Is it possible that none us of really know how we appear to others? I mean that both literally and figuratively. Have you ever had the wonderful experience of someone saying “oh that’s such a great photo of you” when you think it’s absolutely hideous and should be destroyed with fire? Or that sinking feeling when you wonder who the old woman in the back of the picture could be – and then realize it’s you? I even noticed that I appear larger in the mirror when I’ve been eating chocolate – I mean the change is immediate – before anything has been digested! That cannot be!
This last US election seems to have given people the freedom to speak more openly about their political views. I see various postings on Facebook or hear people being vociferous in their opinions and sometimes it causes me to think about that person entirely differently. I’m shocked at the fact that people I like can possibly have the opposite reaction to my own. Can I really have led such a sheltered life that I never came into contact with anyone with a more hardline approach to life than me? Apparently so.
And yet it’s so much more complicated than that… we’ve all heard the old saying “Never judge a book by it’s cover”. But each person is a thousand different stories bound together as one text and covered with images projected from our own archives.
As a child I wanted desperately to be an archeologist. The subject fascinated me from a very early age and it was my intention to study it right up until I was told “only hippies do archaeology” at about 12 years old. As it turns out that’s probably exactly why I was attracted to it, but at the time that pronouncement was the kiss of death coming as it did from someone I so desperately wanted to please! Only after leaving school at 16, having failed EVERYTHING and done the most abysmal jobs for a few years did I go back to it. As it happens, I didn’t really enjoy it. Primarily because we had to study something called “The Beaker Culture” in considerable depth. I cannot bear to hear the word “beaker”. Seriously it’s like nails on a blackboard for me. So that was the end of that for a completely different, but equally ludicrous, reason. But the point is that I clearly cared way too much for what other people thought of me.
I sometimes feel I spend half my life running back and forth, trying to please people, trying to guess what they want and give it to them. The picture that comes to mind is of a dog in a pound trying to get the attention of potential owners – jumping up and being in their line of vision, slavishly eager to please. I can’t think of a more annoying kind of animal. The more attractive choice would be the dog, chilling out in the corner and doing it’s own thing regardless of who is around. I suppose that is what authenticity is, and it’s very attractive.
For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does.…
So instead of trying to guess what other people might think or how we might look, just give it up and focus on the simple truth of being acceptable in God's sight.