September 19: Open Letters – Dear Self-Image

Read Ephesians 1:17-21

Dear Self-Image,

After I eat dark greens, I ask someone near me, who knows me well, “Do I have something between my teeth?”  I ask because I have been embarrassed by what I have seen so many times in the mirror, when I didn’t ask!

Mirrors can play tricks on us though.  Like the mirrors in a fun house, our brain can believe we see something that is really not true and we can go the wrong way and find it’s difficult to get out.

We can look in the mirror and decide our features are wrong, and we can obsess in order to remedy that! We step into a new group of people who “have it all together;” then we try to mimic their behavior to add to our image.

Self-image. This hyphenated word was put into the dictionary in 1939. We know that the problem of a false self-image has been around a lot longer.  As followers of Jesus, we need His help to see who we are and what we look like to Him! We are able to look into the “perfect law of freedom” that brings blessing in all we do, if we don’t forget! (James 1:25) That means that we need to be in the Word of God frequently.  The Spirit can then develop in us a Christ-centered self-image.  Transformational!  We are described as His masterpieces (Eph. 2:10). Let’s pause and think about this truth. A masterpiece takes a lot of thought and creativity and is considered a masterpiece because of its unique qualities and purpose.

I am a masterpiece! Go ahead and say this out loud! Sounds a bit awkward, doesn’t it? I have believed other things about myself. Negative words spoken to me or about me were written on my mirror and were all I saw. My mirror has been so blurry, that I really couldn’t see how He loves me. He sure does though. I let His truth wipe away the lies, and now I have the reflection of His love and truth written on my mirror. I am His daughter.  He is the King eternal and I am His princess and that is what I see in the mirror of truth!  No matter what your mirror looks like, ask Him to write on it the truth that this song expresses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcC1Bp13n_4. Let His truth and love be reflected in your Self-Image!

Celeste Kern

September 18: Open Letters – Dear Perfectionism

Read Galatians 1:10

Dear Perfectionism,

Really? How can I be perfect when I am human? How can I expect everybody else to be perfect when they are human? Quit bugging me!

Major League Baseball has been around for 140 years. In that span, there have been 210,000 games played and just 23 perfect games have been thrown. And you expect me to be perfect?

I see all these people on social media who seem to be perfect. Why can’t I achieve that? How can I learn to forgive myself?  I want to LEARN from my mistakes and grow as a Christian.

I am encouraged by the song, MESS OF ME, as Switchfoot sings:

“Oh, when you can’t forgive yourself!
There ain’t no drug – 
The sickness is myself.”

Are you even attainable?

I am always chasing you. But you and all your expectations are always with me. I try so hard to keep everyone happy. I try so hard to keep things in order, to make others feel good, to do things the right way, to be all that I can be – and to be who others want to see. This actually can be pretty tiring. Am I trying to do the impossible for the ungrateful? You, perfectionism, leave me discouraged and wishing I could be better.

I know God’s Word gives me great hope on how to get out from under you – you burden of perfectionism! Galatians 1:10 hits it head on: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. I will now strive for excellence, not perfection. I will discard you. Instead, I can achieve excellence. You, perfectionism, are causing me unnecessary stress. Through prayer, perseverance and learning from mistakes, I can defeat you.

Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not men”.  You know what? I CAN DO THAT. AND I AM GOING TO DO THAT! Goodbye, perfectionism. Hello, excellence.

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”

Vince Lombardi, winning coach of Super Bowl I and II.

Tom Weckesser

September 17: Open Letters – Dear Anger

Read James 1:19-20

In the coming days, you are going to be reading some Open Letters that our team has written to emotions, struggles and issues that we have either observed or experienced. It is our prayer that these letters will encourage you, if you are struggling with the same, to see and experience healing and deliverance through Jesus. He is and always will be the solution to our problems.

However, our problems are still a struggle within us.

Allow me to share such a struggle from my life:

Dear Anger,

There’s no real reason why you play such a big role in my life. I wasn’t raised in an angry household. Through my many years of church attendance, I have been surrounded by numerous people who are loving and supportive. Regardless, I have always been someone that allows you to control much more of my life than you deserve.

Experiences in Jr. High and High School didn’t help. Being an afterthought to many people, being told I wasn’t strong enough…tough enough. Being told eye to eye that, “You don’t have what it takes…”. I have often allowed you to well up to the surface and to hurt people that I love the most. Because of the damage you caused, I feel like apologizing to people I’ve hurt over and over. They deserved better.

I was freed from you.

James tells us in his letter:

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

You do not produce the righteousness that God desires. I’m done giving you control in my life. I live to serve my Lord. I will continue to challenge myself to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to give in to you. I will learn to forgive as others have forgiven me. The people that caused me such pain are your children, as well. If God has forgiven me, why shouldn’t I forgive them?

I am dedicating myself to pursuing the righteousness that God desires. I won’t allow the small things to matter so much. I’m done with allowing my past to define my future. God has created me for so much more than you.

My past won’t define me. You will not define me.

Allow me to conclude this letter by quoting a song lyric:

“Here’s to a past I’ll never need
No ‘here’s to you’
Rest in peace”

Jake Lawson