Sundays are my Sabbath day – at least when I am at home. Tom and I go out for breakfast and spend time journalling then share our thoughts and reflections on the past week and our hopes for the future week. This is such a good time for me and has become even better this year as I have started focusing my journally around 3 questions that are based on the prayer of examen
- What am I grateful for this week?
- What have I struggled with?
- Where do I see the fingerprints of God?
I am amazed at how this simple exercise has given me a greater sense of God’s affirmation of who I am and in the process has brought me closer to God and has helped me connect all that I am doing to my faith. Yesterday I spent much of my time processing our MSA Board meeting from the day before. We are reinventing our meetings to follow the same format that we use in our MSA team meetings – starting with a time of group discernment and checking in before getting into the business of the day. On Saturday we shared the consolations and desolations we have experienced since our last meeting.
Part of what became obvious is that consolations and desolations are often intimately intertwined. One member shared about his son’s depression and how coping with that as a family has brought them closer together. Another shared about the joy she is experiencing in looking after her new baby and contrasted it with the desolation of knowing that her mother is struggling with cancer. It is often in the midst of calamity that family and community bonds are strengthened. Heartache and disaster forges friendships that would not otherwise arise – and these kinds of friendships often endure far longer than those that depend on good times.
One Board member’s comment that he is too busy to reflect on what are consolations and desolations brought me up short however. It made realize how easily our busyness disconnects us from the appreciation of life in all its joys and struggles . It is easy for us to dismiss or to overlook what God is doing in the midst of our struggles and concerns simply because we do not take the time to reflect and acknowledge where God is present and what God is doing.
I am discovering that my Sabbath journalling discipline is a wonderful way to maintain this connection to God’s presence in the midst of all the struggles of life. I think that the unexamined life is shallow and often results in starvation of the soul. Reflecting and reconnecting to God restores and strengthens our faith in amazing ways.
What disciplines do you adhere to on a regular basis that reconnect and renew you in this way?