Category Archives: self-image

Living in a Glass Box

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As an extremely shy, introverted, and fearful youth I often retreated into my easily controlled fantasy world. I was reluctant to open up or talk to people or didn’t know how. I’d sit in a high school classroom and fantasize about putting a glass box around myself. A place where I could read, observe, or do what I wanted unseen by others.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t a fantasy. I succeeded but my hiding resulted in the reverse of what I thought. I put myself in a box that blinded me to others. I shut myself away so I became almost unreachable.

I escaped into a self-protective mindset that caused me to avoid eye contact, especially with strangers and to engage in non-committal conversations. It caused me, as someone once told me, to be “like a knight in impenetrable armor.” I felt safe in that armor. I could look out and determine when and where to let someone in. The problem is I isolated myself and prevented others from knowing me. I developed the habit of keeping people at an emotional distance.

Thankfully, God began to open my eyes in my early twenties and He’s been helping me since to learn. I’m in my sixties and continue to see what I’ve reaped from that box. I still avoid eye contact with strangers and honestly have to be intentional about looking friends in the eye.

I’ve come a long way since high school and I’ve had some great moments over the years of opening up to others. But, I’m still learning and always will be. The awesome news is my heavenly Father loves me exactly as I am and always has. But He also loves me enough to help me change. The grace of Jesus Christ covers every moment I ever shut someone out even though I still reap consequences. His love for me is eternal and secure. In spite of my weaknesses I have a husband and a son who love and respect me, and many faithful friends and loved ones.

My prayer is that my Father will help me take a sledgehammer and smash the rest of that glass box and crush the armor to pieces.

Is it possible I can live being who I am and stop trying to manage perceptions or keep people at a distance? No one can live perfectly open and free. Hey, we’re human! But with the help of Jesus, I’m learning to walk freely knowing He loves me as I am, knows all my sin and weakness, has already covered them on the cross, and has called me to walk in freedom.

And when I’m tempted to retreat, I can remember Psalm 32:7, which says, “You” God “are my hiding place…”

I don’t need a box, a suit of armor or any other self-protective stance.

God is my hiding place.

I first published this at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

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Ditch the Labels

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As one of a kind human beings,  let’s stop using labels to put each other in groups.

A label only tells us one small part of who a person is.

I’m an introvert but still different from every other introvert.

I’m a white female but that doesn’t fully define who I am.

I’m American but that doesn’t reveal my soul.

Because I vote a certain way doesn’t mean I’m like all others who vote that way.

To say someone is OCD, autistic, ugly or beautiful doesn’t tell me who he or she is.

We are individuals. One of a kind souls wrapped in bodies unlike any other. Each of us is a wonderful miracle. Assigning you a label doesn’t mean I know you. To know each other we must communicate, listen, understand and love. We need to look for the exquisite colors He put in each soul. Some of us hide them well so we need to be willing to take as long as we need to see.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;” Psalm 139:13-15 (NASB)

Father, Please help me to take time to see your unique design in each soul. Help me look for your fingerprints all around. Help me let go of labels and judging others without knowing them. Please love others through me and help me to see how much you love each thoughtfully created human being.

Most of us have the tendency to judge others based on appearance or an obvious label.(often one someone else has assigned)

Together let’s determine to know who each person is inside and show them God’s love.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

*It’s estimated that throughout all of history, approximately 100 billion people have existed on earth.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 livingbygracepic

 

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Fantastic Book for Young Women (and the rest of us too)

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I loved this book! (I bought it for my Kindle) I could not put it down.

Even though it was written for teen girls and young women while I am 62 years old!

Jessica Fralin is a gifted author and communicator. Her message here is timely and vital for young women in particular but all women would benefit from her messages. Women need this message of where to look for validation and truth. Social media has changed our world and it’s not going anywhere.

We need to be faced with the truth of how it can be used for harm and how to avoid that.

Jessica not only points out the pitfalls and dangers of social media but how to keep it in its proper place and even use it in a positive way. She weaves the truth of the Bible throughout without being too “preachy” and always in a real way. She has also given many extra facts that make the book interesting and discussion questions that make it easy to read and discuss the book with young women who are in your life.

Jessica gets real with many of our motivations for what we post on social media and causes us to look deeper at what we are really looking for. She points to the truth and the only place where we can find the acceptance and love we are looking for and that is from God. I think this book is a must read for teen girls, young women and their parents. The best would be to read and discuss it together.

Jessica helped me to look at my own behaviors with social media and I have some things I plan to work on. It is amazing that a young woman would have such wisdom but that comes from the time she has spent in God’s Word. I wish I could buy this book for every young woman I know.

It is timely, practical, inspirational, encouraging, well written (written on a level to speak to young people) and filled with truth.

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