Monday, November 28, 2016

Mirror Images, Autumn of 2016, Part IV

We worked on one of my favorite assignments in our classes two weeks ago. Back in October, one of our written memory verses 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 discussed the meaning and I brought up that Mom, in her late stages of Alzheimer's, did not recognize her own image. I told 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 was allowed complete confidentiality and I did not even read any that requested privacy. My students were very honest. Over the next few nights, I'll run some of the responses of those who wanted to share.  Some will choke you up. All are used by permission. Boys are in blue and girls are in pink.

Everytime I look in the mirror, I see a boy struggling to become a man. I see all my shortcomings and failures. I see a man willing to help others who can’t help themselves, but is sometimes overcome by fear. I see someone who tries to be the best he can possibly be and never gives up. I see me, which is all I am.

When I look into the mirror. I see a girl who has a lot of pressure on her. She is constantly trying to meet everyone’s expectations for her and in the midst of trying to do that is slowly losing her own dreams and hopes for herself. I see a girl with anxiety who constantly wonders what the future holds for her. I see a girl who desires to be successful, but doesn’t know if she has what it takes. I see a girl who loves God, but struggles daily to fight a mental battle with the devil. I see a girl who tries to always smile to hide the hurt, pressure, and anxiety that's on the inside. I see a girl who lacks trust in people from being let down and lied to so much. I see a girl whose goals seem to always be out of reach. I see a girl who is weary of change because of fear of the unknown. I see a girl who constantly doubts herself. However, I also see a girl who depends on God and knows He is the only way to get through it all.

When I look into the mirror, I see a man who has endless thoughts for the future. I see a man who plans and plans but never delivers. I see a man who is filled with uncertainty. I see a man who cares so much and so little at the same time. I see a man who loves his country, a man willing sacrifice for the protection of others. When I look into the mirror I see man who is being eaten alive by stress and the need to please people. I see a man who tries to cope with pain by myself.

When I look into the mirror, I see a strong, ambitious, well rounded girl who has her sight set on success. I see confidence and determination, and a mind full of dreams. I also see a big sister, who has taken on the role of a parent to younger siblings when both of hers aren’t around. I see a daughter who hurts for her parents, and for her older brother, who hurts more from them than she does. I see a role model for younger kids, a friend to almost everyone - someone who aims to be polite and kind to all, no matter the situation. I see a girl who has been rejected by her friends, and taken advantage of by them. I see someone who has had a long history of trying to fit in and subtlely never seeming to get it - like an oval in a sea full of circles. I see a fractured girl who has been broken and put back together again many times. I see a girl, who despite being so fractured, is still growing and changing and convincing to put herself back together, no matter what happens. I see a girl, who despite trying so hard and doing so much extra for people who never ask or deserve it, is never thanked or rewarded. And yet, she still moves forward, growing in her faith in God and her relationship with friends, moving toward a bright future of traveling to the world, finding happiness, ultimately fulfilling her life and becoming successful enough to pay off her parents’ debts and then some.

When I look in the mirror. I see a boy becoming a man. I see a boy who has great expectations that other don’t see. I see a boy who wants to travel the world and gain knowledge. I see an imperfect boy who only wants to do right but is never satisfied. I see a boy who wants to like everyone but not everyone likes him. I see a boy that when times are hard turns to God. I see a boy who wants to trust what he believes in.

When I look into the mirror, I see a girl who compares herself to everyone who has more things than I do. I see someone who wants to accomplish the world, but doesn’t know where to start. I see someone struggling to fit in because she isn’t “cool.” I laugh at these thoughts loudly. How funny it is that I can think about this things when I am told daily that these things don’t matter and I am better than them. When I look into the mirror, I see a girl with a smile that the world sees as art. I see a head that is shaped like an onion as my mom would tell me my dad had, which makes me laugh even harder. I see a girl that she tells everything to. I see a girl whose small in height, but has a big attitude. I see a girl with big dreams and hopes for the future. And lastly, I see me, for what I really am.

When I look in the mirror, I see a young childish boy who has great dreams and ambition. I see a boy who wants everyone in this world to be his friend. I see a boy who has a deep love in music and piano. I see a boy who is always happy with everything even though he sometimes runs into some troubles. But when I have a closer inspection, I see a boy sometimes feels really mad about one thing and pain about another one. But he tries to hide it because he can’t look at them as he cannot stand these things. But the last time I looked at the mirror, the sad man and problems were fading away and the happiness and joy are filling it in. When I look into the mirror, the facial expressions and the face of the boy looks very similar. Oh, wait a minute! It is me!

When I look into the mirror, I see what nobody else sees. I see someone trying to do right and constantly failing. I see someone afraid to start relationships because of doubt. I see someone who strives for greatness but let’s procrastination get in the way. I see someone who is tired of failing but never gives up. I see someone who is tired of their friends but does not want to give up on them. I see someone who wants to stand out from the rest, but not in the ways that most people would think. I see someone who plans on admiring greatness, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

When I look into the mirror, I see a girl who does not yet know her place in this world, or where to begin. I see a girl who is terrified of what the future has in store for her and does not believe she can achieve it. I see a girl who constantly tries to please everyone around her, but does not take the time to console and comfort herself. She'd rather keep all of her thoughts inside because it’s easier for her, Then, she does not have to deal with the sympathy of others, or wonder what they are thinking, although she secretly desires to be heard. A girl who does not trust easily because she has dealt with the pain of betrayal, and does not want to be hurt again. I also see someone who lacks confidence in herself, especially because she has been told “you’re not smart enough” multiple times. Due to those words, she believes it, and those words starts to become part of her. She feels immense pressure from this, because she feels as though she has to meet those requirements (of being smart), because that is that is how people know her; the smart girl. I see a girl who pretends and alters her image just to fit the criteria the others want her to be or act.  I see a girl who strives for perfection although she knows perfection does not exist. Ultimately I see a girl who loves unconditionally, is sensitive, compassionate, and is the person that everyone comes for advice, yet, does not follow her own advice and is easily affected by people’s words. Overall, I see a girl who just wants to find her place and purpose, even though she knows it will be scary and challenging. However, she has no doubt that God will be patiently waiting for her with open arms.

Applicable quote of the day:
Every relationship that we have in our lives - our contact with each person, place, and event - serves a very special, if yet to be realized purpose: They are mirrors that can serve to show us things about ourselves that can be realized in no other way.
Guy Finley

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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