Monday, July 1, 2013


Do you remember that song by Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror?

"I'm starting with the man
in the mirror,
I'm asking him to change
his ways…"

So, the other day I took a good look at myself in the mirror, and I'm thinking about making some changes.

No, I'm not getting plastic surgery.

Though I am wildly tempted when I see those commercials for The Lifestyle Lift.

However, with my luck, something would go wrong.  The doctor would probably nick a nerve, and I would be left with a permanent twitchwhich would be interpreted by people as a wink – which would then result in multitudes of 60-year-old men following me home.


The doctor might sever a small muscle in my face, and I would be left with half of my face frozenwhich would make people wonder why I was mad or sad all the time – even though they sometimes wonder that now – but I like to have the *option* of smiling.


However, I'm not getting plastic surgery.

But I have taken a good long look in the mirror.

It hasn't been pretty.

For the most part, I usually think that I'm a pretty good disciple of Jesus.  I'm following Him closely, doing my devotionals, reading my Bible, attending church, prayingthinking I'm looking like Him more and more.

But lately, when I've looked in the mirror – I've seen the cracks in my spiritual armor.

Wanna know what I've seen? 

Petty Jealousy.

Suspicious mistrust.

Bitter anger.

Judgmental attitude.


Snide comments.

Unkind thoughts.

I could add more, but I am so embarrassed to admit even these things.  Sure, certain circumstances are taxing my strength right now – they're trying my patience – they're testing my ability to cope.

But honestly, coming face-to-face with the deeper layers of sin in my heart has been excruciating.

I've lived in my new mountain home for a year now – and I can honestly say that I've never grown in my faith as much as I have in this last year.

I feel like God has been removing my "props" shaving off the things that have always made me feel secure.  Friendships have faltered, familiar places have disappeared.  My parents are getting older – my dad has even begun to forget who I am from time to time.

It's all been very hard.

But now, the Lord is pruning even more of the ugly branches off my sin-filled tree.  He isn't content with me being a pretty good discipleHe wants me to look like Him…really.

Evidently, He doesn't just want to change me – He wants to refine me.

I looked up the process of refining in Wikipedia.  I read this:

"Refining consists of purifying an impure material…in refining, the final material is usually identical chemically to the original one, only it is purer."

I got to pondering that.

God's refining work doesn't destroy me – it just makes me purer.

I like the sound of that.

I have not enjoyed seeing the truth about me – the deeper truth.  The things that I really didn't know were lurking under the surface until certain circumstances brought them out.

My mirror image needs some work.

And yet, I wonder at the Lord's timing.  It's like I feel like I somehow just graduated from elementary school, only to find out that He wants me to go to college!  Does He think I'm ready for this?  Is He thinking that it's time for me to die a little more (a lot) to my self?

Yes, I think that's exactly what He's thinking.

I've been quite chagrined, mortified, ashamed to see these snaky, black, and ugly sins crop up inside of me.  How could I have not known they were there? 

"'The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?  But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.'"  (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NLT)

And so, at this time in my life, God has decided to burn these things out of me.

Cost of discipleship.

High cost indeed. 

But worth the priceless treasure of knowing God in an even more intimate way.  

Worth the priceless treasure of being a reflection of His Son.  

Worth the priceless treasure of ridding myself of sins that I didn't even know I harbored deep within.

Worth the priceless treasure of refined gold…

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

"Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart."  (Psalm 26:2, NLT)

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."  (Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)

"'I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure.  I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold.'"  (Zechariah 13:9, NLT)

What does God want to *refine* in you?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY

(SIDENOTE:  I hope all you former Google Reader readers out there find a way to find me!  I cherish your company as we walk out this journey called LIFE!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Hi Sharon - Hey - you and me both! Refining - and what about that bit where He's "removing your props" - in my case it is LITERALLY! I've been dilly-dallying about getting into the basement this past week and starting the GREAT PURGE of PROPS and COSTUMES and many familiar things that have been a part of my "career" these past ten years. A new page - new chapter - new volume, I think. Can't go forward dragging the baggage from backward. And - that list of snaky black things hits home. Yes - they come slithering through my thoughts - and perhaps picnic in my heart - but the Lord has been rather unrelenting in the rod and staff department. So grateful that He has! Not that it's been pleasant - but goodness and beauty is the fruit and what I will choose to meditate upon in the midst of all this furniture re-arranging. Hmmmmm . . . I wrote a post about that the first month I was blogging - two years ago. May be time for a re-post . . .
    Journeying together - separated only by miles,

    1. "...but the Lord has been rather unrelenting in the rod and staff department."

      This totally made me laugh - but in an empathetic "oh how I get it" kind of way!

