In general, I try to avoid mirrors that show me my imperfections. I’ve never liked watching myself in the wall mirror in a Zumba class (in those pre-COVID days), or watching myself walk along in a mirrored hallway. I have flat feet. Sometimes I’m bloated. I never know how to hold these long arms of mine. Zoom calls are a constant reminder of the zit I forgot to cover, or hair that won’t stay in place. How many times have you ducked out of the way when someone tried to take a picture of you?
It feels like the further along we get in our walk with Christ, the more acutely aware we are that we could improve. It’s like a surprise selfie all over again, or a mirror following you around on your most unflattering days. Maybe we’re not always patient. Sometimes we can be too critical. We could be more generous. It’s like refining any great skill; some of the best writers, painters, musicians are the most critical of themselves because although they’re closer to the standard that’s in their head, they’re still not there. Some may never reach this standard. For the Christian, the standard for godliness is Christ.
This past year has been a whirlwind. In one year, I have answered God’s call to go into seminary, had some amazing work opportunities, got my Lay Minister’s license with the Free Methodist Church in Canada, and am continuing to pursue ordination to combine with a future life in research. I don’t take this lightly; I’m well-aware of the standard that church leaders are called to maintain, and, frankly, it can be daunting.
The other night, I was watching The Chosen. Jesus meets a little boy named Joshua, who Abigail (a little girl, his friend) asked to join her to meet Jesus. Though he goes with her, Joshua is shy and hides behind the stone wall. But Jesus calls out to him and says “Hello Joshua, the brave!”. Jesus calls him brave because the boy supported his friend despite his fear. The boy still keeps his distance, but reveals his face, and smiles. Over the next few visits, Jesus still calls him Joshua the brave, and each time the boy straightens up with pride, and the bravery becomes him.
He is Joshua the brave, because Jesus told him so.
He calls us to be faithful so that we become faithful. His voices reaches behind our wall. We are called chosen and valuable, and so we are chosen and valuable. Replace Joshua’s name with your own. What is Jesus calling you?
He is Joshua the brave, because Jesus saw that spark in him. Jesus never calls us to be what we can’t. While this year has been a whirlwind, I’m learning that who I’m meant to be has been what I’ve been doing all along. Talking with people about Jesus, leaning into faith, doing research, and loving to write, have been skills I’ve been cultivating for a lifetime. My daily habits already supported a seminarian lifestyle—I just didn’t see it until He called it out of me.
Likewise, maybe Jesus is holding up a mirror to you not to show you your imperfections, but to show you the spark he sees in you. Maybe we need to have a shift in mindset. What if Jesus is trying to show you your beautiful smile, but all you see are your big ears? What if he’s trying to show you your merciful heart, but all you see is your shyness? Maybe, like He did with Joshua, He’s trying to show you that your merciful heart in an unmerciful world is bold, brave, and daring—attributes you never thought could be associated with you?
What is he calling you in this season? What is the thing that you wish you could be, but just need the encouragement to flourish? Are you brave? Creative? Majestic? Helpful? If He’s calling you, it’s because He sees potential in you. Let Him show you what He sees in the mirror; let Him be your mirror.