The Man in the Mirror

One of the greatest blessings I’ve discovered since becoming a Christian writer is the friendship and fellowship of this diverse community. Be it writers conferences, social media, or other places, God has expanded my world with wonderful, supportive, encouraging friends. More, He has brought teachers and mentors into my life who’ve helped me to grow both in my faith and my writing. I found one such friend on Twitter about eighteen months ago.

Mrs. Julie Ann Dibble is an encouraging spirit who speaks God’s truth in love and with much humility. As many of us do, we support each other’s efforts by subscribing to their newsletters or blogs, sharing or retweeting their posts, and offering encouragement and prayers. Earlier this year, a post from my friend Ms. Julie Ann brought one of my life verses into perspective. I’ve loved Proverbs 27:17 for many years now, and one day I’ll share the story behind why. It reads “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17, NKJV) Perhaps today this young woman will know how much she’s blessed my writing and my life; and in return learns of the prayers of thanksgiving and encouragement offered on her behalf. My friend Ms. Julie’s post came just when I needed it; reminding me of how important it is to listen for God in the voice of others.

Something my adopted dad taught me as a teen was to make an accounting for myself each day. As my dad explained, after berating myself during dinner over failing at something that day, “It’s okay to fall short of your goal or another’s expectation for you. Most fail in life more often than they succeed, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, take stock of yourself in the mirror before you go to bed. Only you can decide if you wasted your day or not. If you failed at anything, think and pray your way through it, and resolve to correct it. If you know in your heart you put forth your best effort, then chalk it up to learning and rest easy, knowing you can do better tomorrow.”

As a teenager, I don’t think his sage wisdom made much sense, but as I grew older, it served me well to perform that self-examination each day. I have found this applies to my Christian walk as well. There are some days when it seems I am living in harmony with Christ’s plan for my life. Other days, I spend more time fighting to do what I think I should say or do instead of just submitting to the Holy Spirit’s urging. It is only through this act of self-examination I can reconcile myself to God.

In 1992, I was going through major life transitions. I felt I had all but abandoned my faith and was living a much too worldly life. After not going to my Mom and Dad’s home for Thanksgiving (ashamed perhaps that I had fallen so far), I looked into the mirror. At that moment, God convicted me that I needed to change my life. He reminded me of that valuable lesson from my dad so many years before; and He brought to me the words of the poem below.

I seldom share my poetry, because I think it poor quality. Still, I pray these words might one day bring comfort to someone who realizes they’re not who they’re meant to be in God’s plan. Not judgment, no condemnation here; just a prayer that you ask God to help you find yourself in Him when the time is right.

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Enjoy the poem…

That Mirror on My Wall

When I look into that mirror,
I oft think what I should see.
Am I my God’s creation,
Am I who He wants me to be?

I wonder have I missed something,
It seems so much I have not done.
When others see me in their mirror,
Am I the same to everyone?

Does the reflection I see before me,
Project the image I want shown?
Does it show all that I’m capable of,
And all the things I’ve come to know?

Does my mirror need a cleaning,
Perhaps some wiping here or there.
And should mine fall from off the wall,
Will any other serve as spare?

I’m sure it needs some dusting,
Not too often, but time to time.
And if tomorrow someone asks to borrow,
Should I give it or scream; ‘It’s Mine!’

I often tire of looking,
From the inside out.
With each passing year, I start to fear,
Will I ever figure this image out?

I guess I’ll just have to keep the faith,
That if I’m naughty, that power will call.
Until then it’s best, I continue to check,
That mirror on my wall.

-jdw 11/92

God’s blessings,

26 thoughts on “The Man in the Mirror

  1. Oh J.D. how amazing the way He works among us and through us. I am thanking Him right now for connecting us, iron sharpens iron. And my full heart thanks you for letting me know how God used me in your life. I appreciate your words of wisdom that you share with the world, and that you share with me in blogs. I appreciate your transparency J.D. for we all struggle, some more than others, some longer than others. Your analogy of the mirror is a powerful one. I shared it when I preached last month. Though today as I read your words I am convicted to put the use of analogy into practice right here in myself and in my family. May God continue to bless your words, sending them far and wide! In Christ, Julie

  2. I try not to look at many mirrors – all those wrinkles and imperfections on the outside (although I read recently that since wisdom comes with age, those lines on my face are really “wise cracks”), but I was paused this morning at your post and convicted to look deeper each evening at inner myself and my day. I do tend to “browbeat” myself at all those failures, so I hope it doesn’t turn into that, but I’m going to stand for a few minutes before going to bed tonight, and ask God to shine His searching (yet merciful) light on me.

    1. Never, ever browbeat yourself my friend; this world does it enough for us. Each night, as I wash my face and prepare for bed, I look my myself in the mirror and recite 1 John 1:9. I’m forgiven already! As long as I’m man enough to admit it, He is God enough to help me strive to be better.

  3. What a beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing with us. I have noticed as I age that my reflection in the mirror has changed. I see more of my Mama and my Daddy in my facial features and expressions. I pray I will always show God’s love.

    1. Let me assure you Ms. Melissa. YOU DO! We see God in your gracious words, your kind acts, and your lovingly supportive ways ma’am. My life is enriched because my friend Mrs. Melissa Henderson (and of course her pal ‘Licky the Lizard’) is in it. 🙂

  4. Your father offered wise words. I’m grateful you had such positive influence in your life. And grateful you have grown into a positive force yourself. Thank you for wise words and a special poem.

    1. He sure did Ms. PJ. I pray each day I can become a little more like both my earthly dad and my heavenly Father. Then again, with Christ, I gain both. Thank you so much for your kindness ma’am. Am touched.

    1. Thank you Ms. Tammy. My adopted parents and family have been among the greatest blessings in my life. Outside of my salvation and my wife Diane (both gifts from God), I treasure all the love my adopted family has given and all the lessons they taught. God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Thank you Ms. Sylvia. My adopted parents has been one oh the greatest blessings in my life. I’ve often said “Whatever good you might see in my life was put there by family when they adopted me.” Of course, we both know where their godly lessons came from. 🙂 Am so glad you enjoyed ma’am.

  5. Your poem is beautiful, J.D. I needed your message today. I’ve been struggling with some of the very same issues you’ve written about. Love your dad’s advice. “Look in the mirror at the end of the day” and see if we’ve done our best. I think sometimes we just beat ourselves up and set ourselves up for impossible achievement. Thanks for giving hope!

    1. What a sweet thing to say Ms. Katherine. Thank you ma’am. If I helped make your day even the tiniest bit better, then I am honored ma’am. God’s blessings sweet friend. Praying for you daily.

  6. I love this! First, I know the fellowship you’re talking about in the Christian writing community! As a newbie, I have received great encouragement from others. I hope I can be an encourager too. Second, I love the advice of your dad! I try to spend some time in reflection at the close of each day. Saint Ignatius called it the Examen. It helps me realign my life. Great post my friend!

    1. Know that you are very much an encouragement to me Pastor Kevin. Am gaining wonderful insights from your blogs and your writing sir. Keep it up please. Thank you for all your kindness.

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