Lent in everyday language. Day Fifteen.

wow. it has been an interesting couple of days around here.

when I first determined to take an everyday stab at practicing the examen during Lent, i never anticipated so much self-discovery. i suppose that looking in all the nooks and crannies of my days in order to find God’s presence seemed a pretty safe journey to take. what i forgot was that while i am extra aware and present to God, i am extra aware and present to myself.

that is not always something that is fun to see.

i notice that i still wrestles and lose the battle with trying to be understood all the time (all the time). if i think that perhaps i have been misunderstood in any possible way i quickly become obsessive about how to reverse what i said or re-explain. the danger with words (and especially the ones you attempt to make public) is that you don’t always get a second chance to re-explain or add more clarity to what you have written.

that is not always fun to think about.

but i love the spiritual writere Henri Nouwen who says

“Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasinly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen
as i journal poorly through my daily almost daily journey, i see so many patterns of my great fear of being imperfect, failing people, failing myself… yet i do that very thing.
how can i allow God to transform my view of self and others through forgiveness?
what does that really look like, to forgive myself and others?
1. where do i see God forgiving me?
my four children are daily reminders from God that i live in unmerited forgiveness and favor. when each one of my children were born, it was like God was saying ” the past is forgiven. now here is your future.  when i am with them, i think in present and future tense. even when i am tempted to be hard on myself because i have been overly harsh or missed opportunities with them, they wake up every day expecting something better. they are living proof that God’s mercies and forgiveness are new every morning.
2. where am in need of God’s forgiveness?
the list is long.. but for today i need God’s forgiveness for my hyper critical paranoia. criticism and paranoia are the paralyzing sister act that come after me in moments of fear and insecurity. when i am feeling insecure, i have a hard time understanding my worth. so instead of going to God and sitting with him until the emotion passes, i become hyper critical of myself and others until i absolutely cannot stop thinking about how wrong i was or how wrong someone else was. I confess and ask for God’s amazing love and grace to flood these barren places of insecure desert lands until they become streams of living water.
how do these questions help you notice God today?