Recently, my six year old and I stood outside a building that had a mirrored front. Standing away from the building we could see ourselves, but we couldn’t see anyone inside. After several minutes passed, my six year old walked up to the building, pressed her face against the glass and stared for a few more minutes. After standing and staring for a time she said, “If I look close I can only see my little self, but if I look through the window I can see the people inside.” Man oh man; how prophetic can she be?
Two weeks ago, my 18 year old daughter had an opportunity to see beyond herself. It was just a typical day at work meeting a new co-worker. What made this typical day different was that my daughter simply looked up from the mirror and took time to ask her new co-worker some important spiritual questions and speak boldly beyond “surface” small talk. To quote my daughter, “Mama, I can’t even tell you what I said because it wasn’t me talking. I was praying the whole time I was talking that God would give me the words to say!”
That, my sweet child, is the power of the Holy Spirit!
Both of these situations made me think of Jesus’ mother Mary. First of all, Mary was a young girl when she encountered the angel and heard his message that she would give birth to a son. To accept these words, Mary had to see beyond herself. She had to think past her plans with Joseph; past her fear of rejection; past her selfish desires; past her parent’s hopes for her. In Luke 1, we never really see Mary consider herself at all. She is puzzled by how the conception will happen, but her only response to the angel’s news is, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Sometimes we only look close and see our own problems, our own weaknesses, and our own desires. When we are looking that close, all we can see is our “little self”! When our eyes are focused on “me”, it’s really hard to see everyone else. What happens when we step back from the mirror and look beyond it? We see people who have successes to celebrate, hurts that need healed, secrets that need to be revealed, anxiety that needs peace, conversations that need to happen, encouragement that needs to be given, and love that needs to be shared.
When we look beyond the mirror of our own reflection and really “see” the people we encounter, the Holy Spirit can work through us to impact others for His purposes. It is RISKY? Of course! Is it SCARY? It definitely can be! When we rely on the Holy Spirit’s power can our actions and words be beyond our comprehension? Sometimes there is NO OTHER explanation!
What if Mary had chosen to only think of herself? God would have fulfilled His promise of the Messiah through some other young lady, but what a blessing Mary would have missed!
Who are you staring at? Your “little self” or the one beyond the mirror?