I will start this blog post by telling you that I have re-written this intro paragraph 6 times now. This topic is VERY interesting to me, and I want it to be interesting to you too – so I am totally over-thinking my delivery.
Here’s what I want to talk about, Being Busy.
Although I am a daily culprit of this – I cannot stand it when my own response to “Hey! How’s it going? ” is “Good, Busy.”
I literally say it everyday. And EVERY TIME it comes out of my mouth I regret it.
EVERYONE IS BUSY. This is not a unique statement, and NO ONE CARES IF YOU ARE BUSY! What? Am I trying to validate what I do all day? Trying to convince the asker that I’m busier than they are? It’s such a gross thing to say – and I want to stop using it. Today. Right now.
So, what brought this so acutely to my attention?
In my job, I get to meet a lot of really great people. Lately, I’ve been working closely with the cats at Nexus – a community based church that meets at the Walper on Sunday mornings, for music, prayer and discussion. Their congregation has chosen to move from their larger affiliate church in the suburbs to downtown Kitchener, and they want to actively get involved in the Downtown Community. I think this is really amazing, and so, I’ve been meeting with a few of their leaders and community members to brainstorm ideas different ways for them to get involved.
I also attended this past Sunday’s service, and had a little Q&A with their Pastor, Brad Watson. I was there as a guest, and a listener to the service. Which started off with people grabbing coffees and Kevin Ramessar and Dave Thompson playing Mumford & Sons… so, that should give you an idea of the vibe in the room – kind of electric.
Here I’ll point out, that I am not a religious person – striving to be more spiritual, Yes… but not religious. I was raised in a Jewish household, and still participate in some of those traditions. I don’t consider myself tied to any religion, and I am not sure if I believe in God or a Higher Being… but I’m open to other people’s opinions on the subject.
On Sunday, Brad spoke on the broader concept of “Seeing God in the Everyday” but I was really intrigued by his thoughts on our society’s pace (breakneck, with no room for contemplation or reflection), what we value as being important (money, status) and what we strive for. There is such little value placed on meditation, reflection and quiet thoughtfulness – that it basically doesn’t exist in an average person’s life.
His sermon went on – but my brain wouldn’t stop cycling around the idea of how to bring more time for reflection into the average 20/30 something’s life. We’re caught up in our careers, our relationships, starting families, facebook, the excessive amount of media that is hurled in our directions every minute… that flashing red light on your smartphone… there’s pretty much something to keep us busy every minute, of every day, of every month. We think it will slow down next week, next month, over the holidays— but it will only slow down if we choose that, in our own habits.
In my own life, I thought it might be easier to take time to reflect if I had some type of prompt/reminder to take time out. I know… it’s ironic. But maybe if I can make a new habit – every night or morning ask myself 1 question that will invite reflection – I could add in more time for thinking.
So, I messaged Brad, what did he think were good thought-starters?
His response makes a lot of sense:
I think these practices are a lost art because of pragmatism, needing to always be efficient, always looking to make our time do more for us, but is it possible, we become less efficient in life by not taking the time for prayer and reflection? (by that I mean we can end up doing a whole lot and being busy, but being busy doing nothing of worth)
There are a number of practices we at Nexus participate in to help with this…they are called the ‘prayer of examen’ and ‘rule of life.’
For prayer of examen, it is an easy exercise. Ask yourself this before bed, “where did I see God in my life most today…when was I most aware of God’s presence, when was I most in line with God’s character?” And then, “where was I not?” Then simply acknowledge that the next day you are going to try to live more in the former than in the latter.
Now here’s where I think it gets really interesting….
For those who are unsure what they think of God, I recommend this instead, “where did I feel most alive today? What was the most meaningful thing I did today? What were the things I did today that seemed of real value?” And then, “what were the things that didn’t make me feel alive, meaningful or of any value?” Then acknowledge that you want to live more in the former than the later on the following day.
WOW. Can you imagine spending an hour, or even a few designated minutes, 20?, thinking about this at the end of every day!?!?! Imagine how much more evolved we could become as human beings! Imagine how much better we would treat each other, the planet, ourselves… if only we had to look back every day and think about what we did and why.
Alright. 30 day challenge starting today. Spend 20 minutes every night before bed thinking about the questions above.
I’ll report back on my findings.