The memory verse we learned Tuesday in all five of my classes was James 1:22-24:
"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.''
We discuss the meaning and I bring up that Mom, in her late stages of Alzheimer's, did not recognize her own image. I tell the kids that sometimes at the end of the day, I look at myself in the mirror, and don't always like what I see. The kids finished this statement: 'When I look in the mirror, I see....' Every student is allowed complete confidentiality and some years, I do not even read any that request privacy. My students are very honest; some of their reflections will choke you up as you see yourself during your teenage years. Over the next few nights, I'll run some of the responses of those who were willing to share; boys are in blue and girls are in pink. These will be a mixture of 8th graders-freshmen-sophomores-juniors-seniors.
When I look into the mirror, I see a girl. I see a girl with a future and goals. I see a girl with high expectations who wants to be perfect. I see someone who knows they will never be perfect but is fine with it. When I look in the mirror I see someone crazy and weird. I see someone who loves their mom for all she’s done but doesn’t want to meet it all the time. I see someone who loves her dad and brother because she knows that they are two guys she will always trust. I see a girl who sometimes doubts herself and feels broken but knows that she’s perfect in God’s eyes. I see a girl who loves kids and aims to put a smile on someone’s face. I see a girl who loves her family with her whole heart and will do anything for them. When I look in the mirror I see a girl who wants to travel the world, find happiness, and live her life to the fullest.
When I look in the mirror, I see a lost child who lives in pain. I see someone who shoots too high and is always disappointed. I see someone who sees life for what it is, a nightmare with 2 paths. I see a man who has tried to stay along the right path but keeps falling off. I see a true child of God.
When I look in the mirror I see a girl who smiles to hide the true pain she is feeling, who laughs to hide that there are so many more things wrong. She has big dreams but often worries they won’t become a reality. I see that she has had to mature earlier than her friends and longs to know not as much as she knows now. She has to be just as strong as she sees her mother but in the end comes up short. I see someone who has a will to help others and try to make them laugh because she doesn’t want them to hurt like her. I see the person that no one is able to see. I see me.
When I look in the mirror I see a young man who is one with God. I see a young man who has failed many times, but has gotten right back up to succeed. I see confidence and determination to be what he wants to be when he is out of college to be successful. When I look in the mirror I see pains and weaknesses, but strength and happiness to balance that out. I see an athlete who wants to go pro just as bad as any other athlete and will put up a fight to get there until he has failed or tried his best.
When I look in the mirror, I see a girl who doesn’t know who she is. She does not fit in into one culture and always wants to move somewhere else in the hope she will fit in better there. I see a girl who struggles to connect with people because she knows that the closer she gets to them, the more it will hurt to leave. She has left pieces of her heart behind everywhere she’s lived and she misses people a lot. She has no home on earth, but God is her Father and in heaven she will finally belong.
When I look in the mirror, I see a boy, one who has failed expectations set up by others yet has none for himself. I see a boy who constantly fails time and time again and is not accepted. I see a boy who can reach out to others but can never really connect with them. When I look in the mirror, I see a boy who despite all of his shortcomings and failures will continue to fight on, even if there is nothing but failure ahead. What I see is who I am.
When I look in the mirror, I see a liar, who struggles with doing what is right. I see an insecure girl with many problems and a girl who cannot avoid others hurting her. I see someone who is constantly crying out to God for a reason to keep going; a girl who is always being used and mistreated by those she cares about. When I look in the mirror, I see a timid girl who has it all together on the outside but on the inside is screaming for help. I see an exterior of kindness and Godliness but the interior of a monster. I see one who strives for success but is scared to fail and is not supported by others. I see a girl who has goals but who does not achieve them. When I look in the mirror, I see a battle between good and evil and I can’t let evil win.
When I look in the mirror, I see so much potential, plenty of wit, charm and a quite handsome young man. Quite frankly, as of right now, all of my different attributes are being wasted. Wasted because I am not controlling them around God. I see someone who always wonders why things are going wrong, foolishly wondering because I already know the answer. Foolishly wondering how my problems can be solved, foolishly wondering why I’m not getting what I want if it won’t hurt me. It’s all foolish because I know full well that these problems are the result of the absence of Jesus Christ, a relationship with God. So evident that when things go wrong, people are no longer questioning my fellowship with Christ but they encourage me, knowing it’s just the enemy attacking God’s child. How to get the fellowship, how to fill the absence is simple- true repentance, turning away from my sin, falling into God’s arms and allowing His will to rule my life by studying and walking in His word daily. Sheer selfishness and laziness is keeping me from an ideal me and I know I will get to where I should be only because of God’s grace and mercy.
Applicable quote of the day:
“There is nothing worse for the lying soul than the mirror of reality.”
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