Post 2: The Dress
Making sense of life after the box fell has consumed me over the past 10 months. It has taken me to places that have affected my joy, my peace, and my worth. It has brought me down to the very core of who I am and I have discovered some very big gaps and holes in my heart.
Breaking the beautiful mirage of a perfectly painted masked face was the way God Himself wanted to show me who He is.
I have become a learner like never before. Reading and consuming information from people way smarter than me has given me a sense of inner strength. Becoming open and honest and dare I say, vulnerable with others has shown me that it’s OK to not be perfect. There is freedom in being open and honest. There is joy in being understood. There is peace in accepting the real person that you have tried really hard to stuff into a small grey box on the shelf because she felt very unworthy.
While praying about this piece of the broken box, the Lord gave me an image. Have you ever seen those pictures on social media of the infamous dress? Some say the dress is blue and black, others claim it is white and gold. People thought it was interesting at best, while many people became irate that their visual perception would be put into question. After all, they knew what they were seeing; the dress was the color they saw. The proof was in the pudding.
Could it be that the perception of myself was one color, while in reality, I was wrong, and the actual true color was something I was not seeing with my own stubborn eyes?
Because I felt so clear that it was the Lord who had placed this image in my mind, I started to do some research on the science of the discrepancy. My findings were fascinating. Slate magazine published an article in 2017 entitled, Two Years Later, We Finally Know Why People Saw “The Dress” Differently. In this article, Pascal Wallisch, who claims to be a vision scientist, suggests that, “…what may have been a reason for the varied perceptions: People’s perceived color is also informed by their perception of lighting” (Wallisch, 2017).
Lighting. OH, I am loving the connection here. Light. Illumination.The source of perception.
As a believer, my source of light should come from Jesus who says, “I am the light of the world.” However, when things are shoved in boxes and put on the shelf, they become hidden from the Light. Those lies that told me I was unlovable had been shoved in that box on the shelf making my perception totally wrong. Unpacking those feelings and bringing them into the Light, reveals the truth. As much as that dress is really blue and black, I am truly worthy of love.
You are worthy of love.
When you feel unworthy of love, you become incapable of receiving love. It’s a terrible tragedy that I have watched first-handed unfold. I am literally surrounded by the most loving husband and seven amazing kids. They tell me they love me, they show me they love me, yet there is something inside of me that says, “if they really knew you, they wouldn’t love you…because…you are unworthy of love.” And I was believing it…and it was making me so very sad.
Meanwhile, another side of me became so frustrated for buying into such a ridiculous lie and denying myself of one of the most essential things known to man. To be loved.
Going to the Father and seeking His face to answer the question, “Am I loved?” became my work.
This is an ugly and embarrassing piece that was in that box that I am still trying to make beautiful. The work is not done.
Maybe that’s where the problem lies…I can’t make it beautiful. Only God can. The trying and striving was exhausting and unproductive.
Things like replacing lies with truth will always be unproductive if we do them in our own power.
“As the illumination conditions are impossible to clearly assess in the dress image, people make assumptions about what they are” (Wallisch, 2017). Just like we make assumptions about ourselves…we can deceive ourselves when we don’t bring these lies into the Light.
We have to ask Jesus to be our illumination on all of those hidden pieces of our hearts so that our assumptions don’t overshadow His truth.
Maybe you have a piece of your heart that feels unlovable. It could be a dress packed away that looks gold and white to you; no matter how many people tell you it is black and blue. Another little fact that I gained from this article is that when the brain faces uncertainty, it “…confidently fills in the gaps in knowledge by making assumptions. Usually, its assumptions are based on what it has most frequently encountered in the past” (Wallisch, 2017).
My brain, and yours, that have made agreements with lies and created assumptions which say, “I am not lovable or worthy” have created deeply worn paths of thought. The same thing happens in our brains. When we start to “coast” in life, or chose to take the shortcut, or just survive rather than to thrive, our habitual thinking will take over.
This is why Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Christ’s thoughts of you are not “you are unlovable” or “you are unworthy.” Instead, they are the complete opposite.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7).
You are loved, dear friend, and you are worthy. That is the truth.
There are subtle ways that the enemy of our soul can sneak in. Whether it is shadowing our reality with hurt feelings, unmet expectations, or discontent hearts to the point that we are not seeing clearly…or just using our old assumptions to make sense of life in the middle of the storm, he is out to kill, steal, and destroy everything that he can.
However, this enemy of ours is not all powerful.
The writer of this article goes on to talk about how he noticed in his research that the perceptions of the color of the dress could be correlated with the amount of exposure to light you were receiving. People who claimed to be early birds, for example, and had more exposer to light saw the dress white and gold. Isn’t it ironic that the people who see more clearly have an altered view of the actual dress. If we stick with my little analogy, I think this is because people with a heavenly focus, who experience more exposer to the Light, are able to see beyond this reality to a better one. This world is hard and dark, and although we may live in this world, we are not a part of this world. “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:14-16).
Spending more time in the Light will not give us the same perspectives as the world. The world is broken, lost, and longing. We are whole, found, and loved. Not because of who we are, but because of who He is.
While “the dress” of disillusionment came crashing out of my box, it’s still there. I still have to remind myself that I am truly loved, worthy, and whole. Renewing my mind takes hard work. Working to create a new pathway in my thoughts takes time, patience, and dedication.
What are some old habits or patterns of thoughts that the Lord wants to shine His light on in your life?
Wallisch, Pascal. “Two Years Later, We Finally Know Why People Saw ‘the Dress’ Differently.” Slate Magazine. Slate, April 12, 2017. https://slate.com/technology/2017/04/heres-why- people-saw-the-dress-differently.html.