Monday, May 9, 2016

To the Woman in the Mirror - A letter to the depressed and anxious part of me

To the woman in the mirror:

The truth is, you scare me. I roll out of bed in the morning, knowing I will have to face you and I am afraid. I never know who I will see looking back at me. I hope that you will be beautiful and strong, full of hope and joyful anticipation for all that the day holds. I hope you will look back at me with eyes that say, “Mercy is new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. Believe and live.” But that’s not how it’s been. That’s not how it always is.

Sometimes you just stare blankly at me with tired eyes. Sometimes those eyes are swollen from the tears which soaked your pillow through the night. Sometimes they are wild with anxiety, with some inexplicable fear. Sometimes you can’t bear to look back at me. The heaviness of the burden you carry reaches all the way through you and even your eyes lower under the weight of it. Your failures. Your sense of worthlessness. Your lack of interest. Sometimes the confusion behind your eyes is more than I can bear. Where does it all come from? Will you give me answers? I can see you begging me, pleading with me like you plead with everyone around you, to notice, to help, to fix, to heal, to protect, to put you back together again after you humpty-dumptied right off the very wall you built to protect yourself. The truth is, I detest you, your weakness and brokenness. And for a while that made me detest myself.

You see, woman in the mirror, I thought you and I were the same. I thought that we were one. I thought I could look to you and see my identity. I thought that you defined me. I thought that I was the sum of every feeling, every fear, every burden that you reflected back to me. I thought the things I saw in you were my reality, and I could hope for nothing more. It took so long for me to even consider that I was wrong.

But one day I reached up to touch you. One day I decided that I wouldn’t be afraid of you anymore. One day I decided that I would not let you define me or control me. One day I decided to be strong and courageous, so I reached to touch you. You were cold and hard. I pulled back and touched my own cheek – soft and warm. You and I are not the same after all.

You are nothing more than a reflection on glass. No wonder you feel so fragile! But I? I am flesh and bone and blood and muscle and breath and soul and mind and nerves and… ah yes, I had forgotten… A vessel of the Holy Spirit. You are flat – all depression or anxiety or vanity or fear or failure or brokenness. I am so much more. You are reflection. I am real. You are my image. I am made in His. You do not define me. Oh yes, I do struggle with all the things you show me. I am broken. There is absolutely no doubt about that. You are a part of me, but you are not all of me, and you are certainly not forever. Tomorrow you will look different, just as I will. All of these things I see in you? They will pass. He will bring redemption and healing and mend the broken parts of me. And I will tell you this: Sweet woman in the mirror, I will learn to love you as He loves me. I will learn to be thankful for you, because you drive me to His thrown of grace. I will learn to never fear you, but instead to embrace you and speak life to you. There is more than this. There is healing in His arms, and you remind me of that. So I will remind you, oh broken reflection, tell you the thing I most long to hear: Take heart and fear not. Mercy is new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. Believe and live.

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