Finding God in the Daily :: Choose One Thing

Gentle beauty.

A gentle beauty.

When it comes to finding God in the daily, it’s so easy to go from zero to 60, in terms of hyper-awareness and intention. We think, God is everywhere! He can be found in everything! All that I do is weighted with significance and meaning. I must attend to this. 

And then we crash and burn. We get defeated and overwhelmed. This can happen so easily.

I’d like to encourage you to choose one thing. One thing. Through the course of this series, we explored many avenues and angles for finding God in the daily. Some of the practical methods have been:

Instead of trying all of these possibilities at once, choose one. Try it on as an intention for a week. Or a month. Allow it to become a singular method of transformation right now.

You don’t need to be in hyper-mode about all this. God is about your transformation, and that is a lifelong process. He’s in it for the long haul, and he’s about going deep with you. He’s about changing you to your core. And he can do that much more effectively through your focused partnership.

That is the heart of spiritual discipline and formation, as we’ve explored here before (see here and here): we choose something that’s within our power to do (a singular set intention) so that God can use that energy and focus to transform us from the inside in ways we can’t transform ourselves.

Choose one thing. Let it be enough. Let that one thing be your means of transformation right now.

What one thing will you choose?

Finding God in the Daily :: At Home, at Work, in Relationships

Sitting pretty.

Noticing life.

As we’ve been working through this series, I’ve been wanting to provide you with a sample list of questions you can hold in the different areas of your life to help you notice God’s activity and presence, as well as your own formation process. And so that list — broken up by categories — is below.

This is not an exhaustive list, of course, but it’s a good set to consider when you’re wanting to be intentional about noticing God in the details and how those details can contribute to your ongoing formation. 

At Home

  • In what area of your home do you experience the greatest felt presence of God? Why do you think that is? 
  • Enter each major area or room of your home and offer a prayer over the people and activities that populate that space.
  • In what ways do you experience God in your home? 
  • In what ways do you wish you experienced more of God in your home? How can that desire become a point of prayer and a place of intentionality for you?
  • Imagine Jesus’ presence with you in every activity you engage (making meals, driving in the car, cleaning the house, watching TV, engaging with those you live with, etc.) through the course of one full day. What do you notice about his presence?

At Work

  • What conflicts do you experience at work? How might these become opportunities for prayer? 
  • Do you become more or less like your true self at work? Why do you think that is?
  • How do you experience the strengths of who God made you to be in your experience of yourself at work?
  • What spirit pervades your workplace? Is it a spirit of laughter, joy, freedom, comaraderie? A spirit of fear, divisiveness, apathy? Notice the spiritual undercurrent of your workplace, and join in the spiritual battle through prayer as you work.
  • Which fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control — is least fruitful in your work life? Allow the cultivation of that particular fruit to become a point of focus between you and God.
  • Is there anyone who could use your words of encouragement today? 

In Relationships

  • Where do you experience joy and freedom in relationship right now? What dynamic allows that to be your experience in those relationships? 
  • How are the people in your life reflections of the different attributes of God?
  • Is there a pattern to the struggles you experience in relationships? How can that pattern be an entry point for growth in you? What might be God’s invitation to you in that particular struggle?
  • How can you be a reflection of the heart of God toward the people in your life right now?
  • What do you most fear in the context of relationship? Share that fear openly with God and listen for God’s words in response to you.

What questions would you add to this list? 

Finding God in the Daily :: The Daily Examen

Life hanging on.

Noticing the details.

Have you heard of the daily examen before? I’ve written about it once before, and it’s a centuries-old practice that maybe you have read about or practiced previously. 

It’s a perfect addition to this series about finding God in the daily. 

In fact, I’d say it’s the most practical, direct way to find God in the daily, so if you’re looking for one simple handle to get started, I’d recommend starting here.

So, what is the daily examen? 

It’s a simple 15-minute practice you incorporate into the end of each day that involves 1) a mental review of the day in order to 2) discover God’s presence in ways seen and unseen. 

  • You look back over what happened that day.
  • You ask, “How was God present in ways I noticed or didn’t notice at the time?”

