Last night, our Guatemala missions team got together at our house for a reunion. It was fun to have “Guatemalan” cuisine, to watch some of the video footage from our trip, and to hang out with these teenagers who changed my life just over a month ago.
I think it was appropriate for our team to have five or six weeks to gain perspective on our trip. And I think it was important that we reunited for an opportunity to reflect and reminisce on the nine days we spent together in a foreign land this summer.
Since returning home, I have definitely fallen back into the rat race of “normal” life at home with a job, two active kids, two dogs, and a generally non-stop schedule. I get to reflect a little each day through my blog – which is certainly a place to start. Yet it often feels like I have little time to stop and think. It’s so important that we take time to reflect.
Eastern University professor and notes sociologist, Tony Campolo, did a study several years ago. The study asked several elderly people a question like this: If you could live your life differently knowing what you know now, what would it look like? Nearly all of them responded the same way. They would risk more, and they would reflect more.
This is something I want to learn from. I’m certainly not a big risk taker. I’m very methodical in how I approach most of my life. Maybe the first risky move for me is to learn to take a risk. Taking a leap of faith is part of this, and my trip to Guatemala was certainly a leap of faith for me.
The other part of this answer involves reflection. Part of me posting over and over again about my trip to Guatemala is an exercise in reflection. I don’t want to forget the things God showed me through this experience. I certainly don’t want to stop living, but I think it’s a good practice to stop long enough to reflect.
So where does one start? I think there are a few places to begin the process of reflection.
- Keep a journal. Keep it by your bed at night and with you during the day. Write down thoughts that come to mind as you go throughout your day or as you struggle to sleep.
- Start a blog. Blogging provides another platform for sharing your reflections. For me, I get to share my stretch marks right here for e world to read.
- Schedule time to get away from the busyness of life. This could be an afternoon in the park or a weekend camping. Make it a point to remove distractions.
- Get away from the electronic toys and gadgets. I’ll admit that this can be a struggle for me at times, but I have found freedom and refreshment from times of detox from the digital world.
- Meet up with a friend or two on a regular basis. Share with each other. Expressing in words the life going on around us can be a major part of processing – of reflection. This morning, I’m excited to meet up with two friends of mine for breakfast. This will give us a great opportunity to reflect on how God has blessed us with great friendships and on life since we last met together.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
What would you add to this list? How do you foster reflection in your own life?