Not a formula - by Ben Bonython
Reflecting on matters of concern, or beauty or the Word of God is not a formula. Reflection itself is not a formula or right or wrong. Imagine asking 10 people to sketch your own face by asking a simple question - ‘sketch the face you see’.
Those willing would put to work their capability and style, and present their reflection of your face in sketch form. What always amazes me is that each person sketch differ in so many ways. To say that one of those sketches is more correct than another is answering the wrong question. A sketch is not about being more correct.
And even if each person had hundreds of hours of experience - say, if each person was to continue sketching your face over and over again, you would also see their reflection change – using different shades of light, different approaches and styles, different expressions shown. It does not mean the earlier sketches are any less valid, but the depth of reflection and skill and express in sketch would develop and grow.
But this is not about your face. The point is you can never reach the end of reflection or pin it down to a formula or an approach – and if you try, I suggest you will quickly become bored and stale in your sketch-life! Or worse, become too critical and self-righteous.
Time and solitude are key ingredients for reflection. Give your personal reflections space by either getting out of the house or office, finding a quiet bench or car park or room - time and space to stop and reflect. Think about your life and situations of concern. But then take it to the Word of God. If you are not sure how to start, can I recommend reading or listening to a Psalm.
The Psalms are full of reflections of real people going through real troubles and experiences, both hard and easy. The Psalms graphically show us the art of reflection – the role of sharing our burdens with God, yet acknowledging Him at the same time…sharing our sorrows, yet being faithful in thought and hope for the future. Petitioning our requests, and yet being thankful for what we have. [Selah]