I had a request to post this article from my May newsletter on my website so it can be shared on face book – so here it is. Hope you enjoy it. Next month – Discerning God’s Will Using Everyday Spirituality. Sign up in the box on the right.
What does it mean to have an everyday spirituality? Perhaps Ignatius Loyola, writing in the mid 1500’s, sums it up best when he stressed finding God in all things, in the everyday relationships and occurrences that make up our lives. An everyday spirituality is not restricted to clergy or vowed religious, but is ours for the taking. It recognizes God’s presence in all our trials, our joys, our boredom, and even our mundane moments of washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking meals, mowing the lawn, pushing papers, crunching numbers.
Then why is it so hard for us to realize this? The noise of everyday life tends to drown out the sound of God’s presence. I also think that the farther we are from God’s creation in nature, the more unaware we are of God’s presence. For me, all of nature cries out that our God is present and working in the world. You only need look at the intricacies of a leaf or the beauty of spring flowers to recognize the hand of the great Artist. If you are working in a cubicle, perhaps you can get outside on your lunch break or incorporate pictures from nature in your workspace.
God is also present in the people around you. This can be a harder place to find God, especially if you work in a toxic environment. It can be hard to see God in the co-worker who burps, sneezes or farts, and has that annoying habit or intrudes on your space when you are trying to get your work done. Still God is present there as well. You just have to work harder to recognize God.
Try to give them the benefit of the doubt, think kindly of them rather than assume the worst, as Ignatius tells us. Pray for them and pray for yourself to be able to see God even in this person. Remember we all have annoying habits that may bother those around us. The golden rule tells us to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. If you want others to be tolerant of you, you need to be willing to be tolerant of them.
Ignatius and his followers after him encourage us to do a daily examen each night in order to look at where God was present that day as well as where we may have messed up. It’s a good habit to develop but doesn’t have to be restricted to evenings. We can stop at any point in our day in order to recognize God’s presence and to pray for help to see God in people and places where we can’t, when it seems no good can come from a particular situation or person.
As we do this, it will become easier to recognize God’s presence in every situation in our life. We will develop an everyday spirituality..
Do you find it hard to find God in your life? What might be blocking you? What do you do to help you recognize God each day? I would love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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