When you see your reflection in the mirror, where do your eyes go first? What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you see a picture of yourself?
Not always, but far too often, my first thought is ugh.
My eyes go directly to the flaws. Blemishes (yes, even at my age), crinkles around my eyes and between my eyebrows, sparkles in my hair (aka gray), cellulite, and extra weight are what I see. It’s as if the mirror and the camera have spotlights aimed at my flaws, making it so easy to see what I don’t like about myself.
Can you relate?
When I reflect on my invisible attributes—my character traits and personality—I see the flaws there too: pride, worry, fear, lack of follow through, and general distractability, to name only a few.
I know all the ways that I fall short of the standard I have for myself. I see how I fail to measure up to people I admire.
What’s Your Image of Perfection?
What about you? If you can relate, I wonder if the flaws seem so obvious because we have an ideal picture in our minds of what we should look like and should be like.
Much of the time, that ideal is wrapped up in what’s around us: the people we admire and the standard set by movies, magazines, and social media for what beauty is.
We see people excelling in their careers or using their talents well and think, I should be more like them.
We see people who are the right size, wear the right clothes, and look put together even with a messy bun or ball cap, and think, Why can’t I look like that?
What if we were never supposed to look or be like those people, though?
What if we have a different ideal altogether?
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. . . . Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!—Genesis 1:27, 31a, NLT
Image, in verse 27 means resemblance or likeness, or a representative figure.
Humans—you and I—were created to represent or look like God.
In a perfect world and in a perfect relationship with God, we would look like Him.
The problem is, we live in a fallen world. (And, oh, how far humanity has fallen!)
But if we go back to our divine origin, we see our image was meant to reflect God and His attributes to the world around us:
Whom Do You Reflect?
We weren’t created to be God (although angels and humans alike have tried).
We were designed to resemble Him and to reflect Him to others—spiritually and in our humanity.
No one knows what Adam and Eve looked like physically, and really it doesn’t matter. Throughout all of creation, we see God’s artistry in the uniqueness and diversity He designed. There’s no indication that we should all look alike. To the contrary, in fact, we were designed to be different from one another biologically (male and female) and spiritually (See 1 Corinthians 12:18-27.).
Our differences, which we too often perceive as flaws (both in ourselves and others), are what make us a unique and essential part of God’s plan.
It doesn’t matter if you have crinkles or cellulite. What matters is that when people see you, they see God’s love. That’s a higher standard than anything we might set for ourselves by looking at the world around us.
But that is our calling.
At the last Passover meal Jesus had with His disciples, He told them love was their defining trait: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35, NASB).
Who you are—your true identity—is about so much more than what you look like or achieve. You were created with godly perfection in your design.
Does that mean you are perfect?
No. And for the record, neither am I.
We were all created with perfection in our design, but we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world smeared with evil, disease, war, and all kinds of things that leave us feeling desperate, lost, and empty.
What it does mean, however, is that person you see when you look in the mirror was created by God in His own image—unique and completely loved, on purpose, for a purpose.
That’s who God sees when He looks at you.
You weren’t designed to look like anyone other than the One who created you.
Meditate on These Verses
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.