Pieces of Formation: Your Family Unit at Birth

Framed by life.

What sort of family were you born into? 

Some of us were born into happy, healthy, and whole families — a mother and father who loved each other, loved us, and eagerly awaited our arrival.

Others of us were born into families less complete than that — a father nowhere to be found, chaotic living conditions, erratic employment, worries of how to survive. Into these conditions, we came. Our arrival may have compounded the difficulties our families faced. We may have been unwanted.

Still others of us were born into situations falling somewhere in between. Our parents were together, but they struggled. Money was tight, but they did the best they could. The list of worries was long, but they clung to God’s promises as they knew how. We were a “surprise” pregnancy, but we were loved.

What were the conditions of your family unit at birth? How did those conditions form the person you became?

Pieces of Formation: An Introduction

Life was here.

I mentioned in a previous post that when I couldn’t sleep one night, I listened to the first few chapters of an audio version of Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward. I haven’t finished listening to the whole book yet, but an idea he presents early on has been sticking with me. And I’ve found that it makes for a great series topic for us to explore together here.

The idea Rohr presents centers on the concept of a container — namely, the container each one of us forms to make sense of life, our identity, and our interaction with the world. Rohr says the first half of life centers on building the container, while the second half of life concerns discovering what the container is meant to hold.

Basically, this has to do with formation. 

Or at least, that’s what it got me thinking about. 

The work of formation happens in two major phases.

First, it happens unconsciously. We take in data and experiences from the world, and based on that information, we become certain people over the course of our lives, beginning at our youngest age. We make decisions and agreements with ourselves — again, mostly unconciously, though sometimes consciously — about who we will be and how we will interact with the world and what we ultimately believe about it, ourselves, and other people and their relation to us. 

The second phase of formation is intentional. It’s a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction — of looking at the first phase and evaluating it, analyzing it, learning from it, and making decisions for how we want to move forward. 

Not everyone gets to this second intentional phase of formation.

They may be unaware the opportunity is available for them to live more intentional, examined lives. They may be disinterested in that opportunity. They may be flat-out scared. 

But those who choose to step into the second phase find it immensely rewarding. It isn’t easy, of course. Rewarding doesn’t necessarily mean fun. It’s hard work. It’s a long road. It can, indeed, be scary at times. Sometimes it feels, just like the title of Rohr’s book suggests, that we are falling upward with no sense of the ground’s true place anymore. We may discover that the ground is what we once thought the ceiling.

And inside this second major phase of formation, there are many smaller stages by which to move through it.

Despite the difficulty and courage such a journey requires, most who strike out on its path find it to be a rich and rewarding journey — and couldn’t imagine living any other way. Through this process, our lives become our own. We connect with our concept of God and our concept of self and how we fit into the mix. We discover what has been influencing us without our knowledge, and then can consciously pick up or put down those pieces once we’ve examined them.

As Rohr says, we discover who we are and are meant to be, and we live forward with that knowledge. Our lives become intentional.

And so, I’d like to take you through some of that second-phase journey here.

Each day of this series, we’ll look at the different pieces of our formation, a bit like we’re picking up rocks and turning them over in our hands, seeing the colors and shapes and textures. What have been our experiences of life? How have they formed who we’ve become? What do we make of that formation? What questions do we have?

Will you join us for this interior exploration? I hope you will.

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Tiny Joys

Precious little paws. I just want to nom-nom on them.

What are the tiny joys you love about life? What gives your life its rich and tasty flavor? 

My tiny joys this morning are:

  • Diva’s dainty paws and their little pink pads
  • The way Solomon rolls around on Kirk’s shoes
  • The jokes Kirk and I share and how I don’t even remember where some of them came from
  • Brisk autumn air to greet me when I step out the front door
  • The smell of coffee

What are your tiny joys today?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Family


My sister’s silly dog.

I found out on Friday evening that my mom is coming to visit us for the Christmas holiday. She’ll fly in on Christmas day and stay until New Year’s Day. 

