Perception is a gift from God, but limited perception could just as easily be a gift wrapped lie from Satan. Perception has layers and those first layers can betray what lies beneath. Below the initial surface-level perceptions is a wide world. The correct perception is often the one that we have after looking at someone over the course of time or maybe from a unique angle. Taking the time to look past the first-blush is critical. Building a belief system about anyone requires that we go deeper than first impressions. Perception can be a gift from God, if we take the time to see people as God sees them.
This is well illustrated in the story of Samuel. Samuel's on a mission from God to find Israel's next King. It's at a critical point that we find how God helped Samuel get the eyes of God - godly perception. Although Samuel thought he was staring the next King in the face, God intervened and said "Do not look on his appearance...For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Right there, God gave wisdom for perception to Samuel. This lesson is rock solid and transferable to everyone. First, we can draw zero hard and fast conclusions about someone based on first impressions or quick perceptions. Below the layers is a wide world. Someone who comes off great right out of the chute, may not have the character for the long haul. And conversely, someone who comes out stumbling, may well have such inner strength and fortitude that you'd be a fool to bet against em'.
But maybe you need this truth yourself. You feel like you don't "show" well. Well guess what, neither did most of the champions of grace that we find through the pages of history. Yes, put your best foot forward but don't worry if your best foot doesn't look so hot. God's been overcoming bad first impressions and peoples flawed perceptions for thousands of years. Here's what you can do. Focus the bulk of your attention on your heart. Yes, it can feel risky but God is the ultimate and final judge. And he always finds a way to reward the heart that is tended to. How will the reward appear? We don't know how or even when, but we do know that even if you're overlooked by flawed perception now, it's what God perceives that wins in the end.
I Samuel 16:7