Out running through our neighborhood with a friend the other morning, I inhaled a whiff of intense exhaust emitted from a car passing by. I coughed to regain rhythmic breathing to maintain our pace. Just being in the world in that moment and place, breathing in the toxins was inescapable. Lately I’ve been pausing to ponder ways in which I’m breathing in the toxins of the world in a more spiritual sense. Reflection helps me practically live out the exhortation in Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Just by nature of being in the world, we are being conditioned by it. If this is so, then how do I submit myself to intentionally be transformed by the renewing of my mind? Reflection in tune with the Spirit is one antidote. Healthy disciples of Christ value being reflective and are genuinely willingly to be honest about their own state of discipleship. Healthy disciples acknowledge a continual need to grow. Healthy disciples grow and are transformed by participating in intentional soul care.
Again, reflection is a healthy practice of soul care. At its core, reflection is simply paying attention to heighten awareness. Without awareness comes a lack of intentionality. And with lack of intentionality comes stagnant growth, or transformation, which leaves us prey to being conformed to the ways of the world passively.
What ought we ponder as we reflect? When considering a personal check in, there are many facets of healthy formation worthy of contemplation. Here are a few to consider with a handful of questions to get started:
What habits help me connect with God?
What obstacles keep me from time with God?
What has God been teaching me lately?
What does rest look like for me?
Do I make space for rest?
What is my body telling me?
What emotionally drains me?
Do I have unresolved emotional triggers?
What self-care is needed to renew my energy?
Who is a healthy, life-giving presence in my life?
Am I pursuing connecting to loved ones?
Whom might I need to reconcile with?
With moving towards wholeness in Christ as the focus, it is unnecessary to tackle all areas of health at once. Christ calls us to abide in Him. Abiding is active. Really, the invitation is to participate intentionally. Reflection leads to intentionality.
Jen Binford, Coach