In creating this Oil I wanted to use a simple, but somewhat stylized, composition from nature to draw attention to our ‘Thought’ for the week—Reflection. I imagine a thin sheet of ice has formed over the pond outside our window, before the approaching snow clouds make an evening delivery. Canada Geese are finalizing formations for their journey south and warmer winter climate. Reflection.
When I hear ‘Reflection” my first thought is a bathroom or full-length mirror attached to the closet or bedroom door. What comes to your mind? We use mirrors daily with little thought about what’s taking place. We simply see ‘us’. At least it’s the reflection of the physical ‘us’ perceivable at that moment.
Historians tell us the first ‘mirror’ was a simple pool of still water dating back to creation. Perhaps as early as 2,500 BC, obsidian and then polished metals became mirrors. The Romans first used glass with metal 300 BC but lost the art with the invasion of northern tribes. Around AD 1,300 silver with glass was first used. Thus began the mirror you observed this morning. Enough about how refracted light works in our environment.
This begs the question: Why do we use mirrors in the first place? Pure vanity may motivate some. For most, reflection in a mirror helps us see what ‘is’ and gives us hope that it can be transformed to what we ‘want to see’ and how we want to be seen.
Similarly, ‘Self reflection’ is defined as “the capacity of humans to exercise introspection—self-examination—and the willingness to learn about ones fundamental nature, purpose and essence.” Why? Why would a person be willing to learn about who they are inside, to see deeper than the glass reflection on the wall? In actuality, many are not willing. But to be willing assumes that person wants to assess where change may be necessary to reach the “nature, purpose or essence” they desire others, as well as themselves, to experience in and through them.
It seems to me two challenges block ‘self-reflection’: Purpose and Time.
Purpose is the vision or standard one desires to achieve when approaching the mirror, be it external/physical or internal/spiritual. There is a way you think your hair ‘should look’. There is a way you ‘should be’ on the inside and that others experience in your presence. The guide for how your hair ‘should look’ may be stimulated by a magazine ad. The guide for the internal/spiritual for the follower of Jesus is the “law of the Lord—Love”
Time is required in responding to the reflection seen in both kinds of mirrors. Time to work on my physical appearance that it may conform to my purpose, aim or goal. Likewise, time is required to work on my internal/spiritual purpose.
God made it simple. We complicated it. God said to set aside one day to experience Shabbat—rest or cessation. We say fill seven days to overflow with “living”.
Take away for this
We’re pretty clear about how to utilize the bathroom mirror in making desired physical/external changes in how we want to be seen by others. It’s ‘self-reflection’ that may present our greater challenge.
“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19
What is the purpose I desire to be true of my heart? It’s relatively easy for a follower of Jesus to declare the Word of God to be the standard or purpose which he or she wishes their life to reflect. Jesus condensed this purpose to three verses.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it.
“Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-39
How do I do that? Invest time to this purpose. How much time? That probably depends on you individually. God gives everyone 168 hours each week.
Question: What would happen if we set aside one day each week as our personal/family Sabbath or Shabbat—time to cease from the norm? On that day subtract from life: smart phones, computers, television, Internet, newsprint and the like. Replace them with family meals, conversation, listening to others, listening to God, journaling, reading for inspiration and enlightenment taking a walk, music and taking a nap. See: Psalm 46:10
Answer: Insight, from ‘self-reflection’. Changes, conforming more to God in you.
“Reflect on what I am saying for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”
2 Timothy 2:7