When times are difficult, it’s easy to lose focus and get distracted.
Just like the disciples tossed back and forth in the waves as noted in Matthew 14:24, we often fear disaster. We often forget how to row, we panic, we fear the trajectory of our ship, and we fail to look to the One whose word can calm the raging sea.
The storms that life throw our way can consume us in its dizzying force and cause us to lose sight of the state of our heart, the words that we speak, the thoughts of our mind, and the state of our spiritual health. We become so consumed with simply surviving, we forget what’s important to God. Then, before we know it, we are in need of some serious soul-searching and time for inward reflection.
1: Self-Reflection Within the Heart
My heart is always the first area that needs a lot of self-reflection. I have learned that I cannot effectively fight the Lord’s battles when neglecting the ones that are harbored in my own heart.
“Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2).
The Psalmist is pouring out his heart before the Lord and asking Him to search and examine him. I encourage you to do the same. Our greatest temptations come not from outside the body, but from within the very heart that brings the body life. The secret sins of the heart can become a breeding ground for almost every evil deed and can gradually enslave us to the sins we’ve sown deep within us.
Ask the Lord to test and examine your heart as if testing the finest metal for value and genuineness. If the very foundation that we build our souls and persona on is shaky and unstable, so will be the harvest we reap.
2: Self-Reflection in the Mind
You can change your life by changing your mind. All too often our minds are bombarded with stimulation, new ideas, worldly influences, and the general negativity that exists in our world. The mental health epidemic that seems to be sweeping across America makes me wonder, what should we as Christians be doing to renew and detox our minds? Our mental life is so much more than just “mental”, it’s physical too.
What we think and fill our minds with will affect us either positively or negatively. Our experiences and our environment that we create for ourselves shape who we are as people and how we think.
Take a moment and think about your thought life. What are you filling your mind with today? What are you consuming from social media and the news? At school? At home? You create your own mental environment–you are not at the mercy of apps, websites, texts, and so on. You can choose what you feed your mind.
Choose wisely, dear reader. Set aside time to “renew your mind” and reflect upon what you are meditating on as Roman’s 12:2 states: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
3: Self-reflection of our actions
As Christians, we should no longer live for ourselves and our sins are no longer hidden by the shadows but brought into the light. We have many people who are not Christians, watching our every move. They are searching to see how we are different, why we are different, and how we find such hope in the mundane and trials of life.
We hold the power to either conceal or reveal who God really is by how we live out our faith in front of others. Those around us may either be inspired or disappointed, depending on what we do.
We should want our lives to be fruitful and make a difference in others’ lives. We want to lead others to God–not drive them away from His love.
So, be intentional about your actions and take some time to reflect upon how you represent Jesus to others.
Be a light in a world of darkness and show them Jesus.
4: Self-reflection of ourselves
The most important thing in your life is not what you do, but who you will become. This is why it is so important for you to take some time alone to sit, pray, and ponder who you are becoming.
Nothing you do in this life will ever amount to the importance of this question. Who are you? What is your name? What shaped you into the person you are at this very moment? What is the state of your soul? God cares more about what’s inside of you than anything else, and He craves you seek Him with all of your heart, because if you search for yourself in the world, you will not find yourself. If anything, you’ll become more lost. However, if you search for yourself in Him, you will find that when you thought you lost yourself, He knew exactly where you were.
So, dear reader, who are you and what will you become? Take to heart these four methods of self-reflection and apply them to your life. Your soul never dies, it’s the core of you. It is your eternal being.
What do you see?