My middle daughter never ceases to remind me that “it’s not fair” that her oldest sister gets more new clothes than she does.
The truth is, though, that I usually do search the racks for at least one outfit or top or pair of shoes for each of my girls, including the ones whose wardrobe is primarily made up of hand-me-downs.
So, as I hunted about town for bargains on cute warm weather clothes for my seven-year-old, I rejoiced at finding a treasure for my five-year-old, as well.
It was purple, one of her favorite colors.
It was a sweatshirt, and she prefers play-clothes to dresses and fanciness.
It was made by L.L. Bean, so it was fashionable and high quality and something I probably couldn’t afford if I hadn’t found it at a kids’ consignment shop.
We had a winner!
I carried it home with excitement, knowing for certain that she’d love it and feel special because I thought of her and not just her older sister.
At first, her reaction lived up to my expectation. For me? Wow, thanks mom! Purple? I love purple!
Then she tried it on. And then she promptly took it off.
“It makes me look fat,” she said.
I’m sorry. What did she just say?
I took some training once that told me not to be reactionary, to just take anything children say calmly and not respond with hysteria.
I failed. I reacted. Big.
What can I say? My five-year-old just announced that she thought she looked fat in a sweatshirt.
Now, before anyone starts blaming this on me, let me just say that I’m very careful not to complain about my weight, outfits, hatred of diets and exercise, need to look skinny, or discomfort with shorts in front of my daughters.
She didn’t get this from me, but she got it from somewhere. It simply cannot be innate for a five-year-old child to worry about her weight or how heavy she looks in a sweatshirt.
So, after lecturing her on the fact that she’s beautiful, perfectly healthy, in no way fat, and how that isn’t the most important thing anyway . . . . and continuing this lecture long after I knew she had stopped listening . . . I still struggled.
It made me wonder how this skinny child who wears pull tabs, safety pins and belts to keep her clothes on could ever think she was fat?
Yet, how have I —how have any of us—twisted and distorted our perspective so much that we see ourselves with equally faulty vision?
We think we are perfect. We think we are failures. We think we are better than others. We think we are the worst at everything. We think we are ugly. We think we are unusable. We think we are tainted, soiled, dirty, unwanted, unlovable, stupid, foolish, embarrassing, hopeless . . .
Unfortunately, we’re confined to a funhouse mirror version of reality on this planet and it’s a fight to see clearly in a world that perpetually distorts truth.
It’s the media, our family, our friends, and our enemies. It’s the twisted definition of success. It’s the times we were abused. It’s the hurtful words we never get over. It’s pride.
Yet, Paul gives us hope when he wrote: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV).
It’s part of the promise of heaven! We’ll be forever free from the lies and distortions and all of the untruths that clouded our perspective of the world, other people, and ourselves.
We’ll see truth. We’ll see it perfectly.
Still, as difficult as it might be, Paul challenges us not just to accept the lies this world forces on us with a complacent shrug of the shoulders as we await heaven’s perspective. He tells us:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 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 (Romans 12:2-3).
This is a call to action. Fight now against the pattern of this world! Press in to God and ask Him to renew your mind. “Think of yourself with sober judgment.” That means, see the honest truth. Don’t think you’re better than you are. And don’t think you’re worst either. Know how God has made you, gifted you, and designed you and be happy with that.
And what is it that we are? John tells us exactly:
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:1-3).
We’re not just children of God, we’re also in progress to perfection. You’re beautiful now, created and loved by God, and yet I can’t wait to see you in heaven, when He’s perfected you and you’ve become all that He intended you to be.
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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King