“God is continually trying to catch our attention and give us fresh glimpses of his loving presence.”
The power of the pause. That phrase invaded my thoughts a few months ago and repeatedly circles my mind. When we pause throughout our hurried, daily lives, we make sense of what we’re sensing. If we don’t take time to slow down and make time for reflection, we will miss what God is trying to show us.
There is an ancient practice from Saint Ignatius Loyola (AD 1491-1556) called the examen, which highlights the power of the pause. It was developed to detect God’s movement in life and to discern His voice within the flow of the day. I’ve started to include the examen, so I don't miss what God is up to in my life.
In the examen, I consciously place myself in God’s presence and seek His light in reviewing the day. Pondering these questions in the evening keeps me in tune with God’s desires for me.
What am I thankful for? What brought me joy today?
What unpleasant emotions am I aware of? What’s bugging me? Considering these, what does God want me to know? Is there something I need to repent of or someone I need to forgive? What lie am I believing that needs to be replaced with God’s truth?
As I look ahead to tomorrow, where do I need to ask for God’s guidance?
Through the examen, the Lord recently brought to the surface of my heart, a childhood hurt unbeknownst to me lying dormant, yet affecting my daily life. He showed me the lie that kept the wound festering, and He replaced it with His truth.
As we become more present and aware of ourselves and God’s presence through the examen, it prevents us from ignoring unpleasant attitudes and sins and helps us deal with things as they come. The apostle Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-10 is answered as we utilize the examen. “That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” The examen helps us notice the things we normally take for granted, to submit to God’s gentle correction leading to change, and to humbly depend upon God and ask for His help.
“The examen makes us aware of moments that at first we might easily pass by as insignificant, moments that ultimately can give direction for our lives.”
Take advantage of the power of the pause by practicing the examen at the end of the day.