My Reflection – Encouragement for Today – November 16, 2022

Misty ArterburnNovember 16, 2022

My Reflection

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"For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like." James 1:23-24 (NLT) 

On reflex, I looked in the mirror this morning. Checked my teeth, applied lipstick. My hair was in a high bun. My clothes tucked and properly positioned. I was off to hit the day.

They may not seem like much, but morning rituals like exercising, hugging and taking my kids to school, eating breakfast, and showering are life-giving to me. Especially when I practice them with gratitude and intentionality.

Looking in the mirror is part of my ritual. Actually, it's a really important part. And it's not about applying lipstick.

When I look in the mirror, what do I see? Do I reflect the image of my Father today? Are compassion and uprightness my most prominent features, resembling Jesus? Can the Holy Spirit be found in my eyes, the windows to my soul?

Even on a lovely morning like today, I fall short.

Though I know and hear God's Word, I don't always do what it says. James compares that to immediately forgetting what our reflection looks like after we walk away from a mirror:

"But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it" (James 1:22-25, NLT, emphasis added).

There is a me I want to be, the one I'm trusting God to continually raise up, and then there is the me who seems to have mastered the art of self-sabotage, like Paul says in Romans 7:15.

Like today, for instance, rather than breathing in all the goodness of God and overflowing in freedom and peace and love for those around me, I notice I'm lugging around some hefty resentments. I'm lamenting some painful regrets over past choices I've made. I'm bracing for potential hazards ahead of me.

This is not exactly the me I am going for when I look in the mirror.

I want beautiful lips, the kind that smile and kiss a skinned knee and speak thoughtfully. The kind that confess and ask forgiveness.

I want strong arms, not for lugging resentments but for lifting up others the way I have been lifted so many times - arms that embrace and link with others through shared trials rather than brace for impact.

I want the coolest shoes, the kind that walk the extra mile with a friend in need. And feet that race to do what is right, what is wise and good, never evil. The kind that bring good news. (Isaiah 52:7)

I want to look in the mirror and see what God sees, not the mess of self that I often see. What He sees - His beloved and marvelous daughter. (Psalm 139:14)

My Father wants the best for me and sees the best in me. He sees my potential alongside my current state of being. When I topple like a toddler learning to walk, He cheers me on, rewarding my effort and reaching to encourage me forward. When I temper-tantrum in defiance, He tells me it's probably time for a nap. Sometimes I serve a timeout or even suffer a consequence, but it is for my own good and a much-needed reset.

God does the raising. My task is to listen and obey. As I do my part, He will do His. I will come back to the mirror and may even begin to notice that, as I grow, each day I look a little more like Him. May that be true for us all.

My Father, thank You for being my Father. When I look at myself, I want to see You. I want to be Your spitting image! I will keep practicing what it means to listen and obey. Keep growing me so that I reflect You more each day. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 


Misty Arterburn is the author of the devotionals in The One Year Bible for Women. Each day's reading includes a two-minute daily devotional as well as passages from Psalms, Proverbs, and other books in the Old Testament and the New Testament. This perfect combination of women-centered devotionals and the beloved One Year Bible reading plan allows you to bask in God's presence as you read through the entire Bible in one year. Learn more at


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1 Corinthians 13:12, "Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." (NLT)

God knows us completely! What clarity of sight may God be wanting to offer you today, more fully empowering you to accomplish His work in the world?

© 2022 by Misty Arterburn. All rights reserved.

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