Effortless reflection

While the world would have us define ourselves from a material standpoint, a better understanding of God and God’s creation reveals a higher view of ourselves as spiritual, loved, and whole.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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At one point, shortly after I moved into a new apartment, my sister was looking in the long mirror I had hung on my bedroom door. She commented that it seemed like the kind of mirror you would find at a circus in a hall of mirrors – where some make you look very long and thin, others make you look short and round, and so on.

She told me mine was making her look short and round, like she was being squished from the top. The next day she brought me a new mirror. In this one the reflection was perfectly normal, not distorted.

For the previous couple of years, I hadn’t had a great sense of body image. I struggled a bit with my weight, but it wasn’t so much because of the number on the scale as it was due to the fact that every time I looked in that old mirror, I felt I looked short and fat. However, about a week after getting that new mirror, I noticed my perception of myself had changed. Nothing had actually changed physically, but the picture had been corrected. A clearer view of myself – simply looking more like my normal self in that mirror – brought about a change in my thinking.

I found this entire experience to hold larger lessons than just what a mirror was telling me about my body shape. How many times do we unwittingly believe something about ourselves that is entirely untrue – based on false information or a false, distorted picture? Maybe someone has made a comment that made us think we are not good enough, or we compare ourselves with the images we see on social media that sometimes project a seemingly perfect life, and we tell ourselves we are not worthy of such things.

In my own life I’ve learned that the key to remaining undeceived by a lie is to begin with constant acknowledgment of what’s true about God and His creation. When I think about God, I think about love. “God is love,” the Bible declares. God’s love is bigger and deeper than human affection, it is ever present, unwavering, and all-inclusive.

In the first book of the Bible, it states that man – a generic term for men and women – is created in the image and likeness of God. And in her primary text, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes man as “the image, of Love,” and states elsewhere that the Bible tells us “God made man in His own image, to reflect the divine Spirit” (pp. 475, 516).

This idea that we are the reflection of God, divine Love – and not the reflection of anything else – is an anchor that each one of us can hold to in the midst of all the false images of individuality that we might be tempted to identify with.

Because we reflect God, good, divine Spirit, we must be wholly spiritual and good, worthy and loved. We simply must – it is inherent in our nature as reflection. And it doesn’t take effort to be a reflection. At the gym I see people lifting weights in front of the wall of mirrors. The reflection also appears to lift the weight, but it is effortless for that reflection.

So it is effortless for God’s children to reflect all that is good, which is all that is true about God. And our true nature reflects Love effortlessly, expressed in being gracious with others, having compassion, forgiving wrongs, or even having a love of life and all of our activities because we do them to glorify God.

I find the best way to know or feel the ever-presence of God’s love, and understand more clearly my true nature as a reflection of Love, is to just start loving, to just live love in all that I do. Looking for ways to be a blessing to others and being gracious and grateful when others bless us take thought increasingly off of self.

So now when I look in the mirror, I don’t worry so much about the image that is reflected back. Instead I read the quote I’ve taped to it – the verse from Science and Health that tells me I am “the image, of Love” – and think about how I can express love in all that I do that day.

What are you going to reflect today? As the image of Love, there’s truly only one option!

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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