I started a new job a little over a month and a half ago at a local cafe in Fort Collins and was scheduled to close just me and another guy who was a little newer than I was. I ran into two or three snags as I was closing, which my brain interpreted as, "COMPLETE FAILURE!". I got in my car feeling like I wasn't functioning at my fullest potential and as I drove I let all the little things that made me feel that way replay in my head. I felt the frustrations and the anger and the inadequacies all over again and couldn't stop feeling them. So when I got home, I grabbed my phone and headphones, started up a new playlist I made, and sat outside on the porch of my house that is off the beaten track. There were no clouds in the sky and the bright stars jumped out at me from their velvety blue background. As I looked at the stars, "Old Pine" by Ben Howard began playing. The chorus: "We stood, steady as the stars in the woods. So happy-hearted and the warmth rang true inside these bones. As the old pine fell, we sang just to bless the morning." This was quickly followed by "Turn to Stone" by Ingrid Michaelson. The lyrics: "I know that we are nothing new. There's so much more to me and you, but brother, how we must atone before we turn to stone."
All of those scenes that replayed over and over again, well they sank away as I stared at the stars and was reminded of how big our God is. It reminded me of this metaphor that I've actually used a lot recently. You have to let me paint a scene for you first though. Okay, here goes. Imagine a valley filled with gorgeous wildflowers, blue, purple, yellow, orange, swaying in a slight breeze amidst their green cousins of grass and wild plants. On the edges of this valley are mountains of course. Mountains so tall and snow capped, yet covered in a gentle, soft green before the peak. Everything is quiet. Everything is wild. Everything is sacred. In the middle of this valley is a room of mirrors. Four walls with mirrors facing outwards and inwards. Now, place yourself inside of this room of mirrors. What do you see? You see you. In everything you do, you see you. In everything you say, you hear you. In every decision you make, it reflects you. That in my mind is the definition of brokenness, blind pain without hope and freedom. Everything in your life is a reflection of you. If you fail, it's because you aren't good enough. If you succeed it's because you are amazing and did everything right. I feel like my car ride home today was that room. I stepped in, closed the door, and then pounded on every wall, pissed off, feeling injured and upset, controlled and slighted. Every event was a reflection of my identity.
Freedom. Freedom, is when you step outside of this room and every scene that is reflected is something greater, more meaningful, more stunning, more wild than anything that we could create. It is when our lives are able to reflect the glory of Christ, the beauty that He created us to be and to see. Our heart no longer reflects a grave identity of our actions, but instead the quiet strength of the ever-present mountains, and the flowers that reflect beauty with every color. We reflect Christ's bigger plan. That for me was the reminder of the stars. The reminder that things happened that I felt slighted by; that things happened that made me feel inadequate, yet they no longer mattered. As I stared at the stars with majestic music and a cool breeze gently caressing my face and bringing a small smile to my lips, I realized that there is something bigger to pay attention to. All of a sudden those mirrors didn't seem so daunting and awful. They felt exciting and fortifying. Let's stop outside of our mirrors and see something more team. Let's believe in something more and become something more.