While I was dancing professionally, I saw many dancers with monumental self-image problems. Although I was chosen for many jobs, I always felt insecure and incomplete. It didn’t matter how big the part or how great the break—It was just never enough. I was always driven, but never fulfilled—searching but never really finding.
I don’t know if you have experienced this—what it’s like to be pressured to be everything the world calls “Perfect.” Deep within every person, there is a hole that can only be filled by truth. Nothing will satisfy it—no person, no starring role, no drug, no philosophy—but only the purest essence of truth.
You see, it doesn’t matter how perfect we try to be. We can never measure up to the world’s IMAGE of PERFECTION. The world’s image is truly an illusion. It’s a lie. It’s an image that is always changing, causing those under its dominion to live in a constant state of striving.
As a professional dancer, I took ballet five days a week for several hours, followed by professional jazz classes. Normally after hours and hours of work, I would grab something stupid to eat—like a Snickers Bar and an orange juice—and then rush back for more classes. This non-stop schedule repeated itself over and over again—6 days a week. Sandwiched in between all this, I still found time in the afternoons to audition for films, do television work and then stage. This was normally followed by some type of evening acting workshop or theater work.
When I was booked for shows, I didn’t take classes, but my days started with the standard 4:30 AM makeup call and then ended whenever the director decided to call it a day. These 15 to 18 hour days were a normal part of my life as a dancer and actress.
One afternoon ballet class stands out in my mind. There was this girl—a beautiful ballerina. One day she didn’t show up to class. I asked the teacher about her and I was told that she was in the hospital—her digestive tract had completely shut down. The diagnosis was Anorexia.
She was extremely talented, but when she looked at herself in the mirror—she saw something that no one else saw. Her self-image was killing her—and eventually it did.
I knew many dancers that suffered from Anorexia or some type of eating disorder. We were always trying to be something some choreographer or director wanted. We were never good enough and the pressure was crazy. It seemed impossible to please everybody. I lost many of my friends in Hollywood because of self-image.
Seeing True Beauty
I love art. I love dancing. I love creating beautiful music. In fact, I see music in everything. I hear music in all creation. I see art everywhere.
There’s a Scripture in the Gospel of Matthew that says something about seeing:
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.Matthew 5:8 KJV
In the Greek, “PURE” is translated, “katharos” meaning, “CLEAN.”
I first learned this Scripture after God had given me a clean heart—after I was born again. It has always been with me, even after all these years of pressing in to see all that I can see of God.
“Blessed are the CLEAN in heart…”
This transformation takes place at the new birth. Picture the transformation of the caterpillar in the cocoon. Webster’s Dictionary defines “metamorphosis” as a change in form, structure or function as a result of some development. One season he’s an unsightly little creature and then in the next—a change of form, structure and function—a magnificent butterfly flies free.
Metamorphosis is a transformation.
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.John 3:1-3 KJV
Realizing Your True Image: Like the Butterfly
The new birth is a transformation. Like the story of the caterpillar and the butterfly, the man or the woman that is born again, experiences a literal change in nature—a change in perception.
“Unless you are transformed…you cannot see.” The new birth transformation changes how we see. An unveiling takes place that enables the man or the woman to see the Lord as He really is. Jesus was saying, “You will only see God, know the ways of God and experience the love of God after you are born the second time of the Spirit—only then will you see.”
It takes a clean heart to see. This is why the Bible says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” A clean heart is one that has been recreated.
The only way to see God is to allow Him to take us from our cocoon of blindness into His Kingdom of light.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;2 Corinthians 5:17-18 KJV
Only a heavenly perspective can produce the true IMAGE.
I remember when I first received Jesus into my life—everything changed. I began to see differently. It was like my life came into focus and God’s plan for me became so clear. I didn’t know everything, but I knew enough. He healed my physical body. He healed my heart emotionally. He opened my eyes to the real me. It wasn’t some image that someone was trying to make me. It wasn’t some philosophical notion, but it was the authentic me.
My self-image became who I am on the inside—the real me. Once again, I felt like that innocent child. I felt that freedom. The sum total of my life’s experiences, which psychologists say is our self-image, no longer mattered to me.
Yes, I was still me, but now I was really me. Completely free, I no longer cared what anyone thought about my image. God loved me. He forgave me.
18 But all of us who are Christians have no veils on our faces, but reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord. We are transfigured by the Spirit of the Lord in ever-increasing splendour into his own image.2 Corinthians 3:18 Phillips