What it looks like

Self-deception is an easy trap to fall into.

There exists a temptation to convince ourselves that we’ve reached a place of finality, of success, of full contentment. We never intend to travel that road, and sometimes it’s hard to even realize we’ve gotten there. All too often we slip into complacency by accident and convince ourselves it’s contentment. I’ve found myself at this crossroads lately.

After a pivotal moment in my walk with Christ, I landed in a position where I felt sure of my full surrender to Him. Everything I am is His; I was holding nothing back.

I mentioned in my last post my prayer at the SEND Conference in late July, my asking God to not send me back to Tuscaloosa as the same person who boarded the early-June flight to Phoenix. He has been faithful in teaching me more about Him, who He’s called me (and all Christ-followers) to be, and what that looks like in action.

That last part is what’s proven most significant lately: what it looks like.

Over the past few years (throughout my whole life, really), the Lord has been guiding me toward a more biblical pursuit of Him. He’s pushed me to break relationships, to let go of strongholds, and to completely reshape my view of who I think He is.

What a journey it’s been.

But at every twist and turn, I’ve come face to face with my own reflection through the lens of God’s character. Every time I see how far I’ve come, but even more, how far I still have to go. Endless toss-and-turn nights, argumentative prayers, and banging-the-steering-wheel requests have been met with grace and answers and closed doors and opened windows and situations I could have never expected.

My whole being for my whole life.

That’s the commitment of a follower of Jesus, and I am so joyful to bear it, even when it’s hard and painful and scary. Even when it shakes and shatters truths I’ve clung to for my entire 21 years. Even when it demolishes comforts I’ve never lived without. Even when it challenges mindsets I’ve never surpassed.

Lately my commitment to the gospel has been tested by my left eye.

In recent years, my once clear, 20/20 vision has dwindled, especially in my left eye. My blurry eye, as I call it, has given me all sorts of grief the past few weeks.

Out of raw hatred toward my glasses, I allowed my vision to deteriorate further until I was confronted by my own reflection some weeks ago.

A new photo for a list of the semester’s runners at my job stared back at me through the black-framed lenses I so deeply loathe. A brief glance that seemed to last for hours landed me in a bathroom stall with tear-stained cheeks at record speed.

Oh my gosh, I have a freaking lazy eye.

I texted two of my closest pals frantically, gaining enough composure to send them a snapshot of the dreadful photo peering at me from the cubicle wall.

As I awaited their responses, I questioned every compliment I’ve ever received, every conversation I’ve ever partaken in, every instance of awkward eye contact in which I’ve ever engaged. A familiar acquaintance of insecurity, I welcomed back my old friend in a panicked embrace as I pored through online articles divulging at-home cures for a wandering eye.

I fought tears as I wrestled with my longing to be pretty and put together and “normal-looking.” I glared at the photo until I no longer recognized my own face and tears blurred my lenses (seriously, how are you supposed to cry in glasses??)

My friends’ assurance of my equally yoked eyeballs did nothing to soothe my already convinced mind of my less than average appearance.

Isn’t what I look like inherently linked to my success? Doesn’t psychology prove that attractive people are more widely liked? Where are people supposed to look when they talk to me?

These were the questions torturing my mind when I felt the Spirit speak to me:

Let go.

Oh.

Whether my left eye stays in line with my right holds no significance.

My physical appearance means nothing past this life, past this decade, honestly.

Who I am has little, if anything, to do with what I look like outwardly.

I’ve allowed my purpose to be distracted by my desire to be highly favored by the people around me. I haven’t longed for the Creator of the world to be glorified through the life He’s given me. Rather I’ve yearned for people around me to shower me in compliments and praises and glories over things fleeting and temporary.

After further debate, I’m not sure whether my left eye is lazy, and, in all honesty, it makes no difference either way.

No matter the state of my eye or face or body or whatever else, I pray that the God of all creation receives glory in all possible ways through all aspects of my life. He deserves it all, and nothing less.

No. Matter. What.

My whole being for my whole life.

I don’t know or care where that takes me, who it sends me to, when it’s fulfilled, how it gets me there, or–honestly now–what it looks like (literally or figuratively).

I am to be all things to all people, an ambassador for Christ wherever I go, an accountable encourager for fellow believers, a maker of disciples from all nations. None of that in any way involves a physical appearance, only the spiritual state of a heart and its relation to its Savior.

Here’s to opening myself up to the Lord’s challenge of inspecting my reflection to pinpoint distractions in the way of His glory.

What’s something you’re clinging to that’s getting in the way of your God-given purpose?

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