I’m sick, and it’s late. I came home and my room is still a wreck. I manage to hang up my jacket.
This is fine.
I’ve been so jetlagged and tired the last week and a half, I haven’t worked out. The mirror shows awkward curves reforming. I force myself through a short workout, but my sore throat reminds me that I need rest.
This is fine.
I have a meeting in the morning, an article due tomorrow, a presentation to create, and a stack of thank you notes to write. There are so many hats on my head, I’m no longer certain which hat was there in the first place.
This is fine.
And I open up my Facebook and stare at these beautiful pictures of my friends getting married, and I find myself bending to envy. She looks beautiful. She looks enthralled with life. She looks like a jewel, someone worth cherishing and treasuring, someone who deserves love.
I look up again to the room around me, the mess, the quiet, the less than appealing face in the mirror.
This is fine.
And I’m tempted to spiral down this rabbit hole again. A rabbit hole on the comparison of public image. I could care less if I own a rich house or have a model’s body. My stumbling block are “Instagram worthy” pics. Do I have a cute hat? Am I smiling happily? Is there a great filter for it to look vintage? Overall, do I look good?
Over the years, Jesus has ben stripping me, piece by piece, little by little, of the things that have hindered my walk with him. Now—and in some ways I feel it is one of the deepest layers—is the idolatry of my reputation. All of my life, it has been a fear and pride in my life. What do people think of me? I want them to say I’m perfect. I want them to think I’m reliable, dependable, attractive, smart, clever, a powerhouse… the list has shifted through the years, but the core theme remains. I want to be loved. I want to be wanted. In my mind, a “noble” reputation is the ticket to those things.
However, over the years, time and time again, I have failed to live up to this reputation I built for myself. I missed deadlines. I didn’t complete a task in time. I couldn’t make my physical body measure up to the standards in my mind. I was never the smartest in the room. I’m dense as a rock when it comes to clever things like riddles and puzzles, and I’m weak at every capacity.
This idol of my reputation, was an idol I built, an idol I turn to, and it has overpromised and under-delivered every single time. But, it’s been a struggle between God and me.
A few mornings ago, I opened my bible to Philippians and this verse jumped out to me:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
This verse rattled that final layer in me. All that I consider my personal gain, all that I covet to gain, am I counting it loss for the sake of knowing Christ? When it comes down to choosing my reputation and public appearance or my life following Jesus Christ, I find myself choosing myself over him.
I am willing and eager to count Him worthy over anything else in my life. But, how people see me takes priority over His will for my life. I have disobeyed commands and promptings in my life that He has given to me, because I didn’t want to look stupid, or silly.
I can’t have both. I have to choose. I say with my mouth that I will choose Christ, but practically in my life do I exhibit that? When I wake up in the morning, do I choose Him? When I post on Instagram, do I choose Him? When I scroll my Instagram, do I choose Him? If I’m not choosing Him above all else, then what is it that I am putting first and why?
I am learning to relinquish, and I am learning to leave my name, my reputation, and my public image in the hands of my Savior. He, who was humiliated, shamed, scorned, mocked, the target of condescending jokes and comments over the years, and disbelieved by millions, knows the cost of not catering to the crowd. But, he counted any personal gains loss for the sake of the Father’s will.
What is your choice? What keeps battling for first priority over Jesus in your life? Is He worthy to be the first over everything in your life? Why or why not? Will you count everything loss?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mia Grace loves sunflowers, words, old hardcover books, and fountain pens. She adores Jesus Christ, and seeks to listen and obey him in her life. Her life verse is Isaiah 52:7, and her prayer is for every girl to grasp the height, weight, depth, width, and power of Christ's love for them.