The Dressing Room Mirror
Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14
During medical school, I was in pretty good shape. I went to class, I studied, I ate well, and I worked out every day. Then in residency, life got busier. My eating habits worsened, and exercise fell by the wayside. I put on weight . . . a lot of it. It didn’t go on overnight though. It took time, but eventually I needed new pants. So, off to the department store I went where I encountered the dressing room mirror, which wasn’t kind. There, I could see what my small bathroom mirror hadn’t been able to show me. I was huge. It was a wakeup call. I needed to change.
Just like the weight didn’t go on overnight though, it didn’t come off overnight. I needed to practice long term self-control, but I was struggling with other issues too. My drug addiction was active and so, I had other things to work on. Even after getting sober a few years later, it still took time. I’ve done much better and though I’m always working on my weight, I’ll not forget that dressing room mirror. When it came to my weight gain, I’d been asleep and that was a wakeup call.
Life has a way of lulling us into complacency. We get busy with work, kids, and all manner of responsibilities and so, we let significant things slide. Pretty soon, facets of life that are supposed to be important have fallen into obscurity. Now, we just slog through life, trying to survive, believing that one day we’ll get around to doing the important stuff. One day never comes though, and as the years go by, the hope of change and growth fades into oblivion. We’re sleepwalking through life, never truly living.
To us, Paul shouted the words of today’s passage. Wake up! Get up! You’re not dead – but you’re acting like it (my paraphrase)! It may be easier to remain where we’re at, but we’ll never get where we want to go by staying in bed. If we want to change, we must wake up and do whatever it takes to get there.
Transformation doesn’t happen overnight of course. Transformation rather, is a new way of life. We’re not made perfect the moment we decide to get up and turn our lives around. Daily, we focus on progress, not perfection. We get where we want to go by walking a little bit in that direction every day, but to do so, we must first wake up, get moving, and live, not following our own path, but God’s. in doing so, he transforms us into who we were made to be.