The Examen

In my spiritual direction cohort, we are practicing the examen, a practice of silently and prayerfully reviewing one’s day, noticing where the Lord was present what resistance may have occurred during the day.

I decided to practice this discipline in my car on my commute home from work.  So I’m learning to turn off my radio for the beginning of my car ride.  I’m trying to slow down immediately after I leave work.

Today, what did I notice? How was God speaking? Did I listen?

Some days I completely forget. Some days I’m exhausted and my brain is not primed for noticing.  Yet slowly, I can see this practice shaping me.

I’ve noticed myself being more playful with my students after Spring Break, letting myself incorporating more play into their work. I’ve noticed that I’m giving myself more freedom to write.  I’ve let myself linger with uncomfortable feelings and emotions a little longer, not as scared to see the dark side of myself. I’ve let myself ask for forgiveness and be forgiven.

I’ve seen myself get angry with waiting, and I’ve been patient with my body when I just needed a vitamin IV.  I’ve allowed myself to embrace the mundane and get frustrated by it.  I’ve felt lonely and exhilarated.

christ listening

I’m seeing that the examen is me seeing that so many times a day God says, “I’m here.  I’m glad to do this day with you.” And so often I reject His words and more easily settle into boredom, comparing, ferociously cleaning, feeling like I’m not enough.

He’s reminding me that I’m shaped by the daily things: a hug after work, winding down the day with a game of Yahtzee, going to bed early because I’m ornery, affirming friends, asking hard questions and not having answers, giving my car a tune-up that it so badly needs.

Life can be so much about creating a facade of control, that I miss out on how I’m being formed.  But I’m learning to listen for whispers, accept change with grace, and live into my questions.  He’s just waiting to remind me what I’ve already forgotten.

He’s here and he’s listening.


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