Snapshot of a….Snapshot

What do you see?

According to Wikipedia, “The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which subjects’ perceptions of inkblots  are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person’s personality characteristics and emotional functioning.”

Okay, so this isn’t really a Rorschach test and I’m not going to analyze your personality or thought processes, but I do want you to ponder this snapshot:

What is it conveying to you? What’s the story being told? Before you read on, please take a minute and decide what you think this snapshot is about.

I used this snapshot in a teaching several years ago. It was originally intended to open a discussion on community and relationships. I was amazed to discover the vast number of ways that people interpreted the picture:

  • The lady with the Bible is a church lady and she is being welcoming to the broken woman.
  • The Bible lady is acting superior and trying to get the broken woman to come to her holy way of thinking. Many people had a very adverse reaction to the “holier-than-thou” woman.
  • The broken woman is coming to the Bible lady for help and compassion.
  • Friendships are made up of very different kinds of people.
  • And others….

As in most art, there isn’t really a right or wrong interpretation. It’s in the eye of the beholder. But since this is my snapshot I’ll tell you what I think it conveys. You may have noticed that the women are wearing the same bracelet. To me this picture represents one person. We are both of these women. I am at any given time a fairly put together person, I love God and believe in His Word. I like people and I care about their well-being. As much as it is in my power and wisdom I like to improve others’ lives. Sometimes, tho, I may think I’m a bit better than another person. At the very same time I am also a mess. There are areas in my life that feel broken or worn down. Whether its something basic like my love/hate relationship with food or the judgments I hold in my heart and mind against others, I am a mess.

Continuing on…

What’s the point? For me it’s recognizing and owning who I really am. I am not pond scum. Nor am I an angelic being sent to grace the world with my perfection. I am not the standard by which all others should be measured. If I cling too tightly to either identification then I fail to truly know myself and certainly fail to ever be at peace. While my weaknesses and failures frustrate me and often sadden me, they do not sink my boat. I don’t expect perfection of myself and I’ve learned to ask for forgiveness, give forgiveness and accept myself and others as mere human beings – absolutely delightful…absolutely weird.

If you have chosen to join God’s story then you know that you are utterly loved and accepted by Him. You should also know that He is at work in every area of your life, shaping and growing you into a person who is more like Christ every day. That is my great hope…that’s what gives me the ability to accept the broken places and to be humbly grateful for who I am becoming.

If you spend a lot of emotional energy berating yourself, please stop. If you are coming to believe that you are the standard of goodness by which all others should be measured, please stop. You are a work in progress. Your friends, family, boss and others are all works in progress. We and they are daily in desperate need of grace. Give yourself a break. Give them a break. Give God a break.

Further reading:

Colossians 3:10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Philippians 1:3, 6 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

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