There is a thin line between love and hate. It’s a known fact. There’s also a thin line between vanity and self-contempt. And I’ve come to know that there’s a thin line between self-improvement and self-destruction too.
Everything in moderation.
It is right and good to look at yourself in the mirror, regularly and often enough; to know yourself, assess yourself, and improve on what you see. A little too long, it tends towards vanity. A little too short, it can lead to lack of self-awareness and respect. The challenge is knowing when it’s time to stop looking and trust that you have a good enough knowledge and understanding to act on what you’ve learned from your mirror-look.
When things go wrong in your life, there is the tendency to either avoid the mirror or spend too much time in front of it. Part of the reason we linger is because we are afraid of what it will take to correct what we have seen. We are paralysed by the fear of failure and, sometimes, even of success. Sometimes, we linger because we are ashamed of what we have seen, and other times, perfectionism is the problem. We want to see EVERYTHING and work on everything at once. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Everything takes time. Step by step is how an artist paints a picture, how a contractor builds a house, how a business man grows his enterprise, and how an author writes a masterpiece. We need the mirror, we need the vision of what we see against what we foresee, so that we know we are progressing towards our goal. But at some point, staring longer at the mirror produces bad fruit.
For one, we procrastinate on action. We say we are not ready, even though there’s nothing new to see. Secondly, our good intentions when we began looking turn sinister when we see our deficiencies and let them discourage us from moving forward with our good intent. We start to feel inadequate. And that feeling can easily turn against us, and rather than feeling positive about the good things we have, we focus on the negative and become our own worst enemy.
Let me take it home.
The Lord commissioned me to write a new story. I felt it strongly in my spirit that I am to write this story. And it was flowing. In fact, I can still feel it waiting for me to sit and write it out… But for weeks, I stopped writing. I’ve been dealing with other things. And when I have had time to write, I’ve just thought I’m not ready… I’m not in the right place.
The Holy Spirit has been asking me, “Why aren’t you writing?” Reminding me that I should write… But for different reasons, I’ve procrastinated. But the truth was just beneath the surface.
I have felt so inadequate. What I’m writing feels so big, and I’m afraid that I’ll start and not finish, or that I would not do a worthy job. Even though I’ve written and published many books before. My long mirror-look has turned my focus from my Source to my self!
There’s not one book I’ve completed by myself. Every one of them has required God’s inspiration and sustenance to complete. And I felt inadequate at the start of some of them, but this time, I was questioning who I was in relation to God. Like, I am so broken and confused, I don’t even know what I want to say…
But last night, God used a sermon by Stephen Furtick to remind me that I am just a pen, and He is the ink. I don’t need to know what I’m going to say, what the overall message is, I just need to write as I’m led. I just need to start pouring the little oil I’m prone to dismiss out, and it will fill pages and pages. It is not about me.
That’s the problem with looking too long at that mirror. We start to think it’s about us. Our earthen vessel. It’s not about your vessel, your body, or your mind. It’s about Him. His calling, His empowerment, His Spirit.
We have to be content with using what we have…what we have left…what we have suffered, and letting God turn it into our sustenance. He did it with the few loaves and fishes brought to Him. He did it with the widow and the empty jars. He did it with the woman and the oil that never ran out in a time of famine… He doesn’t need anything impressive to work with. He just needs you to be willing to trust Him and do what He says, even if you don’t feel competent. That way, He gets the glory.
I hope I encouraged someone today. God thinks what you’ve got is enough to get to where you need to be. Just start doing what He asks of you. Be blessed.
Photo credit: http://www.canva.com
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