Have you ever been to a house of mirrors at a carnival or an amusement part? It is hilarious to see our bodies distorted by concave and convex mirrors. Of course, in the age of technology and Snapchat, all you need is a smart phone and the right app to make your face look like a gorilla or a skinny stick-insect.

Distorted Self Image

As human beings, we have an innate ability to distort our self-image and become our worst enemies. This can have a deep effect on our leadership. One of Christianity’s best known preachers, Dwight L. Moody, had this to say about himself:

I have had more trouble with D. L. Moody than with any other person.

It is as if we are all suffering from "distorted mirror syndrome," which keeps us from becoming the spiritual, servant leaders God has called us to be. Consider these personal obstacles leaders face from a distorted self image:

  • As spiritual leaders, we are called by God and equipped with spiritual tools to fulfill His vision. Focusing our eyes on distorted mirrors can be paralyzing, preventing us from seeing the possibility of God using us to bring His Kingdom and use the tools He has entrusted to us. Fortunately, Moses got over his initial distorted perception of himself. The result: A small nation of slaves overcame the greatest superpower of their time (Exodus 13).

  • Servant leadership is focused on serving and empowering others. Leaders with a distorted self-image have a hard time empowering others, and their attitude leads them to feel threatened. Jesus was pretty secure about who He was and what He came to do. In His secure self-image, Jesus was able to serve His disciples, even by washing their feet (John 13).

  • Transformational leaders are agents of change, and agents of change lead by example. A distorted sense of self-worth will hinder our ability to be used by God for meaningful change. Nehemiah was a humble cup bearer, but he showed confidence in God to cast the vision of rebuilding Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 3).

New Perspective

The solution to "distorted mirror syndrome" is to find another point of view. Other people may look at us through similar distorted lenses. What we need is to view ourselves through God’s eyes. God’s point of view is fairly easy to take on, because His view of us is in the Bible.

  • We are created with a purpose with God’s personal touch (Ephesians 2:10).

  • We are royalty, called to lead and bless others (1 Peter 2:9).

  • We are the light of the world, called to influence others (Matthew 5:14).

  • In Christ, we have limitless possibilities (Philipians 4:13).

Those familiar with ILI may notice I have combined two of our signature teachings: Biblical Leadership and Overcoming Obstacles. Allow me to introduce a third to tie everything together: Intimacy with God. The only way for these biblical truths to become real in our lives is to be etched deeply in our hearts through our disciplined pursuit of intimacy with God. Through prayer, study, meditation of scripture, and other spiritual disciplines, you and I can learn to see ourselves as God sees us. Viewing ourselves through the lens of Truth will free us to lead like never before.


by Norival Trindade