Tuesday, April 25, 2017

From Strength to Strength...What Will Come Out if Someone Bumps into You?

This evening I was present at a lovely dinner and gathering.  As part of the program, these questions were asked:

“How is your soul?” 
“Inside, are you a person of peace?” 
“When someone bumps into you, what will come out?”
We were reminded that Jesus purposefully took care of His soul:
     “…large crowds were gathering to hear Him and be healed of their sicknesses.  But
Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”  Luke 5:15-16 NASB

Jesus also was diligent in the care of His disciples’ souls:
     “And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a      while.  (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)  They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.” 
​     Mark 6:31-32 NASB

Dear friends, how are your souls this beautiful spring day?  Are you at peace?  Are you interacting with those around you from a position of fullness?   If so, what would come out if someone were to bump into you?  Seriously!

There is a beautiful spiritual practice that will allow you to keep watch over the state of your soul.  It is called an Examen and is a very simple little tool to inventory your day.  While the evening is the best time for the daily practice, it may also be used to pray about any other meaningful time period (such as a week or a year); or about a distinct event that has taken place.
Here's the important part!  The Examen restores your focus on God, looking for and celebrating His Presence and action in your day and in your life.  It is not an examination of conscience that actually places the focus on yourself and how you have fallen short.  Oh, the Lord may highlight something that needs repentance and forgiveness, but He will also reveal how His love was active in your life.  Why  don’t you give it a try?  I could be life changing.

Allow between five and fifteen minutes for the daily Examen.  It is meant to be very flexible.
​1.  Pray for God’s help.
     Just relax and invite the Lord to “be” with you during this time.
     It is wise to choose a Scripture and focus on the Words.
     Take deep breaths and let yourself see your day as God sees it.

2.  Give thanks for the gifts of the day.
     Review the day and name the blessings – significant and obvious; common and ordinary.
     Honor the gifts of others and recognize the gifts in you.
     Ask Him: 
          Where was/is Your love Lord?
          Where was it active today?
          Where is it leading?

3.  Pray over significant feelings that surface as You replay the day.
     Look for interior movements:  joy or sad; pleasing or painful; subtle or strong. 
     Pick one or two and ask the Lord:
          Help me understand what aroused those feelings, Lord, and where did they lead me?
          Show me if they drew me closer to You, or did they lead me away from You?

Rejoice (in times you were brought closer to God); and seek forgiveness (for times when you resisted God’s Presence).

5.  Look to Tomorrow:  invite Him to be a part of your sleep and your tomorrow.
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me!  You Know when I sit down and when I rise up;  You understand my thoughts from afar….How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!...”   Psalm 139: 1-2, 17
Resources for Going Deeper:
​​"The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making" by Elizabeth Liebert

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