So, I've been out and going since 6am this morning. I had to take a picture to document a realization I just had: Yep. I've been to small group, two meetings, and spent at least 2.5 hours in my office and have yet to take my jacket off. Honestly. Just thought of that.
It goes back to something that I find is a continual theme in my journaling and thinking about life and how we get messed up in our efforts to grow in relationship with God.
The issue is attentiveness - paying real, focused attention to the big and small of every day. I wasn't focused enough today (lack of sleep and lots of reading last night could be the reason) to even notice that I still had my jacket on. So what else did I miss?
This may seem small, but think about this: God is CONSTANTLY working in our lives. In conversations. In nature. In thoughts. In songs. In children. On and on we could go, but as much as God is a God of the future He is very much the God of the present.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his writing called "The Spiritual Exercises", jumps on the idea that God is present in the everyday and that the only way we can grow from it is by paying attention. He developed something called the "examen" that is a way to reflect on our lives and see where God was working and where we were challenged or struggled during the day.
Sum it all up and it says this: if you want to know what God is doing, pay attention to what God has done.
Here are three "St. Iggy" kind of questions that you can wrestle with as your own "examen":
1. When did I feel closest to God today?
2. When did I feel like God was distant or that I was creating distance between us?
3. What emotions come up when I try to think about where God was working today? What distractions are right now keeping me from thinking about today?
I'd love to hear your comments on what insights and struggles you have with this.
Also, read this post by worship artist Carlos Whittaker. Incredible, and it may be good to include this in your "examen" for today.
I'm going to go and take my jacket off now.