I wish I could roll out of bed and look just as stunning as Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. There would be no puffy eyes or sloppy retainer to get rid of; just a clean face and every tiny hair in perfect place. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? It would definitely make getting ready for the day much easier. But, hey, that’s not reality.
My mornings consist of prying my groggy body out from under the covers and dragging myself to the bathroom, only to hesitantly peek at my reflection when I step in front of that mirror. Why? Well—I hate to admit it—but I’m not Sleeping Beauty. I don’t rest peacefully and wake up the next morning having every little detail in line. A night full of turning over to find the cool side of the pillow leaves my hair and face in total disarray. Every time I peer through my sleepy eyes in the morning, my reaction involves a cringe of some sort.
For most of us, reflecting on our past can be a lot like our reflections in the morning. But what’s the worst part? Is it having to realize things around us have changed? Or maybe we’ve changed? Is it having to say good-bye to certain people or opportunities all over again? Is it seeing failures and shortcomings directly pinned to our foreheads? Maybe for some, it’s quite the opposite. Maybe it’s having to move on from past accomplishments and make new ones.
Reflection is a necessity, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. It is similar to one of those magnified vanity mirrors that draws out every tiny blemish, wrinkle, and stray hair. When you pull it up to your face, it hurts. It hurts the self-esteem—bad! But without reflection, how do we know what we look like? Do we trust others’ observations or opinions? No. Personal reflection is the only way we can truly see ourselves. We must grin and bear it to see who we really are. Once we see what we look like, we can work on being more like the One we are actually supposed to reflect.
In Philippians 3:13, Paul writes of “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” In moving forward, we cannot be hung up by our past. We cannot allow the guilt of yesterday to keep us from trying better today and tomorrow. Nor can we live on the victories of our past and neglect the fight in front of us. We must see the true condition of our hearts, leave both our losses and trophies at God’s feet, and follow Him to what He has ahead of us.
Although we have already jumped into this new year, it is not too late to reflect on the past year, take it for what it is, and evaluate where we need to be heading today, tomorrow, and the days following.
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him” (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Sarah is the Hyphen contributor for InsideOut. She hails from South Carolina and attends Urshan College in Florissant, Missouri. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.