Alright, all you artsy people out there, raise your hand! 1, 2, 3, 4… cool! Ok, sporty people- oh wow! Your turn scholars. Alright, awesome. Musicians? Cooks? Animal lovers?
Humans, any humans?
We all know what it’s like to make a masterpiece. For art lovers, it can be a sketch or a painting. For sport players, it’s perfecting that skill and learning the play. Scholars – a grade. Musicians – a piece of music. Cooks – a tasty meal. Pet owners – a well behaved and happy animal. And even if none or all of these apply to you, you all know what it’s like to be human. Unless this article is found by an alien society or genetically modified rabbits. Our masterpiece is our lives. It’s tied to many things and our reputation is the receipt at the end of it. We work hard at different areas in our life to improve and perfect it. Of course, humans are never perfect, but that doesn’t keep us from striving to do our best.
We measure ourselves up to our reputation. This has it’s pros and cons. It can easily turn into an obsession over pleasing others or it can be a healthy guide to some things in life. It becomes destructive when we compare ourselves to others. This leads us to goals that are unrealistic and sometimes harmful. I know what it’s like to live wanting to do what others expect. You change your actions and sometimes your thoughts are altered to allow for other peoples opinion. This morphs you into a person you may not recognize in the mirror. Our outward appearance can be a good thing, though, taken in balance. We need to be aware of other how we appear to other peoples in order to become an understanding and merciful person. It can help us recognize our faults and build ourselves up and become better. Either way, our reputation is a powerful thing.
Take some time to reflect. Your life is important, so give it some attention. What’s yours like? Do you know? What do you want it to be like? Do you think your reputation is unfair? Is it molded by stereotypes or people you hang out with? Are they any black and white, good or bad answers to these questions?
Our reputation is a tricky thing. We all want a good one, but there is no definition of a ‘good reputation’. It’s not just based on how others see ourselves, though. The mirror plays a big role in it too. It seems like it is based on culture and society and what is collectively accepted. This makes it really hard to moderate our actions. One thing is a-ok with culture but it may not be the best thing for you. So what do we base our lives off of? Where and what is our foundation for our reputation? There is only one solid answer, and humanity covers it in a grey fog.
We need to build our lives upon what the Bible says. I brushed over the importance of the Bible in my last article. We all want to see a change in our lives. To see a physical outward change that others will notice. I myself have found me wrestling to make changes in my life. But all my human attempts were futile. I discovered, through the help of a pastor and the Bible, that the most effective method for change is going from the inside out.
When you buy a lamp, you buy it so it will give off light. A simple concept. But if it doesn’t you don’t check the lamp shade. You look inside at the light bulb. And if the light bulb isn’t functioning properly, you switch it out and, click! the light turns back on. Then the people in the room can enjoy the lamps light. This metaphor isn’t hard to decipher. We’re the lamp and the light is our reputation. The light bulb is the stuff that affects that. The words we speak, how we treat others, how we hold ourselves. When we don’t like our light, we change the light bulb. We need the right bulb to give off the right light. I myself am not partial to the harsh white light or the warm yellow, I’m more of a natural light kinda person.
Our light bulb needs to be the values shown and upheld in the Bible. Once we develop confidence, self-control, patience, and other attributes shown in God’s love story, our lives follow suit. The light won’t change without a new bulb. And once we have the right bulb, we’ll be happy with our light and others can enjoy it too. God doesn’t want you to live in the dark.
I invite you to seek the right bulb.
As Jesus has invited us, “I have come that they may have life to the full” (John 10:10).