Most mornings, I find myself in front of a mirror trying to fix stray locks of hair and adjusting an outfit that hopefully coordinates and appears modestly fashionable. All said and done, things typically come together quickly, and I go away feeling confident in the girl staring back at me. Yet, there are other times when I struggle and am less satisfied by what I see. Those locks of hair can be very ornery, my wardrobe not quite right or to my liking. In those instances, thank goodness for hairspray and a quick change of clothes … or two … or three …
While a mirror allows me to peer at my outward appearance, the word of God serves as the mirror through which I gaze inwardly — in depth and with honesty. Sometimes, I become very engrossed, reading swiftly and coming away feeling confident that I am who the word of God says I should be. But other times, His word stops me in my tracks, puts me in my place, and reminds me just how far away I am from being who God wants me to be. In those instances, reading is not always easy. It takes more time and effort to absorb the content and full meaning. Sometimes, it drives me to my knees before the Lord, realizing that change is necessary and must be faced.
Recently, I have immersed myself in the journey of Lehi, Nephi, and family (1 Nephi). I can always glean from the encouraging lessons that remind me of the girl I should be!
- 17:1-2 – During times of trial, God provides in ways that allow me to bear my afflictions without murmuring and to gain strength I did not know existed.
- 17:3 – When I keep God’s commandments, He gives strength, He nourishes, He provides the way and means to accomplish His purposes.
- 17:5-6 – He brings me to a place of respite and rejuvenation and fills me.
- 17:7-9 – He calls me to the mountain, to higher ground, and gives me direction for greater responsibility.
- 17:13 – He leads with clear understanding.
- 17:14 – He loves me enough to not leave me in the dark; he closes the loop on unknowns.
- 17:15-16 – I have a responsibility to share this knowledge with those around me and must continue to be obedient to His calling in my life.
- 18:1-2 – His ways are higher and much different than my ways.
- 18:3 – He reveals His mighty purposes when I diligently seek Him through prayer.
18:4 – Through Him, the impossible becomes possible and the end result is perfect.
Great lessons … great reading … However, this time around, I’ve been prompted to delve into the word differently, to step into the shoes of Laman and Lemuel, realizing the need for honest reflection of the behavior and choices of the girl who peers back at me every day. Pointing the finger and shaking my head at Laman and Lemuel has always been rather easy. My personal gleaning is more telling and less desirable to face. Perhaps Laman’s and Lemuel’s shoes are not quite as big as I thought.
- 17:17-18 – Have I been so selfish to judge others because of a lack of understanding of a higher vantage point than my own?
- 17:19 – Have I allowed Satan to infiltrate my attitude in a manner that causes me to rejoice in the sorrow or defeat of others?
- 17:20-21 – Have I looked to worldly things as my only source of comfort and fulfillment during times of trial and affliction?
- 17:22 – Have I been shortsighted and judgmental based on what I see and what I know rather than on the true intent of God’s bigger purpose?
- 17:45 – Have I forgotten God’s intervention in my life and lost feeling for His words?
- 18:9 – Have I put God aside when things were sailing along smoothly?
- 18:10, 20 – Have the tempests around me been the prompting for my repentance and remembrance of God?
- 18:11 – Have I taken into full account the effect of my decisions on the lives of others?
- 18:12 – Have I acted of my own full free will, forgetting that the Lord can withdraw His Spirit if I am not careful?
- 18:16 – Have I murmured in times of affliction rather than praised Him for the good in my life?
- 18:17 – Have I remembered to honor all the fathers, mothers, and authorities in my life?
This deeper, more honest look reveals parts of me that need to be humbled and improved, changes from within that will take time, energy, commitment, and lots of patience … the journey continues …
Lehi prophesied “many years” to the people in Jerusalem before he and his family fled for their lives. It took his sons “three attempts” to obtain the brass plates for their family. Keep in mind that they traveled “three days” in the wilderness before Lehi sent them back to Jerusalem. Then he sent them “back again” to invite Ishmael’s family to join them. It took them “eight years” to make it through the wilderness before arriving at Bountiful. Building a ship “didn’t happen overnight,” nor did sailing to the promised land.
Like Lehi and every member of his family, my life is a work in progress. Every day there are lessons to learn and choices to make about how to live my life, including consideration of the people around me and the bigger picture of God’s plan and purpose. Although it is important to focus on lessons easily learned, it is equally important to allow time for inner reflection of those lessons that precipitate need for change and improvement in my life.
Someday, I will stand before the judgment seat of God. Before Him, the way my hair looked and the clothes I wore won’t matter one single bit. Instead, He will only see whether or not my reflection mirrored the love and life of Jesus and the truth of His word. Between you and me, the girl I see in the mirror realizes that she cannot accomplish this mighty task without some humble shoe shopping on her journey through scripture! It’s not always comfortable walking the path others have trod, but in the end, it is time well spent when considering the heart of the woman that God sees in me.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.