Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself,"I need to be a better _________." And you fill in the blank with a list of roles that you have in life?
Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Teacher. Student. Christian.
I have. So many times. It's as though I am constantly falling short of where I believe I "should be." And it's the "should be" expectations that trip me up. Sometimes I place them there, and sometimes they are placed there by others. But the weight is entirely too heavy to carry alone.
Of course I want my heart to be full of the love of Christ, I desire to be a great housewife, a talented musician, a trustworthy friend, and I wish I was making straight A's on every test. But the reality is, I'm not always all of those things I strive to be.
In fact, on my own strength I am lucky if I am any of those things.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
- 1 Corinthians 15:10
I am learning, daily, that my only true failure is trying to do things on my own. The writer of this verse found in 1 Corinthians - Paul - did a lot of things for the glory of God, but he also spent a great deal of his life in opposition to the faith. God not only forgave him... but used him to make, arguably, one of the largest impacts in Christian history.
Many of the disciples also failed to live up to the "should be" expectations. They weren't the most eloquent, they fell asleep in Jesus' darkest hour, Peter denied him and Thomas doubted his resurrection. Yet, Jesus went out of his way to restore these relationships and bring about peace to the turmoil that I'm sure they were struggling with.
Going back to the verse above, see how quick Paul was to remind everyone that his hard work was not merely his own strength, but the grace of God within him? That's me, too. If there is anything noble or good within me, it is all because of Jesus. I am not good, nor will I ever be good on my own.
So, back to the mirror. I say I want others to see Christ in me, but I find it hard to look in the mirror and not see my sinful self. How can I change this? With the help of Scripture (which happens to also refer to itself as a 'mirror').
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
- Ephesians 1:4
How is it that we can be looked upon as holy and without fault in the sight of GOD... and yet still worry about the expectations other people have for us? Perhaps our view of people is too big and our view of God is too small.