Hey! I resemble that remark.

by Ashley on July 1, 2012

My bathroom mirror is not a liar.

No matter how offensive I find the image it reflects, there’s no denying that it’s me. No matter how much I’d like to ignore the familiarity of the squinty zombie with a rat’s nest perched atop its half-asleep head, it’s me. Sad, but true.

Thankfully it’s only my poor husband who has to suffer through the real-life representation of that horror, bless his soul. Apparently he is immune, and I’m quite certain that anyone else, having viewed the monster directly, would be turned to stone.

Now, I’m well aware that even though people on television wake up looking beautiful (unless they don’t, in which case it is always to the infinite amusement of the live studio audience), I do not have such Hollywood privileges. I’m over it, because I know all you people look like crap in the morning too.

What really bugs me isn’t my mirror. It’s my camera that’s the liar. I just wish I had some proof.

For example, we went out for our anniversary not long ago. (Happy nine years, my love!) I wanted to wear a dress I had bought a while back that I simply adore. Black, figure flattering and subtle, but very sexy.

So I turned to my friend the mirror to finish the details. I was pleased with the outcome. Checked myself out, mentally gave myself a high-five fist-bump combo, and went to show the hubby. He liked what he saw.

We decided to take a photo before we leave. That was my mistake. I should have just stuck with my skewed mental image, but noooo, I wanted proof that I looked good.

Of course, I’m thinking I look like Jennifer Lawrence (or whoever is popular and gorgeous these days). I FEEL like I look that good in my dress and heels and makeup. Alas, my camera did not agree. Now, I’m not saying the picture was bad. It wasn’t. We make a cute couple, if I do say so myself. It just wasn’t as amazing as I was expecting. And as much as I’d like to throw that camera away and buy a more truthful one, I know it’s futile. They are all liars.

We always see what we want to see, don’t we?

Whether it’s about our looks, our attitude, or our behavior, we always think the best about ourselves. It’s only when we see things through someone else’s eyes that we might notice something, ahem, less than perfect.

Someone made a comment to me recently that I found pretty offensive. It was critical, not scathing, but painful for me to hear. How could someone think that about me, much less say it to my face?

Even when criticisms are meant to be constructive, it’s hard for me not to take them personally. I feel like they are attacking me, rather than just criticizing something I did.

But when I take that criticism home and think about it privately, occasionally there’s some truth to it. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I often find my critic has a point. And though it stings when those criticisms come from a friend, I’m often less defensive and less resistant to change. I know my loved ones have my best interests at heart, especially when they are brave enough to be painfully honest.

I need to be better about this, especially with my Christian friends. We have been called to tell our brothers and sisters when they are headed in the wrong direction. We are commanded to expose sin and call it out for what it is. None of this under-rug sweeping.

This is particularly difficult to hear because sin seems extremely personal. It’s as if my sins are part of me. But that’s Satan’s manipulation. He wants to make us feel guilty, that those sins are a part of us, that we can’t rid ourselves of them.

Thankfully, God doesn’t see things that way. He knows we sin. But he also knows that the sin doesn’t define us. It is separate, and God has this fantastic ability to love us while hating our actions. It’s because he loves us that he hates our sins. If he didn’t love us, he wouldn’t care how much we screwed up, how much we hurt ourselves or other people.

Parents probably understand this better than anyone. You love your child even when he screws up. Even when he misbehaves. Even when you’ve told him a thousand times to STOP IT and he does it again, your love never fades. You know that bad behavior is separate from the child. It’s the same with God.

But as parents, you still expect your kid to straighten up, don’t you? It’s called discipline. And though your kiddo might be upset in the moment, deep down he knows you haven’t stopped loving him. Again, it’s the same with God.

These types of criticisms, especially from our loving God, are meant to be instructive, not cruel. So when God, a friend or even an enemy offers a less-than-stellar evaluation, let’s look at our lives as they actually are, not just as we see them. Take a snapshot, then step back and really observe the details. Let’s not simply dismiss the criticism, declare the critic a liar, and continue on our way unchanged.

Though my camera may be a liar (I’m certain of it), my critics rarely are. I need to be less defensive, a little more humble and more willing to make a change.

And with those who only want to inflict pain with their assessment of me, I’m planning to become more like this:

“I don’t take criticisms personally, which must be very annoying for people who mean them personally.” – Nigelia Lawson



Sandy had told me about your blog but I never got around to reading the posts until today (July 18). I enjoy your writing – you must be good since that is what you do – but I like your wisdom and humor. They made me smile. And that is a good thing!

by Jim on July 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm. Reply #

Thanks! I like to think I’m good at it, but mostly I just like to share what’s on my mind 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy it, and I hope you stop by and read again.

by Ashley on July 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm. Reply #

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