What if Blurry is Better?

I jumped out of bed early this morning, a little too late for my exercise class and a lot too late to grab a cup of coffee. I headed straight to the fitness club and realized when I got there that I had thrown on my glasses and forgotten to put in my contacts. My glasses were way too bulky for the active class I was taking, so I took them off and left them in my locker.

blurry mirror

I usually situate myself in class in the second row, so that I don’t have to come face-to-face with my aging body…that cute little figure that once wore swimsuits with confidence is hardly recognizable by its owner. Sigh.  But today, because I am late, I am stuck in the front row. I am forced to confront my not-so-stunning self. I take a deep breath and open my eyes.

But today is different, because the mirrors are blurry. Forgetting my contacts may actually be a blessing.

As I complete the routine, I watch this blurry figure in front of me. I notice how, even at middle age, it is flexible beyond belief, strong and even a little bit graceful. I try to hold these positive thoughts in my mind rather than the not-good-enough judgments that usually flood my brain, and through the effort, I discover something wonderful. When the mirror is blurry, it’s actually easy to think clearly. I can’t make out the wrinkles, gray hair, or even my waistline, which is certainly a little thicker with each passing decade. Rather, I see past all the negativity and am somehow able to revel in the good.

In his book, You Are Special, Max Lucado tells the story of a little wooden boy named Punchenello, who grows up in a city where people go around putting stickers on each other. Some of the stickers are “good” stickers, some of the stickers are “not-so-good” stickers. While the author doesn’t specify, I imagine the “not-so-good” stickers say things like: You are not as slim as you used to be, You are not smart, You are a nobody.  Punchenello doesn’t like these stickers, even the ones he affixes on himself. But one day, he notices a friend who has no stickers. Intrigued, he asks her why. She tells him that he must visit The Maker, who lives in his workshop on top of the hill. There, Punchenello meets the man who made him. The Maker is so thrilled to see him. In fact, he’d been waiting for Punchenello to come. He sloughs off the stickers and replaces them with words of affirmation for his little creation.

You are Special.

You are Perfect.

You are Mine.

When Punchenello walks back into town, the people still run up and try to put stickers on him, but the stickers just fall to the ground. They won’t stick, even the ones he affixes himself. He has learned to see himself through the eyes of The Maker, the eyes that blur out the not-so-good, and see right through to the beauty and uniqueness inside.

And I wonder…  maybe God sees me a little blurry sometimes? Is it possible that He looks past the stuff that isn’t so attractive–the stubbornness, the sometimes-apathetic approach I take to my faith, and a myriad of other issues that make me a little less-than. He sees it all and yet He still says:

You are Special.

You are Perfect.

You are Mine. 

Maybe I should keep those contacts out for a while. Seeing blurry might just be a good thing.

Maybe I should keep those contacts out for a while. Seeing blurry might just be a good thing. I can look past myself and see his bright light shining through from the inside.

Psalm 139 says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and that He knit each of us together, one by one. And that just like the story, God waits for us to visit Him. While He waits, His thoughts of us are so numerous that they would outnumber the grains of sand. This psalm concludes with encouraging words for us, a way to manage our thoughts. We must visit Him and listen to what He has for us. Only then can He remove the anxious thoughts that like to tell us that we are not enough. Only then can we heed the words:

You are Special. You are perfect. You are Mine. 


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