This is such a treat! My family lives 3000 miles away, in California, and we usually try to visit them for at least one of the major holidays each year. But this year, we’re seeking to deepen our sense of home here in Florida for the holidays, and so we won’t be traveling. It’s such a gift to receive a visit from my mom in a year that we thought we’d be missing them. 

When it comes to family, I’m thankful for: 

  • All the different personalities
  • The laughter
  • Jokes that last 20+ years
  • The shared terrain of history
  • Common experiences of home
  • Love that endures

How are you thankful for family?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Growth

Crawling the wall.

Last night, when I was awake in bed for a couple hours and couldn’t sleep, I listened to the first couple chapters of Richard Rohr’s latest book, Falling Upward, on audio. 

The book is very, very good. Its central premise is that the tools we use to build the first half of our lives are not the tools that will work in its second half.

This got me thinking about growth.

To me, our capacity to grow is one of the most interesting things God built into the created order. And so today, I thought we could reflect on the ways we’ve grown over the course of our lives and how that growth causes us to give thanks. 

When it comes to the growth I’ve experienced in my life, I give thanks for the following: 

  • I’m thankful for the ways my family upbringing shaped the listener and peacemaker in me.
  • I’m thankful for the difficult experiences I sustained in grade school that later shaped my connection to Jesus. 
  • I’m thankful for the way pain in my life has made me a more sensitive being.
  • I’m thankful for a solid foundation of faith that paved the way for its deepening when I became a young adult.
  • I’m thankful God brought me to the end of myself when I was 19, even though it terrified me.
  • I’m thankful Jesus sat with me in the dark for two years, growing my trust in his patience and faithfulness toward me.
  • I’m thankful God has opened the doors of my heart to greater honesty and tenderness.
  • I’m thankful for the way my divorce experience helped me learn to receive grace.
  • I’m thankful I’ve become a person accustomed to taking risks. 
  • I’m thankful for the relationships in my life that have helped me settle into an identity of being loved.
  • I’m thankful for the stripping seasons in my life the grace God has given me to say yes to them.
  • I’m thankful for the ways God has given me a greater and greater heart of love.

When you look at the growth in your own life, what makes you thankful?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Challenges


Diva faces her own challenge.

A reader reminded me yesterday that not all things to give thanks for are easy. Some may be difficult or painful.

But perhaps they help up grow. Or in some mysterious way work out for the best in ways we couldn’t have foreseen. Or are what’s required to get us from point A to point B. 

The apostle Paul encourages us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18), and so today, let’s reflect on our thanks for the circumstances that are hard: life’s challenges. 

When it comes to challenges I’ve faced or am currently facing: 

  • I’m thankful for the way challenges help me think more creatively, seeking out solutions or responses I’d not yet considered.
  • I’m thankful for the way challenges connect me in relationships, as I seek out the wisdom and discernment of others. 
  • I’m thankful for the way challenges bring me, eventually, to a point of surrender with God, praying, “Thy will be done.”
  • I’m thankful for the way challenges help me examine myself and my own part to play in making or breaking a situation.
  • I’m thankful for the way challenges—the kind beyond my control—deepen my dependence on God.
  • I’m thankful for the way challenges have made me stronger and ultimately refined me.

In what ways can you give thanks for the challenges you’ve faced, or are facing, in life?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Work

My work. Right now.

It’s Monday, and for many of us that means a return to the working world. 

Work isn’t the most shiny, glittery part of life to give thanks for. If you’re unemployed and looking for work during these hard economic times, it’s hard to give thanks for something you don’t have. If you’re employed and don’t love your job, it’s easy to let unhappiness and cynicism have its sway.

Perhaps because work is so difficult for so many, that’s just why we ought to stop and notice the bright spots in it.

