Monday, March 05, 2012

Growing Through Lent - Examine Your Life

(This Lent, my Dad, Rev. Hollis Hiscock, and I are co-blogging! You can find our posts every Monday at my Blog and Dad’s Blog. Visit, comment, share, and most importantly, feel free to join us in the journey.)

Part of what defines our humanity is
our desire to examine and understand our life.
It separates us from other forms of creation.

In the 3rd century BC, the philosopher Socrates stated
The unexamined life is not worth living.

In the Bible, the writer of Lamentations proposed
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.
(Lamentations 3:40 NIV)

After Jesus lived, died, and rose again, St. Paul advocated
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.
(2 Corinthians 13:5a NIV)

What better time than Lent - a season of fasting and spiritual exploration - to look at our lives and examine how we’re moving through this experience called Life.

One of the most important tools for examining your life is to find silence. In the Gospels, there are several stories of Jesus seeking silence when things got too busy. He would often rise early and find a quiet place to pray and think.

Spending time in silence can be intimidating for many of us. For others, it’s just hard to find any quiet in our loud, highly stimulating culture.

Here are a few ideas for finding silence in a busy world:

Rise earlier than usual and spend a few minutes alone in a quiet space in your house. If the weather cooperates, go for a walk or sit outside. Think on the challenges you may face today, and how you may best respond to them.

Most churches are open during the weekdays. Visit a sanctuary and soak in the silence.

Spending time by the water is always calming and inspiring to the mind and soul. There’s nothing like sitting beside the ocean to feel the unique tension between power and frailty. If your environment allows, find some quiet time to sit by a lake, pond, river, or other body of water. If not, sit and visualize a scene of yourself sitting by the water.

At the end of your day, turn off the TV thirty minutes earlier than usual. Sitting on the comfort of your couch, reflect on your day. Where did you experience God today?

Art galleries, museums, and even some libraries provide a glorious combination of silence and beauty. Allow yourself to breathe in this rich atmosphere and see what thoughts are inspired.

Labyrinths are an ancient practice of walking and meditation. Use an internet search to find one in your area, and explore this unique spiritual experience.

As you begin to find and create pockets of silence in your day, your thoughts will drift over your family, your occupation, your choices, your friends, your faith, your blessings, your passions, your losses, and every other part of your life. Be sure to carry a journal, notepad, cell phone, or tablet to capture your thoughts and prayers during this exploration. Review your notes every few weeks to reveal connections, changes, growths, and gratitude.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

No comments: