What Does the Bible Say About Self Image?
An Ordinary Daisy
From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be extraordinary. I
didn't want to be just another person in the nameless mass of humanity. I wanted to stand
out as someone who actually broke out of the prison that most of us are born into; the
prison of such a short wisp of a life--gone almost before it starts, no remembrance of it
when gone, and no lasting impression made while alive. I'm aware that many, if not most of
us, face this same struggle. I don't know if mine was more profound than most. I only know
that it was a driving force of my existence from the time I was an early teenager.
When I really gave my life to the Lord at age 18, this desire was
automatically transferred into the kingdom of God. I was determined to not be an
"ordinary Christian." I was going to do outstanding things for God, at any
personal cost or sacrifice. I would never, never be a mere pew warmer. In those years I
was quite zealous for God, and on my college campus, I had a reputation (which I loved) of
being "on fire for God." I attended Christian meetings almost every night of the
week, spent much time in prayer and reading the Bible, and shared the Gospel everywhere I
went. My desire and love for the things of God was genuine. However, I did not see that
lurking under the surface of my zeal was a deep insecurity that the enemy would try to use
to destroy me.
I didn't see that much of my so called "fire" for God was
really just a fire for myself to be acceptable in my own eyes. I truly loved the Lord, but
it would have shocked me if I could have seen back then (or probably even now!) how much
of what I did for the Lord, was really just for myself. I laughed at the Pharisees when I
read how Jesus preached at them for doing what they did so men could see them and admire
them. It never occurred to me that I might be in that category myself. No one likes to see
the worst in themselves, and many times we are truly blinded to it. It takes the gentle
work of the Holy Spirit, peeling away layers of pride, deception, sin, and insecurities
for us to see ourselves as we really are.
Since that time, God has led me through many things to break this deadly
"religious spirit." I don't have time to share them all here, but I will say
that the work has been sometimes painful, but always cleansing and freeing. Most of our
striving is based on the simple fact that deep down inside we aren't really sure that
anyone (least of all God) likes us for who we are--especially at our weakest and
most horrible. Most of us can accept that He loves us because He is God, but we tend to
look at it as a broad sort of "tough love"--He loves us, but is more saddened by
us than anything, and tolerates us because of His own goodness--but He doesn't really
like us that much.
Recently, the Lord showed me in a beautiful way, how wrong we are to
think this of Him. I was at a prophetic conference in Colorado, and one of our assignments
was to turn around to the person behind us (someone we did not know) and pray together,
and then share what the Lord had shown us about each other. Needless to say, some were
nervous that they wouldn't "get anything" from God, but we all obeyed. The man
whose hands I was holding began to share what he was seeing about me, and one of the words
that he used was a Daisy. For some reason this sort of bothered me deep inside. A Daisy
seemed so...ordinary, so weak and unimpressive. Surely that wasn't how God saw me, was it?
Later as, my friends and I shared the words we had given and received, I
didn't mention the Daisy at all, because I felt sort of ashamed about it. All I mentioned
about it was that the guy I prayed with had called me a flower.
The next and final day of the conference, all the attendees were
assigned to go to various "prophetic teams" of people who would pray and
prophesy over us before we went home. As I was being prayed over, one of the ladies in the
team said, "Lord, I see here a Daisy, and that there is something so special to you
about a Daisy heart." Again, I felt a slight flare of annoyance, but I ignored it, so
I could "move on in the spirit" to everything else they were saying. Much of
what was said ministered deeply to me, but as it turned out, nothing touched me more than
the reference to the Daisy.
Immediately after the prayer, as I was walking to meet my friends, I
heard the voice of God speak clearly to my heart. "Mercy, why do you love Daisies so
much?" This surprised me. This may seem unbelievable, but right up until that very
moment, I had actually forgotten how much I genuinely love Daisies! "Well,
they just cheer me up I guess" I said to the Lord. "I like them because of their
simple beauty. They aren't overblown or pretentious. They seem clean and pure and
wholesome and real. They just make me smile. I guess I can't really explain all the reason
why I'm attracted to them--I just am." Immediately, I began to cry, as
I realized what the Lord was trying to show me.
It is often said that the hardest person to live with and love
unconditionally is ourselves. Yet, I believe that just as we are attracted to things like
Daises, so God made us to be attracted to ourselves as well--and I am not talking about
vain narcissism or arrogant pride. These are Satan's counterfeits for this truth of God.
His ways breed envy and disdain for our fellow man. God's ways, however, release us to
find joy in being just who He created us to be-- a unique reflection of His image.
When this work is completed in us, we can truly rejoice at the marvelous things He has
done in others without feeling the slightest twinge of envy, competition, or inferiority.
Could it be that many of us would like ourselves a whole lot more if we
weren't so busy trying to impress ourselves and others, trying to create another persona
that we feel more comfortable in? Could it be that if we would simply let God be Himself
in us, we might actually like the person that emerges--that hidden, weak, scared
side of us that we try to keep stuffed away from prying eyes? In that area of our being
(even in the most humiliating part of it) lies a precious seed planted by God. God wants
to breathe on it and cause supernatural life to grow from that place that we hate the
most. In fact, this is where He will bring forth the greatest beauty in us--if we will let
Him. All it takes is bravery; which is another word for faith. This He gives freely and
abundantly to all who call on Him in truth.
Whether we ever make the history books of this world is of very little
consequence. The records that are kept by man are incomplete and biased anyway. We all
remember things differently from each other, and couldn't possibly do justice to even one
life, let alone the billions of people that have lived on this planet. However, there
is a Book that has recorded each and every one of our lives--a History Book kept by
the only One who sees everything that really happened and who is impartial in His records.
In His Book, no one is overlooked or forgotten, regardless of the importance their
life on earth. We may weep over injustice in human history and our own fears of being
forgotten, but I tell you that with God there is no such thing. A Day of reckoning is
coming--and on that day, all of history will be judged by the only One who can judge it
righteously and mercifully.
Anyone can do "good deeds" but they do not necessarily justify
us in God's eyes, or win His heart. The Pharisees are proof of that. What He really wants
from us is honesty and humility. Our own "righteous actions" can never
cover the nakedness of that part of us that we are ashamed and embarrassed about. We may
feel that we haven't done anything really worthwhile, and that we aren't very high up on
God's list of important things to do, and if we only become a better Christian He will
love us more-- but that is a lie straight from hell. Of course God wants all of us
to mature in the faith and to do the works He did--but the purpose of all of this is so
that each one of us can become a friend of God. Friendship with God should be our goal,
not great works to do for Him. If we are His friend, great works will follow,
simply born out of a love relationship with Him. Our works won't make us proud of
ourselves, either. They will make us proud of Him!
I know I still have a ways to go, in letting God transform my old ways
of thinking and acting. I realize an important key is to not become absorbed in myself--my
strengths and weaknesses, but rather, to become absorbed in Him. Where does healing come
from? Where is the fountain of life that washes away all that smells of death and despair?
If the world knew, how they would run to it! If the Church really knew, oh how we would
run to it!
I have no fancy answer to finding that healing River. The Bible says
that if we believe in Him, it is flowing from our innermost being. The Bible says that it
is already there! In the River is all that we need. It may come manifested in healing
words spoken to us by a brother or sister in the Lord. It may come from many different
sources, one of the greatest being to love and pray for those around us (even those we
have a problem with) the way we ourselves would like to be loved and prayed for. But most
of all, it will come from one place; the Secret Place of the Most High. If you have never
been to a secret place with Him--or if it has been many years, ask God to take you there,
just as you are. His spirit will wash you and make you beautiful in His eyes. The more of
your own sin that you recognize and repent of, the more room you will have for Him in your
heart--and this is something that you can never be worthy of. All He wants is for you to
accept it and take the time to dwell in it. This is an act of His grace and love to
you--little ordinary you. Weak and unspectacular as you are, He loves you far more than
you can begin to imagine. Your life has been written in God's History Book, and if you
seek Him with all your heart, the story of your life will be one of beauty, strength and
(NOTE: If you would like to share your testimony with us, please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may print
it in a future issue of the Digest. We welcome testimonies from all over the world, and we
pray that your words will be an encouragement to others.)
For those who would like to also read some of the letters we receive at BibleResources.org
we have a Testimony Page comprised from e-mail from many people around the world. They
have really blessed us and we pray they will bless you too. Go here: TESTIMONIES