When it comes to work …

  • I’m thankful for work that utilizes my skills and talents, as well as my mind.
  • I’m thankful for the relationships I’ve built through the work I do.
  • I’m thankful for the chance to work on the editorial staff of a magazine I’ve been reading for the better part of a decade and is fun and current and smart and thoughtful. 
  • I’m thankful for professional relationships built in the last 10+ years that keep my editorial freelance career moving forward and provide a variety of interesting projects and books to edit.
  • I’m thankful for my life’s work, which allows me to write regularly and connect with people all over the world in the journeys of their lives with God. 
  • I’m thankful for a schedule that’s flexible to allow for all the different kinds of work I do.
  • I’m thankful for work that pays the bills. 
  • I’m thankful for work that doesn’t pay at all. 
  • I’m thankful for the chance to feel alive with contribution and meaning through the work I do.

When it comes to work, how do you give thanks?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Evening

Cozy view.

Yesterday we reflected on the morning hours. Today, let’s reflect on the evening. 

When it comes to the evening hours, I am thankful for: 

  • A home that feels safe
  • The routine of turning on the lamps in our main rooms, since it’s growing dark outside
  • The ritual of preparing dinner with all of its colors and smells — chopping cilantro, slicing red bell peppers, browning onion, pressing garlic
  • How the ritual of preparing dinner connects me to my love for Kirk and a sense of contribution in our home
  • The way Diva and Solomon show up, expectantly, when we walk in the front door
  • The way we go hunting for them when they aren’t waiting for us at the front door, and then we find them lounging on the couch or snuggled together on the bed
  • The hug Kirk and I give each other once we’re both home from work
  • Conversations on the couch or over dinner about the events of our days
  • A chance to decompress from the day with a bit of “introvert time,” which we both need and freely give each other
  • The times when the kitties pile on the bed with us at the very end of the day and we play and make each other laugh
  • The calming effect that scrolling through my Instagram feed has on me before going to sleep
  • The routine of listening to the Pray as You Go podcast with Kirk at the end of each day

What about the evening hours makes you thankful?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Morning

Morning, with a curly tail.

I am most certainly not a morning person, but there are aspects of the morning hours that I love. 

When it comes to each day’s morning, I am thankful for:

  • Our faithful routine of making coffee for each other
  • The quiet sounds of the neighborhood waking up (when I’m awake early enough to notice)
  • Time at my desk to read, pray, think, and write
  • Diva’s company, whether she’s prowling at my feet for affection, jumping onto the desk to sit sentry, or maneuvering onto my lap for warmth and cuddles
  • A home I enjoy waking up in
  • The light streaming through our stained-glass windows in the bedroom
  • Kirk’s routine of getting ready and how he always kisses me goodbye
  • The warmth of blankets
  • A peaceful, beautiful view outside my window
  • The chance to reconnect with the world through Facebook, Twitter, and email

What about the morning hours makes you thankful?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Democracy

God's light.

In the campaign season of the 2008 election, I remember being struck at a soul-deep level for the very first time at the wonder of democracy. 

I realized that it gave me the dignity of my own opinion. I could choose to support a candidate, and my neighbor could choose to support a different one. Neither of our voting preferences negated the value of the other’s.

I could vote for a candidate, and I could retain my preference for them even if they lost. Their loss didn’t mean I was wrong for choosing to support their agenda. It didn’t mean I had to change my view. It meant I got to have an opinion, and I got to participate in civil society by voting my voice, even if the majority decided on a different preference than the one I held.

As someone who is a peacemaker at heart, I am thankful for the way democratic societies give each person the dignity of their personal perspective and the voice of their own vote. I struggle with American patriotism a lot (that’s a different story for a different day), but the accordance of dignity to each person for their voice and perspective and experience is an ideal I will always uphold.

How are you thankful for democracy today?

A (Near) Month of Thanks: Freedom

I love this bench.

It’s voting day in the U.S. today. (It’s surely been a long time coming!)

Kirk and I voted early on Sunday, and as we walked toward our polling place to stand in line, I thought about the gift that it is to have the voice of a vote. I thought about the places in the world where elections are fixed or votes are suppressed — or where there’s no citizen voice involved in governance at all. 

