By Vern Mathews
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has provided a truly unique season for all of us in the RCC family. This is true of us not only as individuals, but also in our shared life together. For some of us, our employment has been affected and we’re unsure of when and if we’ll be able to return to our jobs. Others of us are attempting to navigate how to work from home, in some cases, doing so alongside roommates, a spouse, kids, etc. Then there are those of us whose jobs have grown exponentially more challenging, requiring longer hours and increased potential for exposure to the virus. For most of us, we have never lived through something like this.

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, it is easy to focus on all of the difficult changes we are forced to make. Yet with unique challenges, also come unique opportunities. One of the great opportunities for us as followers of Jesus, is to utilize this worldwide pandemic as a season for reflection. As we are forced inside and away from social gatherings, there is greater time and space to reflect upon the Lord.
Why Reflection?

The idea of reflection is woven throughout the narrative of the Bible. This is displayed perhaps most clearly in the Psalms. The first two verses of Psalm 1 reveal that the godly person delights in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 145:5-6 says, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.”

Reflection is not only an Old Testament idea, however. The Apostle Paul instructs us in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” It is important to notice that reflection in the Bible is primarily focused on God. After all, God best fits the attributes that Paul lists in Philippians 4:8.
How Do I Practice Reflection?
We see then that the reflection is certainly a biblical practice. The question is how do we implement reflection in our lives? Many of us spend much of the day moving from one task to the next, all the while compiling an even longer list of to-dos that we know will demand our attention tomorrow. When we do enjoy some quiet time, the thoughts racing through our heads seem even louder than the noise of the daily hustle and bustle. While acknowledging the challenge of building in reflection to our hectic lives, I’d like to list a few practical tips that have been helpful to me or that I have heard from others. May God give us an extra measure of grace as we seek to reflect upon Him in this season.
1. Begin with the Bible. God’s word reorients our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions. By reading, pondering, and meditating upon God’s word, we are able to reflect upon God himself.
2. Keep a daily journal. This can be daunting for some, but if you enjoy expressing yourself through writing, journaling is a great exercise. Jot down some things you’re learning about God, about yourself, and the way He is at work in your life.
3. Pray. When we pray to God, we reflect upon His character and provision for us. This is not a new concept for us as believers in Jesus, but this season offers us a great opportunity to grow closer to the Lord in prayer.
4. Read a good book, slowly. While our primary reading intake should always be the Bible, there are numerous books that have been written to help readers reflect upon God and enjoy Him more deeply. If you’re looking for recommendations, let me know!
5. Think about God and all He has done for you in Christ. A former pastor of mine once told me, you can never spend too much time thinking about Jesus. Instead of returning to your social media feed for the 10th time in the last 30 minutes (no judgment, I’m guilty of this too!), take a moment and think about Jesus. His wisdom, compassion, gentleness, kindness, righteousness, grace, power, humility, self-control, suffering, glory, etc. Ask and answer the question, “what is my favorite thing about Jesus today?”
6. Strive to create a positive environment for reflection. Wherever possible, look for physical ways to make reflection more conducive. Perhaps that means waking up early while the house is still quiet or staying up later to have time to yourself. It may mean putting on relaxing background music. For me personally, a good cup of coffee doesn’t hurt! Don’t discount the ways that your physical environment can affect your ability to reflect upon the Lord.
7. Have grace when you struggle with reflection. Based on your personality type, it may be harder for you to spend time in focused reflection. Keep this in mind and have grace on yourself. This is especially true if you have experienced anxiety and depression. The idea of spending time in deep thought may actually seem quite scary. Nevertheless, the Lord will draw near to you as you draw near to Him in reflection. Trust in His faithful love towards you.

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