Reflection is a powerful thing when you are willing to risk it.
Reflection carries with it a heavy weight and tension – it can sting with bittersweetness.
In one way, reflection is that hindsight that brings clarity into view. We can objectively see those decisions that could’ve been better made, or “aha” moments enabling understanding. Reflection can lead to new insights and dreams. It can also be a road map that determines new destinations in life seasons.
Reflection bears a tension. It is a two sided coin.
I feel the tension of reflection all the time. I am a feeling thinker. I feel my way through processing. I also think deeply about most things and situations. I like to understand every angle. Half of the time, reflection brings on that “ugh” feeling for me. I see more clearly the mess I am.
Reflection can illuminate the gaps in my life, as well as my imperfections. I often times see the ways I have failed in communication, friendship, responsibilities, and even possibilities. I hate that feeling. I hate realizing I dropped the ball on something. It is so hard looking back and seeing the ways I responded out of my fears and insecurities and caused hurt. AH!
Henri Nowen states that reflection can also “remind us of the gap between our willing and our doing, our desires and our performance, our calling and our achievements.”
Reflection bears the weight of incompleteness.
When we risk looking back over chapters and seasons of our lives we can see dreams and desires. We’ve all made decisions to take certain paths in life. Looking back, for me, speaks of how far I still am from my dreams. Sometimes I leave reflection with more thoughts of regret and “if only…”
I struggle with the gap of what was and what is still yet to come. Incompleteness is hard for me – waiting is even harder. I battle with discouragement if we are being most honest.
Don’t get me wrong there is encouragement in reflecting on how far we have come. It’s life giving to see steps made. There is just a tension. It’s like that feeling of sitting in a boat that has cast off from one shore and still a long way from another.
At the end of reflection there is hope that bridges the gap between looking back and looking ahead. There is redemption for past failures and imperfections. There is hope for possibilities and new shores to land on.
Nowen also states that “reflection makes us realize that good comes out of imperfection, strength out of weakness, and blessing out of fragility.”
As you reflect it’s okay to struggle with what you see. I still hope you risk to see. Reflecting is meant to be empowering, healing, and motivating.
What have you been reflecting about lately?
How do you struggle in the process?