- Melinda K. Bowens
Keeping It Simple: Reflection
I know I briefly touched on the idea of reflection a few posts ago, but I didn’t completely establish why reflection is an important concept. To me, it’s a term that sounds peaceful but ultimately takes some pretty sincere internal effort.
So, just in case you didn’t know, Mulan is my absolute favorite Disney movie! I know The Lion King is a classic and Princess in the Frog has the only black princess, but Mulan is my movie! You have a woman who takes it upon herself to save those around her, all while accompanied by a wise-cracking spiritual guide (whom she also gives a hard time). This movie was made for me! And to be fair, it should really surprise no one that my favorite Disney princess is one that really wasn’t a princess at all. Seemingly, very on brand for me!
In this lovely cinematic masterpiece, there is a song entitled “Reflection.” Of course, I’m providing a link here because context makes everything better (to me), but let’s keep going. While singing and gazing at herself, Mulan laments in melody “who is the girl I see, staring right back at me, when will my reflection show who I am inside.” Even as a cartoon, Mulan nailed a concept that is most important to us as well. When will what we desire internally, be visible externally? It is a difficult question and one we sometimes have often.
While Mulan sang about the external reflection of life matching how she felt internally, I want us to focus on our personal reflections that impact our lives. Taking the time to assess how we came to this place in life is the only way to intentionally adjust moving forward. This doesn’t mean we’re in a place of despair and confusion (or it may and that’s okay as well), this means we understand that life is not a series of coincidences and we want to be engaged. So how do we actually “reflect?” Let’s discuss!
Reflection is not meant to be a taxing process. It is meant to take effort, not take your sanity. The one thing we need to make sure we give ourselves in this practice is time. There are no shortcuts to most sustainable things in life and reflecting is not different. We must allow ourselves the space to adequately evaluate, if we want this habit to mean anything deeper. But after we have given ourselves the time to think, we only need to ask two remaining questions:
1. What is working in my life?
2. What is not working in my life?
That’s it. Those are the basic questions. Although, I don’t mean what is making us happy. I mean, what is matching what God says about our lives and what is not. It’s really tempting at this point to reach for the low-hanging fruit of thinking about careers and certain people in our lives. But I want us deeper than that. Are we great at being generous, but having a hard time with being quarrelsome? Do we speak kindly of others, but also struggle with lust? These kinds of questions.
Because if we keep it all the way honest, we’re not completely flawed…but we’re also not completely perfect. So, do not take this as a call to perfection, but take this as a time of honestly searching (reflecting) for ways to continue trying to be like Christ.
Let’s do the work!
1. What time will you set aside to reflect? Be specific about the day and amount of time.
2. What is working in your life? How can you do more of this?
3. What is not working in your life? How can these areas be more submitted to Christ?
For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
James 1:23-24 NLT
It is your own face that you see reflected in the water and it is your own self that you see in your heart.
Proverbs 27:19 GNT
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
Romans 7:15 NLT