The word reflect comes from Latin (reflexio) “a reflection,” literally “a bending back” from re- “back” + flectere “to bend”. From the mid 1600’s the meaning has also referred to “turning back one’s thought on some subject”.
We live in such a frenetic world that it is imperative that we slow down to gain God’s perspective in our lives. Reflection is an opportunity for us slow down and give our undivided attention to God (cf. Mark 1:35).
What do you notice about the following words: “pause,” “savor,” “relish,” “hiatus,” “respite,” “luxuriate,” “stroll,” “muse,” “meander,” and “linger?” How often are they are part of your vocabulary? If you’re like me, I’m often thinking of moving faster and accomplishing more.
I recently wrote a blog post on “How to Have a Quiet Time”. It’s difficult to grasp the significance and import of God’s word if you’re in a hurry. Speed causes us to miss the depth, nuance, subtlety, and attention to detail, of what God wants to teach us. Look at the examples from Scripture revealing the importance of taking time to meditate upon God and His word:
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1:8)
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. (Psalm 63:6)
I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. (Psalm 77:12)
The Hebrew word for meditate is הָגָה (hagah ), which occurs 26 times in the Old Testament and conveys the idea to meditate, devise, muse, imagine, or ponder.
Ken Gire in The Reflective Life quotes Abraham Heschel who observes, “In every man’s life there are moments when there is a lifting of the veil at the horizon of the known, opening a sight of the eternal. Each of us has at least once in his life experienced the momentous reality of God. Each of us has once caught a glimpse of the beauty, peace and power that flow through the souls of those who are devoted to Him. But such experiences or inspirations are rare events. To some people they are like shooting stars, passing and unremembered. In others they kindle a light that is never quenched” (p. 26).
Reflection enables you to remember those sacred moments and kindle a flame.
Simon and Garfunkel likewise remind us to “Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” The sad truth is the faster we move, the less we feel – and that may be a primary reason we move so fast. Busyness helps us avoid the insecurity and uncertainty deep within our souls. We find it’s easier to avoid those uncomfortable feelings so we deify doing.
In the midst of your busy lifestyle, reflection is just what you need. It takes time to slow down. So how might you create reflective time in your life? Gire recommends three habits to develop a reflective life:
Reading the moment is using our eyes to see what’s on the surface.
Reflecting the moment is engaging our mind to see what’s beneath the surface.
Responding to the moment is giving what we have seen a place to live in our heart, allowing it to grow there, upward to God and outward to other people. (p. 88)
A helpful practice I’ve found to help me slow down is to write in a journal what I sense God is saying to me through His word. How many unfinished thoughts have raced through my mind never to be remembered again? How many times have I failed to take an inventory of the day and seek to gain wisdom? How often have I forgotten to give thanks and pray for others? Journaling helps me to gain God’s perspective in my life in the midst of a busy world.
Reflection is an essential discipline for His people. It requires slowing down to read the moment, reflect upon what God is saying to you, and respond appropriately. Now is the time to buy an inexpensive journal and start reflecting upon what God is saying to you.