What is the Function of the Mirror? – April 4, 2012
Our Teaching Co-Pastor, Chris Carroll, has been teaching an awesome sermon series from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) over the past few months. Check out this link to view recent messages if you’re interested in watching any of them I highly recommend it: Firewheel Bible Fellowship. Anyway as he concluded the series this week he began the sermon with a funny analogy about people looking into mirrors at the gym. Well that got my mind rolling, and I’ll admit with full disclosure my mind may have wondered off just a bit. Have you ever noticed all those mirrors at the gym and all those people looking in them? These days I’m at the gym 6 days a week about 2 hours each day. I remember when we first started and I was just beginning this journey to getting healthy. I was so uncomfortable and ashamed of my weight that I despised that there were so many mirrors at the gym. I barely looked in mirrors at home let alone wanting to have every wall covered in mirrors. Plus I thought it was arrogant and prideful that many people stared at themselves, flexing muscles, posing, gloating in their triumphs, or so I thought!
Interestingly as I got further & further along with exercise I learned that the mirrors actually do serve a purpose while working out. I have learned from my awesome trainer to use the mirrors to watch my movements while doing specific exercises in order to ensure I’m doing it correctly. For instance I often raise my shoulders in error when I’m working out my chest or arms. Without the mirror I would be unable to realize I am doing this movement incorrectly. In the mirror I notice the error and can make adjustments accordingly. I have found the mirrors useful as well in my Pilates & Zumba classes. The function of the mirror in the gym is to enable you to see what your body is actually doing and not what you perceive your body to be doing. Oh how that concept applies to the rest of my life and I didn’t even realize it! The mirror forces you to face and deal with reality, keeps you grounded, and allows growth and change to truly happen where needed.
As I continued to ponder this idea of mirrors, both literal and figurative, and their functions I recognized that at my heaviest weight I would rarely look in the mirror. Was I avoiding facing the inevitable? I definitely know that I was blind to how bad things had gotten with my weight & overall health, until I had a “Damascus Moment” (Acts 9) this summer and was lying on my back for 10 weeks with a fungus in my lungs. The function of the mirror in the physical is to reveal what we may not realize or truly want to see. Without looking in the mirror in my mind I considered myself to not have a problem, to be the same old Jen as I’ve always been, and to stay contained in my bubble of self deception. In a way avoiding the mirror physically allowed me to keep wearing a mask and tell myself & everyone else that everything was alright when it wasn’t!
Then there’s the whole emotional component of looking in the mirror. Let’s be honest I’m sure that there is not a human alive who has looked in the mirror at least once in their lives and not liked something about their bodies. Not looking in the mirror kept me in denial emotionally about my body image issues which resulted in the shame and guilt I was carrying around. How had I allowed myself to get so heavy? How had I become so out of control with food? I avoided these questions like the plague and sunk deeper & deeper into emotional denial. Looking in the mirror and truly facing yourself is a powerful component to change. It may be a literal mirror or a virtual mirror, but we all have to come to grips with where we are in life, how we got there, and how to get on the better path. No human being is perfect and I firmly believe we are all a work in process. We halt our own personal progress when we stay for a prolonged period in denial about our circumstances.
Have you ever locked God out of an area of your life? I did for many years when it comes to my health, my food obsession, and honoring God with my body. In this case I see the Bible as a spiritual mirror. The Bible is God’s word and in it we learn about His character, His standard of righteousness, and His plan and purpose for our lives. This spiritual mirror must be allowed to penetrate the deepest parts of our heart in order to produce life and transformation. This spiritual mirror allows us to see ourselves through Christ’s eyes, it allows Him to produce healing in our hearts, and good or bad it prompts action on our part. As I spent time in God’s word I would gloss over places where He was clearly addressing this weakness in my life. I am learned to stay still, focus in, and allow the Bible to be the spiritual mirror it was designed to be. I am learning to embrace the change, growth, and molding of the Potter’s Hand!
So whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual change that needs to take place in my life or yours we need to allow the mirror to function for the purpose it was designed. Physically the function of the mirror is to bring us face to face with reality. Emotionally the function of the mirror is to reveal the depths of our heart in order for change, healing, and wholeness to take place. Spiritually God’s word functions to guide, direct, encourage, correct, and ultimately mold us according to His righteous standard. May our eyes be unveiled in these areas and may we have the courage to allow the mirrors in our lives to do their jobs!