Mirror of Inadequacy

It’s easy to feel inadequate in today’s society especially when you play the comparison game. You probably know someone who appears to have it altogether with the perfect marriage, house, career and family. You probably scan Facebook seeing all of the wonderful pictures of vacations, concerts and other gatherings that your friends have. Those situations make it easy to see yourself as never being able to measure up. When you get into that negative frame of mind about your life then all you see is failure, rejections, and inadequacies. This may cause you to feel angry and powerless over your life. That is what you will reflect into your relationships rather than the grace and forgiveness that is a reflection of focusing on Christ.

Pastor Michael feels there are several reasons that you feel inadequate when looking in the mirror. The first is you have been the recipient of unfair criticism. There have been people in your life telling you that you “can’t” too many times, so that is what you believe. You want to move forward, but you feel like there is no point in trying because the voice in your head has you stuck in the past. Those damaging words will prevent you from having the confidence to make changes in your life. The second reason is the opposite as you have been given unrealistic compliments too many times. When people constantly tell you how amazing and incredible you are, it can cause you to feel inadequate. You begin to think there is no way you can live up to those expectations so you choose to not even try. You become paralyzed by the fear of failure. The last reason is “unfun” comparisons. This is where Facebook comes into play as you look at the highlights of everyone’s seemingly perfect lives and compare it to your everyday life. When doing that it’s easy to feel that your life sucks, but it’s not an even comparison. You also have to remember that your journey in life is not the same as your friends because God has different plans for all of us.

Pastor Michael told the story of Gideon to explain why you should remember these things when you see inadequacy in the mirror. God’s view of you is different than your own view of you. God has created a list of all the things you will be called to do and has already put that in you. God knows the potential that you have. God has also created you with more than you know. When all you see is the negative, use whatever strength you have to get up and take just one step in a new direction. Don’t believe what someone may have said about you in the past. You also need to remember that you are a vessel of the Holy Spirit. Since you are a Christian, God lives within you and is empowering you everyday. It is time to stop seeing your past and place your focus on your future with God. He will be with you every step of the way.

Mirror, Mirror-The Missing Masterpiece

The main point of this sermon series is that in order to have healthy and powerful relationships, you need to reflect Christ and not all the negativities you see when looking through a distorted mirror.  You will reflect the good and bad into every area of your life.  If you only see wrongs and insecurities, you will project that on everyone around you.  The result will be brittle relationships that won’t last.  If you learn to see yourself as the masterpiece that God sees you as, then you can build powerful relationships and endure the storms of life.

There will always be “storms” that you can handle in two ways.  The first is to reflect fear.  When going through a storm you often put yourself into survival mode and just want to get past it.  You may wonder if God is mad at you and become angry or bitter.  If you only focus on the problems in your life, then you will only reflect negativity.  You will never experience peace this way.

The second choice during a “storm” is to focus on Christ.  You need to realize this is a time of growth and that He is at work creating a masterpiece in you.  If you turn away from Christ, then you will miss what He is trying to do in your life.  In painful times your focus should be on Jesus as that is when He will reveal Himself to you and amazing things will happen.  When a storm hits, you want Jesus in your boat.  At times the stress of life can start to sink your boat.  It is easy to place your focus on staying afloat and forget about Jesus.  If you are married then you can bail each other out with support, encouragement and taking some of their burdens away.  It’s nice to have a person to rely on when you need to be bailed out, but sometimes that’s not enough.  There will be times when both of your boats are sinking and you begin to fight against each other.  When you start to drown you often hurt the ones trying to bail you out.   Remember to choose your words carefully during those times as words can bring death or life.  Words are powerful and can build someone up or kill them one word at a time. You need to invite Jesus into your boat.  When you see Jesus during a storm you will experience peace.

God has control over everything and can rescue you anytime.  You need to turn to Him and trust Him.  Don’t take your fear out on the ones trying to help you, take that fear to God.  By leaning on God, you will weather the storm and grow into a more beautiful and confident version of you.