      GOD BLESS!

  2. I always appreciate your honesty, Sharon, as you share what's going on in your walk with the Lord. So often I'm right there with you so I know exactly where you're coming from.
    And I'm sure everyone who follows your blog will keep up with it, Google Reader or not. I know I am.

  3. Oh, how I relate to much of this. Scripture has taken on new meaning, judgement has seemed nearer and well I don't think I will say more now, maybe a blog for another time. Thank you for sharing so eloquently and openly, you always write so well.

    God Bless

  4. Yes, we all need to take that extra look in the mirror at times. Refining, restoration, renewal will get us closer to His image. Thank you for sharing at "Tell me a Story."

  5. Very though provoking post Sharon! God has been refining me and doing a lot of inner healing this year in my life....and God is so gentle and loving in His pruning.

  6. Just when we think we've graduated a bit, God shows us there is much more learning to do. The pruning and cleaning never feels good.

  7. You said in this post sweet sis, what I am feeling. thanks for sharing your heart, love you.

  8. Standing RIGHT THERE staring at the mirror with you! I honestly think it helps to know that others face the same struggles. The simple fact is that we're not perfect and holy. On this earth, only one fully God/fully man ever was. The fact that you see those things, things that others might mark as insignificant, isn't a bad thing. It's a good one. It's an excellent one, in fact.

    I'm studying Proverbs right now with my peeps in Bible study. One of the things that God keeps drumming into me the more I study is the fact that the first mark of wisdom is the desire to be corrected. You are a wise bird, Sharon. You are unwilling to except in you that which doesn't glorify Him. Rejoice.

    And then move over, I'm trying to get a better look at myself and those green eyes of envy that I'm trying to correct.

  9. It is always a good idea to do an inventory of "look in the mirror" as you put it! For me, I find that if I don't do an inventory on a regular basis, those sinful behaviors and attitudes that I hate rise up and rear their ugly heads! I am so thankful that God will wash me clean every time! Thanks for your transparency, Sharon!

    Blessings, Joan

  10. mirror mirror on the wall
    Sharon's blog has said it all
    here we stand as we view our face
    grateful that the truth is covered with grace.

    i loved this Sharon... speaks to every one of us!

  11. My refinement? Oh mercy, in what area of my life is he not taking a long look and driving me to my knees therein? This has been a hard shaping season; the results aren't in yet, but I'm choosing to believe that the difficult work of these last few months is leading me to a stronger obedience and a faithful heart. Prayers for God's strength, visioning, and joy to be yours this night, sister.

  12. Sounds like it's been a pruning season for you. That is so exciting! I know that God will lead you along the right ways so you can be more and more a leader for him.

    Hang in there! We've all felt the same gets better :)

    Peace in Christ,

  13. Somedays I just wanna cover up all those mirrors!
    The Lord has been leading me into a time of inner reflection too...He is showing me the branches of my life that need some pruning in order for there to be more fruit. Just like my rose of Sharon tree...after eight years of glorious has stopped because it has grown too big.
    The mirror shows a person caught between yesterday and tomorrow...I am not who I was, and not who I am to be...yet.
    But I am to be patient because God is not finished with me yet ;)

    ~Blessings and love, Lisa

  14. OK! While I'm reading, I'm making notes of the things I like here: "God's refining work doesn't destroy me~it only makes me purer." I like that thought. I guess I'm afraid of winding up in shambles as He has His will in my life instead of me having my will. Yikes~talk about admissions. Look what you started. Dare I read any further?
    Oh, the heart is deceitful above all else. I am so glad only God can see what lies within my heart. And I'm so stubborn about submitting to that pruning process. Maybe that's why it takes so long in me!
    I guess I can only look in that mirror with the Lord's comforting arm around me~or I might wilt, give up, or just die on the spot.
    Thank you for telling me all that it is worth. And giving me the beautiful image of pure white snow. Maybe I can really reflect Him to others.
    Terrific post, Sharon. Deep and thoughtful as always.

  15. I love blogs where the author is transparent,and you are.. Great post! Thoughtful, inspiring, and honest.. :)
    (Visiting from Winsome Wednesday blog hop.

  16. Excellent post, Sharon. I have been seeing the same ugly side of myself lately and I am truly sick of it. Praying for God do some weeding and pruning so I can grow again.

  17. Were we separated at birth? But you got the writing skills? I'm going to read this post more than once...yes I could see my sin in my own mirror too. Thank you for your honesty, it made my look at myself a bit more clearly much as I have wanted a "lifestyle lift" too...I'd rather see myself refined to reflect Christ more. And that is more than skin deep.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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