Anything that lent itself to light, to goodness, to joy, to kindness, to generosity, to gratitude — in essence, to life — can become markers for you of God’s presence in your day. Consequently, anything that moved you toward darkness, death, despair, gloom, anger, bitterness, fear, or trembling can become entryways for you to converse with God and invite him closer into those situations, seeking his wisdom or aid.

Practicing the daily examen blew my mind when I first began doing it.

I could hardly believe the number of places I came to see God’s presence each day in retrospect, and this led to a heightened awareness of his presence with me all the time. Even in situations that were hard or stressful, I came to see his saving presence — giving me the self-control to not snap at someone, saving me from a near-accident on the road, and so on.

It also increased my sense of gratitude as an overall posture toward life — being more thankful and wonder-struck at life, rather than pessimistic or closed.

And, in the end, it helped me be responsible for the events of my days, specifically in noticing the way I received the events that happened when they happened and how I responded to them in the moment. The daily examen provides a place to notice the details in the dailiness of our lives and converse openly with God about who we are becoming as we respond to them.

* Special note: Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook has the best list of questions I’ve found on the daily examen. These can be great jumping-off points for this daily practice, too: 

  • For what moment today am I most grateful? For what moment today am I least grateful? 
  • When did I give and receive the most love today? When did I give and receive the least love today? 
  • What was the most life-giving part of my day? What was the most life-thwarting part of my day? 
  • When today did I have the deepest sense of connection with God, others, and myself? When today did I have the least sense of connection?
  • Where was I aware of living out of the fruit of the Spirit? Where was there an absence of the fruit of the Spirit?

Finding God in the Daily :: When God Finds You

Dangled in light.

Dangled in light.

In my experience, finding God in the daily has so much to do with mindfulness. Paying attention. Allowing present moments to be markers for us — showing us ourselves and perhaps becoming teachers to us, too, and inviting our whole selves to show up in the ordinary moments.

That’s the part of finding God in the daily that invites our part. Our intention. Our activity and presence.

But sometimes it’s just about God. 

Sometimes we can let go of the searching and just let God find us as we are. 

That’s what happened for me this morning.

I’ve been in a funky place the last several days, perhaps even a week. Carrying around a heavy feeling of sadness that sometimes spirals into a hole of emptiness inside. I look up and realize so many things feel futile and meaningless.

But then I’ll spend time with Jesus and get reconnected to Life. I’ll meet with my spiritual director and feel a vitality of purpose and engagement. I’ll feel hope and strength and courage surge through me.

Only to find myself on the couch later, once again facing down the emptiness. 

When I woke this morning with the sadness and emptiness cloaking me yet again, I asked Kirk for a hug and then he offered to pray with me. Through that time of prayer, the invitation emerged to just be in the love of God right now without having to understand this up-and-down roller coaster ride of feelings or know what to do or where to go with them. 

Just be in the love of God. Accepted and loved.

I needed that reminder today. Do you?

Finding God in the Daily :: The Everydayness of Jesus


Just some ordinary items.

Pennies lost then found. Wheat fields and trees. Mustard seeds and sparrows. Parents giving gifts to children. Friends arriving in the night. A woman petitioning her case. A homeless man hoping for bread. 

The list could go on and on.

So many of the stories Jesus told — maybe all of them? — are grounded in the grit and grind of daily life. Even the images he used to describe his very self fall into the everyday ordinary. Bread. Light. Words. 

And then he met people on the ground floor of their lives. A woman fetching water at a well. A bunch of fishermen hauling nets. Two sisters caught in conflict. Parents pleading the health of their children. A rich man hunting for meaning. 

We could keep going on like this for quite a long time. 

Jesus was grounded in the details. And I love this about him. I love that he came and experienced real life for himself, and I love that he chose to use real life for his teaching tools. He could pull a metaphor or meaningful truth out of any old thing you’d encounter in the course of a day.

What in your ordinary life could be used as a teaching tool by Jesus to teach you?

Finding God in the Daily :: The Whole-Self Approach



I’ve been noticing I often find God in the dailiness of life when my whole self — body, heart, mind, and spirit — all show up in the same place. 

Take laundry, for instance. 

I’m standing at the washer/dryer, the dryer door open, and I’m pulling out all the warm, clean, colored garments. My hands go through their familiar routine of shaking out a fluffed, freshly cleaned and dried shirt, folding the arms back, then halving it top to bottom, then halving it once again. 

