I got up in the dark, put on my work out clothes that were stacked on my bathroom counter like they always are in the mornings, glanced in the mirror and thought, “Does my shirt cover enough of my butt in these leggings,” even though I’ve worn these same clothes numerous times before.
I was on the treadmill after my 4 minute drive from home to the gym. Blood pumping, legs moving, sweat flowing (because I’m a sweater, not argyle sweater but the dripping profusely kind of sweater). I looked down to check my shoelaces at one point and thought, “Dude, I have nice looking legs in these leggings.” Next thought, “Must be because they are black.” Next thought, “Who cares, I need to concentrate on not falling over.” And my workout continued.
Done with my shower, I stood in my closet trying to decide what to wear. I put on the black striped dress and leggings – up on my toilet I go so I can look in our mirror above the sinks (because we don’t have a full length mirror anymore). I decided the dress made my legs look chubby, which is strange since last time I wore it I thought it made my legs look slender. Back to my closet to try the maroon dress with tan leggings. But I didn’t like the leggings because I thought the light color showed too many flaws in, yet again, my legs (from the toilet looking in the mirror of course). Back to my closet for the red and black plaid dress. Onto the toilet – no go. It hung funny (even though every other time I’ve worn it I’ve loved it). Back to my closet, except I glanced at the clock and realized I was late. I put the black striped back on for sake of time and thought, “Does this fit too tight around the middle?” (It fit the same as it did the last umpteen times I’ve worn it before, but today, today I questioned the fit. For Pete’s sake.
I walked down the hall at school, looking at my shoes and thought, “I think it’s these shoes that make me not like this dress today. I should have worn different shoes.” Even though I’ve loved these shoes every other time I’ve worn them.
Standing at break, watching kids mingle in the halls, and I looked down to notice how nicely the black striped dress hangs and thought, “I look good in this dress.”
Do you see where this is going?
This is a public service announcement to all of you out there:
Emotions play with your eyes and your brain and seriously skew your reality.
By noon, my emotions had already told me that I look healthy, chubby, skinny, put together, ugly, pretty, frumpy, and a dozen more variations of the same. I don’t trust my emotions. Period.
When I left treatment, they told me, don’t look in the mirror. Trust how you feel in a pair of jeans rather than trusting the mirror. They (meaning the nurses, doctors, experts who see truth where I saw lies) knew what they were talking about. Don’t trust your eyes and the mirror because depending on how you are feeling at that moment, your eyes can read the mirror differently from moment to moment. You are your own worst critic.
The obvious conclusion – the mirror is not the measure of your beauty. How can something that plays tag team with your emotions to gang up on you be considered trustworthy? It’s not possible.
Let’s replay my morning not based on how I viewed my wardrobe, but on my mindset:
- overly tired because I had had a nightmare and didn’t sleep well
- rushed because I knew I was making myself late
- frustrated because my boys were at each other’s throats by 7 am
- annoyed because my work out wasn’t stellar
- disappointed that our beautiful spring weather from the weekend had taken a nose dive again
My emotions led my mindset down the negativity path which led my eyes to see every flaw, existent or not, on my body and in my choice of clothing. Ridiculous.
I like to think I work very hard to not allow my mindset to dictate my perspective, but I am human, much to my dismay. I can let circumstances steer my mind where it doesn’t need to go, and then my mind thinks it can drag my emotions through the dirt, just because. Which in turns leads to lies in how I see myself, my circumstances, and my abilities. Because I’ve had a ton of practice, I am able to spot the lies relatively easily. I know when I question my body that it is my emotions and mindset talking, not truth. Then I tip my chin up and say, “Forget you, Liar. I look good.”
Life is an intentional, conscious, tiring battle to focus our mind on things above, not on worldly things. It is a battle to let God speak into our hearts and minds, to let his truth be our compass rather than the fickle emotional baggage we cart around. I don’t downplay our emotions because they are part of who we are, but they are fickle in that a weird look from someone we pass in the hall can take us from being on top of the world to wallowing in self-doubt.
The key is being grounded in truth. My devotional time each morning is some of my dearest moments of the day. But if I don’t let God speak to me, and if I don’t speak to him, then my emotions think they can steal the show.
Be strong against the pull of your emotions. Don’t allow them to get the upper hand. Put more positive in your mind than negative. Surround yourself with truth from the One who is the source of all truth. And speak to yourself as a cherished child of God. Tell yourself you look good and believe it. Compliment yourself, speak affirmations to yourself, focus on loving others instead of hating yourself. Your emotions will take the back seat and steadfast truth will drive your life.
Believe in your heart, your soul, your mind, and believe with all your strength that God put you together perfectly. If the God who put the universe into being put your body together, I’d say we’re in good hands. Steer clear of the mirrors and the lies our human emotions prey on. Fill your heart with truth. And your mindset will follow. It takes practice, intentionality, and determination.
And not stepping in front of the mirror will do wonders for cultivating truth exponentially. Depend on God’s eyes, not your own!