire selves over to you. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!
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Revised from a March 2016 post