In my effort to help family members discover a gift that has blessed me with ways to slow down the speed of life and acknowledge God’s daily presence, this past Christmas I gave each a “Stress-Relief” gift package. Inside I provided some suggestions on the value of doing a daily “Examen” … or “review” … along with some homemade spa goodies, a soothing aromatherapy candle and a blank journal.
Examen is an age-old spiritual practice helping us notice where God shows up in our day – in both the beautiful and difficult places. It is taking time in the evening to go back over the events of the day, inviting God to show us where he was present with us … and to notice how we responded to his presence.
When I first began to do a daily review, those moments weren’t always apparent to me, but the more I took time to sit in silence reflecting on my day, the more I began to notice the small ways God was present. Sometimes it was in the joy of laughter with a friend who took the time to listen. There were also the times when I recalled embarrassment for my own neglect in listening to someone else. Even in those moments of regret, Examen showed me that God is with me, loving me and desiring for me to know him more deeply.
“Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence? …
Even the darkness is not dark to you;
The night is as bright as the day,
For darkness is as light to you.” – Psalm 139: 7, 12
The suggestions I offered to my family in their gift package for helping them notice God’s daily presence in their lives were:
- Before bed, light a candle
- Sit quietly and ask God to help you recall a moment from the day about which you are most grateful
- Where were you most able to give and receive love today?
- Breathe in the gratitude you felt in those moments
- Next, ask God to bring to your heart the moment today for which you are least grateful
- When were you least able to give and receive love?
- Ask yourself what was said and done in that moment that made it so difficult
- Be with whatever you feel without trying to change or fix it. Let God’s love fill you just as you are
- You may want to journal and record your thoughts and feelings. Then, go to bed with the awareness that Jesus is with you through every day. Sleep in peace! – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist