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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

14 Apr '12

Image management or heart management

All of us to one extent to another seek to manage our image. We want to look the best to others. In its most extreme forms, image management becomes narcissism and the inability to admit fault or to say "I was wrong." In its milder forms it manifests itself in not being fully transparent even when we are with safe people. We like to manage our image and we want people to see the managed version of us rather than the full and real us.


Think about this, however. Image management is simply about managing the outward appearance of our lives. It is no less "spin" than what we see Hollywood and government do every day. Image management is about making the outward facade of our lives look good. And it is totally the wrong focus.


What should concern us is heart management, not image management. If we manage our hearts well, we have no need to manage our image because what is inside will be what is manifested outside. Image management is only necessary when we have not managed our hearts and therefore need to make our outer self look clean knowing that there is an inner self that is not.


This is why Jesus called the Pharisees "whitewashed tombs" (nice on the outside and a corpse on the inside) and told us that what comes out of a man is simply a manifestation of what is in his heart. Manage our hearts, or as the Proverbs says, "guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life" and image management is no longer necessary. 


Here is the irony. Image management is a clue to us that we are neglecting something in our hearts. That neglect causes us to need to pretend all is well. If we find ourselves managing our image we ought to reflect on what it is that we are hiding from others and why. And rather than putting our energy into managing our image, we can put it to work managing our heart.