Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reflections on a Mirror

{photo credit}
If your mum was anything like mine, you grew up with your stunning 5-year-old fashion sense
constantly being challenged. "Don't wear plaid with polka dots," "your socks need to match," "petticoats do not go on your head" (yeah, it was a phase...) - it seemed there were always rules about what did and did not constitute an outfit. Even in my attempts to comply, I was rather flummoxed in following the "Laws of Acceptable Fashion," soon learning that such a feat was harder than it seemed.

The most obvious way to be mom-approved (an incontestable requirement for 5-year-olds) was to run through the list of individual dos and don'ts. Was I wearing plaid with polka dots? Did my socks match? Were there petticoats on my head? Never mind that my socks were dirty, or that my plethora of colors clashed at every intersection - if I was within the Laws of Acceptable Fashion, the girl reflected in the mirror felt satisfied and savvy. Inevitably, when mum would catch a glimpse of the eyesore I called an outfit, she would be scandalized. "What are you wearing?!" And I, having felt confident in my compliance with the rules, would have no idea what she meant.

Clearly, simply focusing on the rules wasn't creating a classy style, so what was a girl to do? As I grew, I learned the key to a good outfit involved not merely evaluating individual pieces, but stepping back, outside of the "rules," to view my outfit as a whole. Does this shirt and skirt look good together? Do I match overall - from hair-bows to shoelaces? Carefully, I would head downstairs, keenly aware of my every accessory, and there await evaluation.

{photo credit}
"For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was..."

What causes men and women to look in the mirror, walk away, and immediately forget what their style is? What attitude or perspective determines that one's appearance is not worth a single thought throughout the day? Could it be that mere "hearers", like the 5-year-old-fashionista, are so sure their reflections are flawless, following every "rule," that they simply can't be bothered to consider them again? Of course, as it concerns actual mirrors and styles, I think this approach preferable; but as it concerns my spiritual attitude, I find it convicting.

Are we like the rich young ruler, who looked at the the Laws of Acceptable Behavior and didn't even know what he was missing? Interestingly, the word "law" used in this passage of James means "parceling" - a breaking up of our King's character into smaller pieces: pieces our finite minds can understand. However, when I look into the mirror of the law and consider only the individual dos and don'ts, will I notice if my spiritual socks are dirty with discontentment? Will I be aware that I've given imbalanced attention to the petticoats of works by wearing them on my head?

Will I see my great need to be adorned by His great grace?

"...But he who looks in to the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
{photo credit}
To be perfect is to be complete. When we look at our reflections in the law, not as individual dos and don'ts, but as pieces that describe a complete Character so entirely infinite that it dazzles the comprehension, will we feel "satisfied and savvy" with the  faces looking back at us? Will we walk away and "immediately forget" what kind of men and women we are? Or will it cause us to continue there, studying the perfect One, being changed into His likeness, seeking His adornment?

How do you look in the mirror?

Monday, August 10, 2015

As If

He works "all things together for good," so we hear.
As if blessings were really the sequel to tears!

As if evil surroundings of culture and man,
Could be turned into goodness, if left in His hand!

As if pain could be growth, as if hate garnered love-
As if all of this hurting is used by above!

As if blatant defiance, once seen and confessed,
Can deserve to be useful in showing His best.

As if turning our backs doesn't mean it's the end,
But instead is the proving of Who is our Friend.

As if when we, like Rahab, His law, careless, break,
And consider it right- a "white lie" for His sake -

As if such filthy rags, which our vanity airs,
Could be glorious tapestries, treasured with care.

As if scrawls on ripped paper were great works of art!
As if He, somehow - truly - sees only the heart,

And loves me in spite of the rest.

{photo credit}