The Mirror that Speaks Back
Christians are not immune to the pressure of never being or having enough. How do we re-establish our identity in God’s love? By Anne Le Tissier
When the commissioning editor at BRF approached me to write a book for young Christian women who are troubled with low self-esteem, you can imagine his surprise when on accepting the invitation, I informed him of my own past struggles and of supporting a brother whose self-image issues are thought to have played at least some part in his long battle with alcoholism.
But while my personal experience with the subject shaped the way I wrote, the book, The Mirror that Speaks Back; Looking at, listening to and reflecting your worth in Jesus’, is far more than the story of overcoming an eating disorder, an abusive relationship and a heart-breaking decision (among other things!).
Interspersed with quotes and stories from a survey I conducted as part of my research, the book also includes national statistics, suggested practical steps, guidelines to help the reader respond to God’s word, questions to reflect on and prompts for prayer.
In fact, reviewers and readers have since commented that the book can be helpful for both young and not-so-young women; for those older than the 16-25 year olds for whom it was primarily written, still struggling to find peace with who God made them to be.
Society offers many alternative ‘mirrors’ we can be tempted to look at to gauge a reflection of our worth; cultural idols or ideals, peer-pressure, opinions, digitally enhanced advertisements and social media images, for example, conveying their fickle assurance of happiness, contentment and fulfilment if we achieve, look like or experience […] - fill in the dots. Tragically, this results in too many women believing they are never good enough, they are never attractive enough, they never have enough; or in short, they’re just never enough. And Christians are not immune to this pressure.
'Many Christian women have shared with me that while they believe their faith should protect them from feeling unloved, insecure, inadequate or ugly, in reality their self-image can be as low as that of their non-Christian friends. They believe God’s word is true, but they struggle to let it transform their response to peer and cultural pressure. So negative messages or demanding expectations undermine their pursuit and experience of the contented, fulfilling and influential life God intends for them.’
The Mirror that Speaks Back was written as an accessible and practical guide to help Christian women address those pressures, re-establish their identity in God’s love and find contentment in being who He made them to be. For Hebrews 1:3 describes Jesus as the ‘radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being…’; He is the ‘mirror’ we need to look into to see and hear the right messages regarding our true worth.
The first section explains how a proactive response to the material can help the reader connect with God, and restore a right perspective on life to help them overcome secular pressures and ideals. Steps are suggested to inspire a desire for God for Himself, for a longing that supersedes the momentary buzz from pursuing or achieving secular ideals.
It also offers guidelines to engage meaningfully with scripture, for this was a key which unlocked God’s healing and wholeness in my own life. Trusting God’s word and living it out rather than just being familiar with it, is a powerful remedy for self-esteem issues and a protective barrier against further pressures.
The second and main section of the book reflects on self-esteem issues affected by body image, outward appearance and identity, health problems, social media, benchmarks of success, relationships, faith, and making comparisons. Finally, Part Three offers tips and encouragement to help the reader continue her journey into wholeness in God, including suggestions to seek further medical help, should that be required.
I pray this book will meet young (and older!) women whatever the nature of their negative self-image or self-esteem, and walk with them on their journey; encouraging them to renew their minds through the transforming power of God’s love and word, so releasing them to fulfil all they were made to be in Jesus.
But even if this book is not for you, you may have a daughter, wife, niece, mentee, or friend, who might benefit from its honesty, insights, scriptural foundation and practical nature that prompts a godly response. If so, I will be waiting within its pages to help them experience what I and many others have gleaned from drawing closer to God.
The Mirror that Speaks Back. Looking at, listening to and reflecting your worthy in Jesus, is published by BRF (2018)
Anne Le Tissier is the author of a number of Christian books and has written a wide variety of bible-study notes and magazine articles. She also speaks at conferences and in churches around the country, with a passion to disciple Christians in their ongoing walk with God. You can connect with her via her website, www.anneletissier.com
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