So, for today’s gratitude theme, it seemed only fitting to consider freedom

  • I’m thankful for the freedom to vote.
  • I’m thankful for the freedom to vote differently than my neighbor.
  • I’m thankful for the freedom to think and ask questions.
  • I’m thankful for the freedom to formulate ideals.
  • I’m thankful for the freedom to live a lifestyle based upon my convictions.
  • I’m thankful for the freedom to worship.
  • I’m thankful for the freedom to love.
  • I’m thankful for the freedom from anxiety, fear, and judgment I find in Jesus.

What about freedom makes you thankful?

Closing Thoughts on Prayer

Reaching for the sun.

Hi, friends. 

I’ve so enjoyed writing this series on prayer for you.

I’ve loved receiving emails from many of you over the last 5 weeks who said you’ve been encouraged to learn all the various forms that prayer can take. Some of you shared your faith has felt validated by this series. Some of you have shared surprise at some of the entries, asking, “Can it really be?” Others of you have shared that you felt relieved, also asking, “Can it really be?” 

This series could continue on indefinitely, if we really wanted it to. I have a list in my planner that includes even more forms that prayer can be, including:

  • Dance
  • Study
  • Lectio divina
  • Cleaning the house
  • … and more.

I think what’s important to notice here is that prayer is life. 

When the apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonian church and encouraged them to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), I don’t believe he had in mind for them to kneel at their bedsides, brows furrowed, talking in concentrated verbal prayer every moment of the day to God.

I believe he intended them to learn to experience all of life as prayer.

To find connection with God in all we do. To discover the truth of our hearts in our activities. To offer those revelations to God. To consider the ways God might be speaking and inviting us to notice our hearts and his voice throughout our days. 

I’ll see you here on Monday with a new series to share. 

Much love,


Prayer Can Be ... Gratitude

My beautiful girl.

One of the components of my life for which I feel great gratitude.

On Sunday, I was in two gatherings at church where the concept of gratitude entered in.

The first was a gathering to learn about the healing work of God, led by an older Australian gentleman who has given his life to the ministry of healing in the church. He shared that gratitude is important to healing in the sense that if we don’t recognize what God has already done in our life (gratitude), it makes it harder to be open to what he can do (healing). 

Later in the day, our assistant rector spoke along similar lines at the contemplative eucharist service. He said that gratitude creates an opening in us for God. It helps us see, and then we have a greater capacity to see more. 

I know some people who keep a daily gratitude journal, just looking out upon their lives and writing in that journal each day the things for which they have to give thanks.

For myself, I find that practicing the review of the day increases gratitude in my life in a very natural way and in significant measure. When I begin to see on a regular basis that God is present and working in my life in so many ways that I might not have seen in the moment they happened, that increases my posture of gratitude toward God and toward life. 

How might gratitude become a form of prayer for you?

Prayer Can Be ... A Review of the Day

Time will tell.

I’ve written on two different occasions about something called the prayer of examen. It’s a simple, daily practice of taking 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to review the events of the day and look for evidences of God.

Sometimes we’re aware of God’s presence with us in the day, and sometimes we’re not. The prayer of examen, or review of the day, gives us a chance to acknowledge God and to find God in places previously unseen. 

When I practice a review of the day, a wide variety of moments can be called to mind:

  • Being saved from a potential car crash
  • The chance to participate in the eucharist at church
  • A text from a friend or loved one
  • An email that deeply touched me
  • That moment at the end of the day when all four of us — Kirk, me, Solomon, and Diva — pile on the bed to snuggle and make each other laugh
  • Remembering to pay a bill coming due
  • The chance to sit in quiet on my couch for a half hour, just reading and praying
  • Beautiful weather

These are evidences of God’s goodness toward me. Ways God provided for soul and body. Ways I was opened to love and grace. 

It is a chance to notice and give thanks.

Could a review of the day be helpful to you?

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 :: 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 :: 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?