On the proper stack it goes: his and hers

Then jeans. Shake them out with a snap, fold them in half, then fold them in thirds. Place them on the bottom of the stacks.

Gather the socks in a pile, then sort them through for pairs. Align, fold, then on the stacks they go.

On and on it goes, each and every weekend. I know this routine by heart. I pile the stacks, swoop them in arms, then place them on the dressers. Done

It’s a zen-like pattern for my hands and arms, but also for the rest of me.

As I complete this task, I’m thinking about a conversation I had last week that just keeps lingering. It’s been there every day, lurking in the shadows, and I pushed it back and back all week. I’ll get to it, I tell myself. 

Standing there next to the utility closet, my body working through the familiar drill of cotton and blue jeans, I have the space, now, to wonder about it. To consider why it has lingered.

And then I notice: there’s shame attached to it — shame I’ve cast on myself, shame I’m sure is cast on me. Now I’m face to face with the truth of it. And so I take it to God: Here’s that familiar shame again. Why do I struggle with this? 

Deep breath. A chance to ask: Can I let go of this shame? Choose to view myself through the full, accepting gaze of God? Yes.

Laundry becomes a whole-self process. 

My body’s doing laundry. And then my heart shows up with what’s true: a conversation that’s lingered. My mind enters in with ruminations and wonderings. The heart and mind fuse at discovery: shame. My spirit talks with God.

This happens at the kitchen sink. It happens in the shower. While driving. While picking up the mail. Standing in the grocery line. Between reps on weight machines at the gym.

Our bodies do things, and we’re attentive to their activity, but we’re also attentive to the heart and mind that accompanies that space. We let all these things create an opportunity for connection with God.

How might you experience your whole self in the dailiness today? How can that be an entry place to God today for you?

Finding God in the Daily :: The Intimacy of Always

Finished collage :: Intimations of Me.

The light shines through all of it.

This one is going to take a story to get us there. Come along for the ride?


If you’ve been reading here for some time, you know I spent this last year in a pretty intimate season of prayer with Jesus. My morning prayer times included a strong image of the two of us walking on a beach shoreline — sometimes talking, sometime stopping to face each other, sometimes sitting on the sand watching the waves, sometimes playing in the water.

Every day, as I met Jesus in that image, I held a question before him: “What do you want to say today?” 

It was a question about this online space, Still Forming. What did he want to say through me here that day? And every day, he answered. He directed my attention to his heart for you each day, and I wrote my way through almost a full year of week-daily posts by going through that process of prayer with Jesus.

But if you’ve been reading here more recently, you also know that image has changed. We no longer walk on the beach each day. Instead, he gave me a tree. And then he planted me on a cliff

And as a result, I’m learning a new way of being with Jesus. 

Instead of looking up at him through the eyes and posture of a child leaning in to listen, I see him gazing at me directly, eye to eye.

There’s so much trust in this gaze.

And it’s a disconcerting place to be. Less dependent. More mutual.

This morning, I sat on the couch and told him how different this feels. When it was me leaning in and listening, I could take myself completely out of the equation. I didn’t have to worry about diluting the purity of what Jesus wanted to say to you because I wasn’t in the mix of the decision. I just relayed what he told me to say.

But standing here in this new place, him looking me in the eyes, he’s asking me what I think. He’s inviting my voice. He wants to hear my opinion. 

And an awareness of all my “stuff” starts rising to the surface. 

“Are you sure you want my opinion here?” I ask. “Because I’m going to muddy the waters like you never will.”

He’s completely pure and completely perfect. All his ways and thoughts are right. Me? Not so much. I’ve got parts pure and murky.

And that, I’m learning, is part of the point of this new place. Who I am today — the pure and the murky — is who he wants to know, who he wants to have show up, who he wants to keep transforming.

There’s something about this last year of walking on the beach with Jesus that is and always will be precious to me. It was a beautiful, intimate time. Through it, I learned dependence in wholly new ways. Through it, I better learned his voice. 

But this new place is even more intimate. 

This is about him being more fully integrated in me. It’s less about “what Jesus says” over here and “everything else” over there, with clear lines of demarcation between the two. Instead, it’s about the whole of me showing up and us talking together about all of it. It’s about him using me in this space, even with my splotchy parts, instead of there being a clear line between him and me. 

