“Mirror, mirror on the wall; who’s the fairest of them all?”
Do you remember the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? The first time I watched it, I was much younger than I am now. I vividly remember the scene with the mirror and the Queen (maybe because it was one of my favorites). When I was little, I did not fully grasp the meaning of the mirror. I did not grasp the danger of the question. In fact, I didn’t understand the Queen’s reaction to the mirror’s answer until much recently.
Here’s what went down in that castle tower: the Queen was looking for someone (or some thing, rather) to tell her that she was acceptable. Her pursuit to be the “fairest” in the land was actually a pursuit to be accepted. Only with a little bit of pride added to the mix.
Do you ever feel like the Queen? Wicked as she may have been, I find myself in her shoes more often than not. Every day I stand before the mirror, and every day the question rolls around in my mind.
Who’s the fairest of them all?
I look to my mirror for the answer, and most of the time-like the Queen- I am reminded of somebody else. Someone who is prettier. Someone who is skinnier. Someone who is “fairer”. There are moments I desperately plea that the answer would be me. There are moments I would give anything for the answer to be me. And then there are moments where-for a few seconds- the answer is me…until someone else comes along.
My friend, the mirror is a dangerous place to be seeking that approval.
If it’s not telling you that you fall short of the standard, then it is telling you that -for a brief moment- you have surpassed the standard. And surpassing is just as destructive as falling short. Surpassing means you have found your acceptance in the eyes of the mirror, and now you move about your day with a thing called Pride.
You see, the moment I look to the mirror to find my acceptance and value is the moment my life just got a little messier. The mirror only gives you two option: Self-Loathing or Self-Loving. There is no truth. There is no balance. There are only two extremes that will wreck your life if you go there.
The mirror should not be your best friend. It should be that piece of glass on the wall that tells you whether or not you have a broccoli stuck in your teeth, and nothing more. It was never intended to give us the answer, for the answer may turn us into the witch that feeds the “fairest one” with the apple.
Yes- the mirror causes us to do some pretty nasty things.
There is a mirror, however, that does not lead to evil. There is a mirror that leads to truth. James describes that mirror in his letter to the church:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it- he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
Do you ever look in the mirror and forget the image five minutes later? I do; that’s the reason I return to it so constantly. That’s the reason you look for your image in every reflecting surface- windows, mirrors, blank T.V. screens…the list is endless. We constantly check our face to see if it has “changed” from five seconds ago.
What if we stopped checking our faces so much and started checking our hearts? What if we stopped turning to the mirror for our acceptance and instead looked into the Word that merges truth with reality? Would our lives be different?
Today’s challenge is to break that close-knit relationship with the mirror. Be an acquaintance rather than a best friend. Be a passerby rather than a resident. Be Snow White rather than the witch…because we already have enough of the apples to go around.
Verse: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)