Amusement Park: Haunted House, Fifth Room – Mirrors

Amusement Park: Haunted House, Fifth Room – Mirrors

They entered the light of the next room, much brighter than the light of the previous rooms, and immediately Amalia saw why. Mirrors.  Mirrors of all sizes, shapes, colors, and styles were reflecting and re-reflecting light beams across the room until the room seemed to glow.

At first Amalia enjoyed the mirrors. They were all intriguing as they each reflected the other mirrors around them. As she looked into each one, it seemed as there was a depth in them well beyond what she was familiar with in the mirrors at her home. It almost seemed that each mirror held its own little world.

As she passed the first mirror, she looked at her reflection and gasped. She knew she had been eating more than usual lately, but had she really put on that much weight? Well, as soon as she got home, she was going to do something about that. Maybe walking a few extra miles each day would help.

She looked away, not liking what she saw, only to find herself looking into another mirror. What? Confused, she gazed at the skinny girl in the mirror. She wasn’t overweight? That was good, but being so underweight wasn’t much better. She looked all boney and awkward. Maybe she should eat more. But what if the first mirror was right, and this mirror was wrong, somehow?

Confused, she shifted her gaze to the next mirror. In this one, she was neither too skinny nor too fat. But she was green. Green? How was that even possible?

Before she could think of a reason, she caught a glimpse of herself in yet another mirror. Wait! She was beautiful! Golden tan body, long silky black hair, perfectly proportioned body parts. She smiled, enjoying this view. Yet at the same time, she knew there was something wrong with it. Her hair was brown, not black. And it was curly, not straight. Sighing, she let that image slide by.

The next mirror showed her that her head was too big for her body. She looked grotesque. She shrunk away from this image, willing it to disappear. But that only made it worse.

Confusion filled her as she continued to look at her image in one mirror after another. So many images – each totally different from the others – filled her eyes and mind until she forgot what she really looked like. Was she really as wild looking as the brown mirror showed, or as sickly as she looked in this blue mirror? Was she as self-confident as the red mirror made her look, or as scared as she appeared in the silver mirror?

 

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Confusion turned to anxiety as Amalia lost all sense of who she was as well as where she was. There was nothing in her life but mirrors that she no longer wanted to look into, full of images she didn’t want to deal with. So she closed her eyes and withdrew within herself.

At first she didn’t notice the gentle squeeze on her hand. Then it came again, a little stronger, bringing with it a memory. She wasn’t alone. Jesus was with her.

Keeping her eyes closed, she asked, “Jesus, how can You still be here with me? I’m so messed up.”

“Of course I’m still here. I promised you I would be, and I always keep My promises.”

“I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

“I’ve told you who you are.”

“But that’s not what I see when I look in these mirrors.”

“Ah, I see your confusion. These mirrors show you how different people in your life see you, which affects how you see yourself.”

“They are all so different. Which one is right?”

“None of them. They are all imperfect.”

“None? Some do look kind of odd, but most look like perfectly decent mirrors. How can they not reflect the truth?”

“Because no matter how straight they look, the way each mirror’s glass was created caused different amount of bends, just like how life experiences and belief systems cause bends in how people see the things around them. Some people have straighter glass than others, but even the straightest of those have some bend to them. It’s the bend, which most people are not aware of, that distorts what is reflected back to you. When you look at yourself through their glass, your view is distorted by the amount of bend they have. There is only one mirror that has no bend.”

Amalia, eyes still closed, thought of the various images she had seen, wondering which one had been in the one straight mirror. She wanted it to be one of the beautiful ones, but there were so many more ugly ones that she felt it had to be one of those. She was afraid to ask Jesus to reveal the correct one just in case it was one of the uglier ones.

But Jesus knew what she was thinking. “I have something for you, Amalia. But you’ll have to open your eyes to use it.”

“What is it?”

“It’s My mirror. It will show you what I see when I look at you. It will show you the truth about yourself because it’s the only mirror with no bends.”

“I don’t know if I want it.” Fear of finding out that she really was ugly was stronger than her curiosity.

“It’s up to you. I can’t force you to take it, nor to look in it. When you are ready, it will be here for you.”

Amalia felt the car slow down and then stop.

“Jesus, why did we stop? I want to get out of this room.”

“Your eyes are still closed. You won’t be able to see what’s in the next room until you open them.”

“But I don’t want to look into any more mirrors.”

“There’s only one mirror you need to look into.”

After a few minutes musing over the possibility of staying in this room forever, the desire to move on with Jesus overcame her fear, and she opened her eyes. Jesus was holding a small mirror in front of her, just big enough to reflect her image without confusing it with images of the other mirrors.

What she saw took her breath away! Her image revealed a strong warrior glowing with good health and vitality. Confidence radiated from her smile, and her eyes sparkled with joy. There wasn’t a blemish on her.

Amalia, unable to take her eyes off her image, heard Jesus whisper, “Now you see what I see when I look at you.”

Two Mirrors

Once upon a time there was a girl. She wasn’t too different than any other girl. Yet she thought she was, and so she acted like she was.

Other girls were pretty. She thought she was ugly. So she tried to hide whenever she could.

Other girls were fun. She thought she was boring. So she quit playing with others.

Other girls were smart. She thought she was stupid. So she quit sharing her thoughts.

She thought being ugly, boring, and stupid made her repulsive to people. And she tried even harder to disappear from everyone around her.