The same can be true for you. When it comes to finding God in the daily, it’s less about a demarcation between “holy time” and “all the rest of our time.” God can — and wants to — become fused into the whole of it with you. 

Where is one of the places in your “all the rest of it” time that you can let God be with you?

Finding God in the Daily :: Noticing Ourselves


Noticing what’s different.

Sometimes it’s easier to notice ourselves than it is to notice God.

For instance, here are some of the things that churned through my mind this morning:

  • I need to talk to my co-worker about a transition plan. I wonder what we’ll decide to do.
  • I wish things weren’t so hard with my friend right now. My heart is really sad. 
  • It feels like Jesus has turned me out on my own. I miss what we used to share.
  • I need to see my doctor this month. I hope it’s not too late to make an appointment. 
  • That reminds me: I need to refill my prescriptions. 
  • I hope it wasn’t a mistake to schedule my haircut for the morning hours next week.
  • What are we having for dinner again tonight? 

Thoughts can churn through our minds like wildfire, leaving a burned trail of debris as they go — all of which affect our disposition and outlook, often without our notice.

Anxiety. Worry. Sadness and grief. Self-criticism. Hyper-drive.

All of these affectations settled on me this morning as my thoughts churned from one thing to the next and I moved through the motions of the day. I was barely aware of the need to stop and notice their effect on me until I walked to the kitchen like a bit of a zombie to refill my coffee and Kirk asked how I was doing.

He could tell something was up, but all I could do was shrug. “A lot on my mind,” I said. “I’ll be okay.” 

I didn’t have to be okay, though. Kirk reminded me of the value of paying attention when he offered to hear what I was holding. And after hearing it, he offered to pray with me.

What we notice in ourselves — our worries, sadnesses, anger, preoccupations, and even delirious joys — can be wide-open gateways to notice and find God. When we notice what’s going on, we can bring it to prayer and ask God to be in it with us. To teach us in it. To hold us in it. To help us know where to go with it.

What do you notice about yourself today? Can you bring that to God in prayer?

Finding God in the Daily :: The All-Pervasive God


Just an ordinary moment.

To begin an exploration of finding God in the daily, I keep bumping up against the truth of an all-pervasive God. 

I keep thinking of the great, grand scope of God: the one creating cosmos and holding them together, but also, at one and the same time, having his eye on the sparrow and an always-current count of the hairs upon our heads.

God is in the grand moments, to be sure. He’s at monasteries with the praying, watchful monks. He’s in the grandeur of mountains and vistas and oceans. He’s in the unmistakable call to remarkable work that defines or uproots history.

But finding God in the daily?

It asks us: Do we believe he is in the lone, pink flower no one ever sees? Do we believe he can be found in a baby’s laugh and cry? Do we think he’s found in the pages of our planners? 

Do we really believe God pervades every minute moment in life? Is he truly an all-pervasive God?

When we set out to find God in the daily, we’re confronted with these questions.

It reminds me of something I learned early in my training as a spiritual director — that nothing brought to spiritual direction is ever too mundane, for God can be found in all of it.

An argument with a friend? A set of lost keys that led to a missed appointment? An advertisement on TV that keeps lingering for reasons we don’t know? The dailiness of life introduces a never-ending string of invitations to notice God noticing us.

Do you believe this?

Finding God in the Daily :: An Introduction

I married a geek like me.

Hi there, friends.

It feels so good to be turning a corner and committing this space to ongoing series on topics we collectively care about.

It feels like a chance to enter places we’ve always seen and meant to visit but just couldn’t find the time. Even better than that, it feels like being given a personal invitation to visit those places, having our schedules cleared so we’re able to finally say yes, and being led by a tour guide to all the best highlights inside those places, with them telling us about each highlight and then giving us a chance to reflect and respond.

That’s my heart for the ongoing series in this space. 

First up, we’re going straight for the practical by exploring “finding God in the daily.”

Some of the questions raised inside this topic are:

  • How do we actually do this?
  • How do we cultivate a healthy spiritual life when schedules and silence are scarce? 
  • Where is God in the laundry and the dishes, in relationships and work, in stress and overwhelm?

Do you struggle to find God in daily life? What questions would you add to this list?