Mirror, Mirror – Our Perceptions

Adam and Eve lived a paradise life and God told them they could eat whatever they wanted except for the fruit off one particular tree. A serpent came and spoke to Eve telling her that if she ate the fruit she would be like God, knowing both good and evil. Since Eve wanted the wisdom the fruit would give her, she decided to eat it and gave a piece to Adam as he was with her. Immediately after eating it, they both felt shame for being naked so they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, sin entered the world. The purity and holiness that God had put around their hearts had been stripped away. They knew something was missing so they tried to fix it by putting on clothes as a barrier. They were trying to hide behind the fig leaves to protect themselves from the emptiness they felt inside. Their internal feelings were being reflected to their physical appearance. Adam saw himself through a new mirror now, which was one of shame and insecurity. He used to walk with God, but is now hiding from Him because he feels dirty and ashamed of his sin. Adam allowed this new perception of himself to change his relationship with God. There are times when you hide from God too so you distance yourself by not going to church, not reading the Bible and not praying. That is the opposite of what you should be doing. You have to recognize that you messed up and remember that sin gives you a distorted perception of yourself. That is not how God sees you, but only how you see yourself as a result of the sin. You need to face that sin in order to see yourself as God sees you.

When God asked Adam if he ate fruit from the tree, Adam said it was you who gave me Eve and it was Eve who gave me the fruit. When God asked Eve what she had done, her reply was that the serpent had deceived her and that was why she ate the fruit. They were playing the blame game. First they allowed sin to come between their relationship with God and now it was coming between their own relationship. They were still looking through the mirror based on their own perception rather than through God’s mirror. You need to accept responsibility for your own actions. If you mess up then admit it, ask for forgiveness and move on. When you take responsibility and say you’re sorry it allows healing and restoring to take place in that relationship.

Is there something that you are hiding from God right now? Are you blaming someone else for a choice you made? It’s time to stop running and take ownership of your mistake. You must stop looking through the distorted mirror that you have allowed sin to create. God loves you and you are His special possession. If you run to God rather than away from Him, you will find that God gives grace and forgiveness to you every time.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Week One

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see beauty, confidence, strength, ability and worthiness? Do you see failure, flaws, insecurity, bitterness and ugliness? What you see in the mirror reflects into your life and if you are not at peace with what you see, it will be difficult to have strong relationships. Would God change something about your physical appearance? No, because He sees you for who you are and how He has made you. You are His masterpiece.

God created men and women in His image with both having equal value in His eyes. Men were created in the wilderness and desire to be strong, rugged, confident and adequate. Women were created in the Garden of Eden and desire to be beautiful, worthy and peaceful. The key to being at peace with yourself is to see yourself as God sees you without the insecurities and inadequacies. Adam and Eve were completely at peace with themselves and how they looked even when they were naked. That is typically not the case with people today. When you are not at peace, you can’t build strong relationships.

The world is full of mirrors that can give you a distorted view of yourself. There is the parent mirror in which they try to reflect their values on you, but can end up sending mixed messages. The peer mirror is where you compare. God made you unique in your abilities and appearance. You are going on your own journey, but continue to compare anyway. There is a culture mirror driven by celebrities and the media telling you how to look, dress, and where to shop. When you look through those mirrors all you will ever feel is inadequate. It doesn’t have to be that way. You will reflect the mirror that you look into. Christ is the perfect mirror and the more you focus on seeing yourself as He does, the more beautiful you will feel. When you look in Christ’s mirror you will see forgiveness, grace, love, hope and joy. That is real, unlike the distortions you get when looking through the other mirrors.

Sometimes you become too focused on the outside and your physical appearance. Beauty fades, but what you project from the inside is what will last. The distorted view of yourself occurs when you take your eyes off from Jesus. God wants you to have powerful relationships that will stand the test of time, but in order to do that you need to be at peace with who He has made you. By looking to God for acceptance, your life will change. What does God see in you? The answer is joy.