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Mirror, Mirror

I need the mirror of my sons, to whom I owe my life. I am molding and shaping their future with every look, gesture, word, deed and inaction. They unknowingly give me constant and consistent feedback about my fathering. If I do not pay attention, then I miss out on the wonderful dance of parenting. It's a bit of a trained skill to take a step back and look, and ask, "how am I being perceived?" One that I am (hopefully) enroute to mastering.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." - James 1.22-24

Introspection is one of those things that is very hard for us extroverts. We work out most of our stuff outloud, in front of others which makes us the life of the party, or the backseat of the sqaud car. By the time we have gotten around to the point of the matter or heart of the issue, we may have bungled our way, sloppily, through the china shop of the lives around us. It is a scenario that occurs with all-too great frequency. But it isn't without redemptive moments. Our verbal quickness and understanding of any given situation allows us to keep conversation and situations lively. We tend to enjoy engaging everyone, including introverts, and hope that we make everyone feel included and well thought of.

In fact, the insight of the previous paragraph is not stereotypically indicative of the extrovert. It's a bit of a trained skill to take a step back and look, and ask, "how am I being perceived?" One that I am (hopefully) enroute to mastering.

And so it helps to several different kinds of mirrors in my life.

I need the mirror of Jesus and others of faith found in scripture. Taking time out of most days helps me to re-align and correct my azimuth (cardinal compass direction) in order that I can reach the places I set my mind to go. If I don't have this, then I go about my life making up an image of God that falls very short of the one I should be following, if I want a divinely-successful life.

I need the mirror of my family, because they have known me the longest, and though I have changed over the decades in the course of adventures and trials, they knew my personality as it was forming. Their prayer must be that God will speak truth to my heart through their words, both encouragement and correction. It assumes that they are checking their mirrors, as well, driving down the road of life.

I need the mirror of my wife, who knows the very core of my soul. It is to her that I can crawl when the burdens of so many things have driven me to my hands and knees. She alone can hold my pained heart which has suffered the slings and arrows of discouragement and trauma. She can embolden me to walk back on the battlefield, bleeding and bruised and pale. It is to her that I have pledged my protection and provision, as a son of God, sent on His behalf. 

I need the mirror of my sons, to whom I owe my life. I am molding and shaping their future with every look, gesture, word, deed and inaction. They unknowingly give me constant and consistent feedback about my fathering. If I do not pay attention, then I miss out on the wonderful dance of parenting.

And I need the mirror of whom I could be, both good and bad. I need to be around role-models who inspire me to drive on, and I need individuals in whom I see the worst of me, what I have been at times and could be.

If we resist these mirrors, we lose the check-points that God allows in our lives to re-orient our direction and keep us on path. As I find personality flaws in others that hit too close to home, I pray (am praying) that God will not only heal the afflictions in the hearts of those, but also in mine. Lest I become a mirror by which others desire to reflect the opposite.

Lord Help.

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