I know that I already confessed to breaking my media fast and completely missing an entire day of writing my Lenten journey. To celebrate my perfectly imperfect Lenten journey, here is a little media diversion to help see the simplicity of Lent as a time to fast, pray, and give.
Today I am going to confess that I don’t want to do the examen. I just don’t want to think or sort through my day. I want to eat cake at a baby shower (not supposed to because I can’t eat gluten), eat a piece of garlic bread at same said baby shower, take a nap right before dinner, watch a movie with my family and eat some popcorn while in my pajamas. Are you getting this? It’s that place where the new habit hasn’t had time to become like breathing yet and the old habits are so so so so comfy. So comfy.
For me, when I am willing to choose something comfortable even when it might be harmful (eating gluten right now), I know that there is a disconnect between my deepest desire and my fleeting desires. My deepest desire is to live in a vibrant and healthy body. Vanilla cake and butter cream frosting do not contribute to that deep desire.
I want to live fully present to God. If I don’t pause, think, or reflect on my life now and then. I will be pulled away by every competing fleeting desire to check my email or snooze on the couch or clean my house (!!) or even talk endlessly about nothing important. So I return to God now to enter intentionally into His presence.
Fr. Joe Tetlow, in an introduction to the Examen says this..
Never, never start examining yourself until you have thanked God for the gifts that God is giving to you—not in general, not in the past, but right now, today. That’s how you start The Examen. I think people who can keep the Examen up often do that.
And I found a beautifully simplified discussion regarding the examen that I would highly recommend reading for more of the history and depth of this practice (on a blog for emerging youth ministry).
God, even though I am dozing off, perhaps there is something better for me and my soul’s direction in the practice of the examen today. And maybe if I wouldn’t have eaten the cake I wouldn’t be so nappy. Anyway….thank you for cake, too.
1. What choices have I made in response to God’s love?
My children are all such unique gifts from God to my life. Each one of them strongly bears a different image of God. My 2 year old little guy (B) is the fullness of joy. The fruit of God’s Spirit in him is unmistakable joy and the love that comes out of that joy. His joy is a celebration to watch — and sometimes I don’t take time to participate in this celebration. God’s love to me came through B’s persistent request for me to participate in his joy… to play trains, to eat outside, to go to the beach. When I let myself participate in his joy, I feel love for him and love for my role as a mother. Playing on the beach and looking for sticks is the simplest way I could respond to God’s great love for my role as a mother.
2. What choices have I made that dismissed God’s love?
God’s love for the world is contained forgiveness, given through Jesus Christ as a gift for all humanity. I am struggling to offer this love to people who have hurt me and hurt my family. The issues are petty and not life-threatening, yet when I encounter these people and their behavior, I am brought face to face with the fact that I would rather avoid people who hurt me than seek reconciliation. Someone who I trusted and befriended for a few years made an abrupt contact with me that brought me back to that insecure place of feeling unimportant, unloved, and rejected. I operated in pure knee jerk self-defense. I sent an abrupt communication right back and did what the friend requested. I don’t know how to forgive in the truest sense of forgiveness when I feel so betrayed and rejected. I need to find God’s reconciliation in this friendship… not to restore it… but to put it into a beautiful container of forgiveness and offer it back to them somehow.
How do these questions of help you notice God’s love today?