When this post was in the works, I looked up a definition but didn’t find anything that was related to what I had in mind. Instead Google offered me definitions and diagrams of the ear as well as laser removal services. Thankfully, that is not what this post is about. To help me form a definition, I tried to remember where I learnt the phrase ‘inner image’ and it was a while ago at church. The concept has been a useful tool in shaping my reaction to situations and helping me build positive expectations for the future. I have watched people practice it and seen results, so I have learnt to do the same.
Inner image refers to what you have inside, what you’re looking at as a picture of where you’re going to; the picture that fuels your drive; the image in your mind’s eye that keeps you going. A friend of mine thought about it as “What you see yourself as; the best version of yourself; the peak of all your potential”. The idea you have about a thing is most likely your inner image of that thing which could be good or bad. It is possible to form, change or adjust your inner image.
A person’s inner image is formed by their environment, value system, upbringing, experiences, and other related factors. Just as there are many different permutations of people and their experiences, so are there various depictions of the inner images they have. Sadly, the environment does not provide top-notch information and resources for daily living, and so it is all the more important to take control of what forms you: thoughts, opinions, beliefs and actions. Therefore, individuals must draw the line between what they desire and what the environment thrusts at them. They need to determine how much of their environment they are willing to take in and what information may not be beneficial for them. Just like 1 Cor.6:12 says, “all things are lawful, but not all things are expedient”. The fact that everyone thinks in a certain way does not make it right. (*1 John 4:1)
An experience may be negative, however a person can decide not to dwell on the negativity, but to sift out the positive lessons and portray that instead, seeing the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. If one decides to form their inner image based on their experiences only, they may not have a good picture. It is so easy to build an inner image by looking inwards, at the things that make us, assuming that we are the standard. Unfortunately, this may not be true. It is important to have a good image about yourself. This is the foundation for building other things on. If you do not see yourself as good enough, it may be hard for you to think you deserve anything good. The Bible provides assurance in Psalm 139:14 which speaks of God’s wonderful works and describes you as “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Gen 1:31 also affirms that all things God made were “very good“.
Like any worthwhile venture, to get a good inner image, you must carry out research: find people who are doing well in that field, ask questions, find out the tips of the trade. If you want a good financial life, it would be wise to find someone who is debt-free and excelling financially to learn from; that applies to any other area you wish to form a good inner image. The fact that your parent’s marriage didn’t last as long as you expected it does not mean yours will too-you can adjust that image! Surround yourself with people who are experiencing what you’re expecting, talk to them, ask questions, read books on the subject (by recommended authors who are living out what they publish). Heb 6:12 admonishes us to “follow those who through faith and patience have obtained the promise”. Translation: find people who have worked it, ask them how and work it too.
To assess your inner image, it is necessary to ask some questions: When you think about career advancement, finances, marriage, relationships, what comes to mind? Do you think of a drained pocket regardless of how much you work and earn; do you have a positive expectation in your relationships or fear that they will be short-lived. How about marriage? Do you have reasons why marriage won’t work or are you hopeful that living forever with that special someone, who happens to be totally different from you is possible? Do you think you might be a bad parent? The answers you have to these questions may be as a result of your inner image. It may also be your fears being voiced or a result of something you have experienced or been exposed to. A good evaluation would help you know which category it belongs and how best to handle it.
What you think on eventually grows to be what you talk about and hence your reality. A wise man once told me “What you set before you consistently enters inside you”. Just like music filters into our subconscious and we find ourselves spitting lyrics we did not take time to learn, also the things we are constantly surrounded by or focused on will soon become a part of us. It is important to focus on the right things as that is what your mind believes, and your body demonstrates. What are you looking at? What is in front of you?
2 Cor 3:18 says it best:“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Hugs & Sleepy eyes,