We pass by them every day. There are probably many throughout your house or apartment. They are displayed in stores, bathrooms, hotels, or cars. Moreover, they show us who we are and what we look like to the rest of the world. Can you guess what they are? If you guessed mirrors, you’d be on the right track.
At times, we are tempted to think there is something wrong with the reflection we see in the mirror: “Surely I don’t look like that in the morning, do I?” During other times, we spend significant amounts of time in front of them, perfecting what we hope others will see. But are they accurate in showing who we really are?
The apostle Paul penned these words 2,000 years ago: “For now we see in a mirror dimly…” (I Corinthians 13:12). Paul used the Greek word ainigma, for dimly, which painted the picture of a vague and murky riddle. Is what we are on the inside, what others see on the outside? When you look in the passenger-side mirror of your car, notice the small words across the bottom. They read, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” The images are slightly distorted to give you a wider range of vision, so things seem farther away than what they really are. If you don’t realize this, it could be disastrous. When we use this mirror, we need to pay closer attention.
Perhaps we should apply this to all the mirrors we see ourselves in. What we see may reflect what we look like outwardly, but in reality, are only dim reflections of whom we really are. It is what is inside of us, which define us. What do you really want to reflect to those around you — kindness, self-assurance, joy, generosity, or love? Fill in the blanks and ask yourself if that’s what people see in you. If it’s not, then you might need to consider that we often reflect the things we’re focused on.
If I am always looking out for myself first, those around me will likely notice. If I focus on the negative things in life, the results of my life will likely be the same. In my own faith tradition, the writer of Hebrews encouraged his readers to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1, 2). Do you know the point he is trying to make? The object of our focus often becomes what we reflect. In running a race, we face the distortion of the pain and pressure that may keep us from pressing on. If we focus on those, they become our reality and we begin to reflect a race of conflict and pain.
So what does your life reflect? Maybe you should ask someone you trust. If it is not all you would like it to be, perhaps you need to think about where your focus is. Work on those areas you would like others to see in you. Then your reflection will become perfectly clear.