How often has this happened to us. We get done with a great dinner with people we enjoy and once we are home we head to our bathroom look in the mirror and see the largest piece of pepper sitting between our front two teeth! We are amazed at how it looks and we are amazed that we did not have a friend tell us. The truly amazing thing is we wouldn’t have seen the pepper if we didn’t have a mirror with a reflection. Reflections from mirrors can help us only if we look at them. They do not do any good if we ignore them. How much is that like our life? Are we too busy today to even sit and reflect?
CS Lewis in his book, “Screwtape Letters,” has this quote from Wormwood to his apprentice:
“Your business is to fix his attention on the stream [of immediate sense experiences]. Teach him to call it ‘real life’ and don’t let him ask what he means by ‘real.’”
This quote is powerful because it deals with us staying so busy with “real life” that we never slow down to reflect. Reflection is a lost art in our society today. We actually want to speak and act first and reflect later. However without reflection, how are we really living with purpose? We often just keep running ahead in life and never stop to think about what direction we are going and if it is even worth the effort.
Let’s make reflection part of our life. Here are a few tips to get us started.
1) Start Journaling
- Journaling is a regular time where we sit and write. How we do it, whether digitally or analog, is not the issue. The main focus is that we make it happen. Journaling involves us reflecting on life and writing about it. We can just write about how we feel that day, or we can have questions that we ask ourselves each day to prompt our writing.
- The key to journaling is setting aside time to think and reflect. This will not happen unless we make the time to happen. We can schedule it as a part of our day and make it a habit. This forces us to stop and actually reflect on our individual purpose. We give time for God to speak to us and for us to listen. Journaling is something we all need to be doing.
2) Embrace Analog
- We live in a digital world with all of its conveniences, but we need to unplug regularly or our digital world will run us instead of us running it. I have been embracing more analog in my life lately. My journaling is in a notebook and I use a paper planner for my day to day activities. This has helped me to take time to reflect on the why of my day and the why of my life. If we never take the time to get away from the digital world, our time will be stolen from us
- How often have we found ourselves just checking something for a minute and then spending over 30 minutes to an hour online doing something else? We need to purposely put times in our day and week where we do not have our phones or computers. This forces us to think! Imagine what could happen if we all spent time each day reflecting instead of watching the latest viral videos….
3) Fight On
- Time is precious and should be honored by how we use it in our lives. Taking time to reflect and think will be one of the hardest commitments we can make. At first, we will feel like time is dragging, however keep fighting for reflection time. The pay off is worth the effort.
- We also will need to fight through our own journey of finding what works. How we take the time to reflect is one of the most personal things we can do and so it is different for each one of us. For some of us, a walk in the woods is reflection. For others, sitting at Starbucks with a pair of noise cancelling earphones and our favorite hot drink is the best way to reflect. Experiment and don’t be afraid to change to find the best option.
Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God…” Understanding our life and how we are connected to God, plus seeing how His purposes are working in our life starts by being still and reflecting. Let’s take the time to live in the reflection.
My motivation for this topic came from a great podcast from Michael Hyatt about being Self Aware. Check it out!