For those of us that live in large cities with miles and miles of freeway, it is inevitable that we have been confronted with drivers that speed, change lanes constantly, and veer into other lanes without warning. I often find myself angry and frustrated by near misses from other drivers (and have had a few uncharitable thoughts and words about other drivers). I struggled with my response and how I could better react to these situations that arise on an almost daily basis.
The spiritual journey is to love God above everything. To love with all our heart, mind, and soul. We do this through seeking what is true, right and just. The Spirit draws us closer through both beauty and through pain to the truth. That we were designed by God for God. Our human nature causes us to forget.
As humans we have the need to be seen and to know that we matter. The people we encounter throughout our day can affirm us. I see these as the seeds planted by God to show us we are loved and valued. This gives us a taste of what it will be like when we ultimately stand before His Glory!
Recently, during my Holy hour when I first wake up in the morning, I read something through a new lens. This is the time that I spend orienting my day in prayer, God‘s word, and being attentive to my body.
We are told there is never enough. There’s never enough money, status, time, beauty, or life, and so the world sets us up to follow the gods of anxiety, the god of saving, the god of fear, and even the god of self-reliance. Holy Scripture tells us that we have a choice before us: live in prosperity or death and doom.
My spiritual direction program is stretching me in ways I never thought possible. Recently I’m realizing how my inner critic can hold me back, breeding doubt and uncertainty. This is my fallen self. God‘s grace is revealing to me that the feeling of “stuckness” is usually tied to my fear of disappointing someone. It’s when I’m in conflict with what I know to be true and what I think the other person expects of me. It has something to do with someone trying to fit me in a box that I don’t think I should be in.
Do I make good choices in what I do and in what I avoid?
We have entered into the season of Lent and are focused on the three great pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Jesus at Easter. For many of us, including me, Lent can become a time of focus on self-improvement or dieting (physical preparations) and not necessarily on the spiritual preparations for Easter. Taking better care of ourselves, eating better, getting more sleep, and exercising more are all good things, but I think that God is calling us into something more meaningful and deeper to discipline and prepare our hearts and souls for the coming of Jesus at Easter.
Do I remember to pray for the needs of my family and friends?
There are so many people that suffer, and in need of prayer and support. My heart hurts when I see news reports of natural disasters, wars, violence, and injustices of every kind that impact people throughout the world. I take time to add those people to my prayer list, asking God to protect and comfort them and to ease their sufferings.
There are times when I wish that my life would be different from what I am currently experiencing. I long to be married again, have children, and be able to enjoy more time for travel and relaxation rather than working full-time. I imagine what my life might look like, and I always imagine that it would be better and more fulfilling than my current life.
Do I ask God to guide me in making decisions about the next steps in my life?
As a child, I remember being asked “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer changed over time (I had dreams of being an astronaut at one point but came back down to earth when I realized how much math would be involved!), and I eventually found the career that I have been involved with my entire adult life. Looking back on the path and the decisions that I made, I realized that I often did not include God in the equation of figuring out what I should do with my life, where I should be, and with whom I should be spending time. I kept moving forward and making decisions, but in racing forward I would sometimes forget to sit still and take my questions about my future path to God in prayer.
Now as I contemplate the next phases of my life and face decisions about what path to follow, I ask God in prayer “Is this what I am meant to do?” and then listen for the answer. I may not always get an immediate response, but if I am patient, quiet, and thoughtful, the answer will come to me through an experience or thought, or through the counsel of a good friend. I find that I am increasingly placing my trust in God, who always wants what is best for me. I truly know and accept that my life belongs to God, not to me, and that time spent in discernment is always time well spent.
What is God calling you to do with your life?
Thank you, God, for leading me to the right path for my life. I pray for the trust and strength to follow Your path for me, wherever it may lead. Authentically Yours.