One day, she discovered she was invisible. No one saw her. No one heard her. She was happy, because now no one would have to endure her presence.

But she was also sad. As she watched people, she watched how they enjoyed each other and wanted to be around each other. And how they loved each other. She wanted to be wanted and loved. Yet, how could anyone want or love someone like her?

One day a friendly voice called to her.

“You can see me?”

“Yes. And I like what I see.”

“You can hear me?”

“Yes. And I like what I hear.”

“How can you like me when I’m so ugly, boring, and stupid?”

“Who told you that?”

“It’s what I see when I look in my mirror.”

“Where did you get that mirror?”

“I made it myself.”

“Can I look at it?”

“Yes, but be careful. Don’t hurt it.”

“It’s a lovely mirror. Strong, and well made.”

“Thank you. It took me a long time to make it.”

“I made a mirror, too. Would you like to look at it?”

“Yes, please. I’ll be careful.”

“Here. And you don’t have to be careful. This mirror won’t break.”

“It’s gorgeous. It’s so shiny; it looks like it is glowing! Who is that beautiful girl in it?”

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“That’s you.”

“No, it can’t be. That girl looks nothing like the girl in my mirror.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Then that must not be me. You must be teasing me. Who is that girl, really?”

“That girl is really you.”

“But what about the one in my mirror?”

“Didn’t you say you made your mirror yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Did you get any help?”

“Well, yes.”

“Who helped you?”

“People around me. But mostly I did it myself.”

“Do you think maybe your mirror might be lying to you?”

“Lie to me? How can that happen? It’s a mirror. Mirrors always show what’s there.”

“Unless they are distorted.”

“You think my mirror is distorted? What about your mirror?”

“Oh, I’m sure my mirror is accurate. No one helped me make it, so there was no chance for it to get distorted.”

“Well, maybe my mirror is not distorted either.”

“That’s for you to decide.”

“How can I decide? Which one do I believe?”

“You can believe mine, or you can believe yours. It’s your choice.”

The girl studied her image in each mirror. She was familiar with the girl in her mirror, but longed to be the girl in the other mirror. She tried to focus on that second girl – the beautiful one – but each time, her gaze returned to her own mirror.

“I like your mirror better. But each time I try to focus on it, my eyes go back to my own.”

“You haven’t really decided yet. Wanting is not the same as making a decision.”

“I’m scared to decide. What if I’m wrong?”

“Trust me. I wouldn’t show you anything that wasn’t true.”

The girl studied both images again. In spite of the fear that seemed to consume her, she made her decision.

“I choose your mirror.”

As she held the new shiny mirror in her hands, she found laying aside her mirror was still hard. She knew it would take time to get used to looking in the shiny mirror instead of hers, but she had decided.

Little by little, as she looked at the beautiful girl in the shiny mirror, she began to think differently about herself. Maybe she wasn’t so different from other girls after all.

Other girls were pretty. The mirror showed her that she was pretty, too. So she stopped hiding as much.

Other girls were fun. She thought maybe she was fun, too. So she began playing with a few people.

Other girls were smart. She thought maybe she was smart, too. So she started sharing her thoughts with everyone around her.

She thought being pretty, fun, and smart was more fun than what she had been. She quit trying to disappear from everyone around her.

She found out… the new, shiny mirror was right.

And as she believed the image in that amazing mirror, so did the people around her. She was wanted, enjoyed, and loved.

She had one last thing to say to the one who gave her the mirror:

“Thank you, Jesus!”

 

 

 

Romans 12:3 TLB  Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

Romans 12:3 ERV  You must see yourself just as you are. Decide what you are by the faith God has given each of us.

You Are the Nightlight of the World

Feeling sad and discouraged, she read the words in Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  (v.14-15)

Really?

Where was that light when an old friend told her, “I don’t need Jesus. I don’t want Jesus.” She had been too confused to respond. How could anyone not want Jesus?

Where was that light when she visited her siblings? The discord she found there had worked its way inside her until she had gotten drawn into it. OK, maybe not as deeply as they were, but still. Where was her light?

Sadly, she read Matthew’s words again and thought, if Christians are the light of the world, I must be a nightlight. And I don’t seem to be doing a very good job at even that.

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That next couple of days, she kept getting the message to persevere. To take things one step at a time and not compare herself with others. She sighed. She’d rather be a bright light in the lives of those around her, but if the best she could be was a nightlight, then she’d persevere in being that nightlight. Yet, deep in her heart, she continued to struggle. How could Jesus be happy with her when her light was little more than that lamp under a bowl?

Years later, she received a letter from a friend.  In it, he described a vision he had had. He had seen a small girl, standing before Jesus, head down, ashamed because she feels she’s disappointed Him. He saw Jesus lift her head and tell her…

“I’ve told you time and time again – I love you just as you are. I didn’t create you to be a flame that bursts forth with brilliant light. You are my glowing ember and you will warm the hearts of many, many souls.”

Astonished, she knew this had to be from God. She had never told this friend about her struggle with not being a bright enough light. As peace replaced the struggle in her heart, she thanked God for this friend’s courage to share that message with her. And she thanked God for caring enough to let her know that being a low level light – a nightlight – was exactly what she was made to be, and it was OK.

“God, after all the times I ignored Your reassurances out of fear and doubt, You never gave up. Thank You for loving me enough to find a way to get Your message to me loud and clear. You’re amazing!”