When the Mirror Lies

People see you as you see yourself
Getting dusty on an upper shelf
You don't have to hide yourself away
Come into the light of day.

Mirror, mirror hanging on the wall
Take the mask off, let the mirror fall
Chasing shadows of another you
Into the looking glass—you're breaking through

And on the other side you see all the love you crave
But the mirror lied—'Cause you're already beautiful.

I wrote those lyrics in 2008. They are the first and second verse and bridge of a fairly mediocre song called "Someday". (These lyrics were great. I never could quite find the right hook.)

I wrote them because of a teenage girl I knew who was hiding inside the shell of her own insecurities. She was a fellow student in my karate class, and her dad was one of the instructors. I didn't know as much about patterns of interaction at the time, and I honestly didn't know much about her personal life. But I did suspect that her painful meekness was a defense mechanism learned from long years dealing with such a domineering and gruff parent.

But looking back, who knows? She could have been assaulted or felt endangered by someone else, and maybe her dad was putting her into karate in the hopes that she would gain the confidence to come out of her shell and be able to defend herself, too.

The song was my wish for her. The lyrics of the chorus (which I'm not sharing here) expressed the hope that this person would find her wings someday and that she would become the person she was meant to be.

Sometimes I wonder if she ever did. I have no real way of knowing now. I don't even remember her name.

Over the years, I have met other people that remind me of this song. Perhaps I attract wounded people to me, or I am attracted to them because I recognize the commonality and have a desire to help them along the road.

I truly believe that God has enabled me to help many people through the truth he has taught me while he healed my own wounds. But right now, he's teaching me that the real work is still all his. I might be someone he uses, but I'm only a tool, not the builder. On my own, I can't change a thing.

Over and over again, I have seen how what we believe to be true about ourselves, we make true about ourselves. And there's nothing that anyone else can say to change our self-image unless we want to change it.

What we believe to be true about ourselves, we make true about ourselves.

Do we see ourselves as a go-getter? Then we will likely not let fear hold us back.

Do we see ourselves as intelligent? Then we will likely not be intimidated by difficult problems.

Do we see ourselves as creative? Then we will likely relish the opportunity to try new things.

But if we see ourselves as unloveable? Unworthy? Without value?

Then we will manifest this in our lives in many ways, large and small. Each of them is both a subtle cry to be proven wrong, as well as a blatant challenge to be proven correct.

Because if I'm unlovable and you love me? You must not know me well enough yet.

If I’m unlovable and you love me? You must not know me well enough yet.

The hardest part is watching someone you love and value try to prove to you that they don't deserve your love--in the most self-destructive ways possible.

I'm going to admit that I don't have a lot of sage wisdom to share today, folks. Right now, I'm hurting for my friend who is willfully choosing to self-destruct. It's not the kind of thing that I can do anything about, other than tell her the truth (and I have) and pray (and I am).

There are just some things ain't nobody but Jesus can fix. But if we don't let him change what the mirror tells us . . .

Then we're going to keep believing the lies.

And everyone who loves us will pay the price.

Did this post strike a chord with you? If so, you might be interested in the recent post by my friend Melissa Keaster where she talks about how Jesus dealt with some of her own self-destructive beliefs (and I am honoured that God used my book as part of her story). Check it out here: