Recently, I sent out an email to a ministry leader with our ministry’s self-inventory tool attached. I had encouraged him to read through it and reflect on his current health. He wrote back a message that basically said, “Um. That’s long. Where do I even start?” He’s right. Pondering our overall state of health can be overwhelming. Our health self-inventory reflection document is two pages long. It encompasses questions to contemplate in multiple health areas: spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, vocational, and relational. Often, we are unaware of the need to be self-aware or the journey towards health is burdensome, so we choose to ignore health all together and remain on auto pilot.
Our health self-inventory tool begins with this question: Are you paying attention? Here’s where I’d start: Am I paying attention? Be still and listen. In a quiet space, sit in silence and solitude and just be with Jesus paying attention. Ask the Spirit to help you answer this question through contemplative prayer. Move through each area as you feel led or hover in one area that seems to come more and more into focus.
When I sat still in this exercise recently, my heart and mind hovered around spiritual health. It was revealed that my perspective has been angry and clouded towards God’s church and his people over our divisiveness. My lenses of how I had been seeing his people seemed hopeless. I began praying through tears to give me hope and a renewed perspective. Eventually, this prayer is what came out from my time with Jesus:
I’m angry. I’m overwhelmed. I see so much division, dissension, darkness, corruption, pain, injustice, misunderstanding, people devalued, and it’s all so heavy. Where’s the sunshine, Lord? It seems there’s just rain. Keep me steeped in you, oh Lord. May I bear your name. May I be a lighthouse for you. I need your hope. Immersed in tears of grief, I will choose to see the joy in your victory. Bring your healing; bring your change. You are who you say you are. You are doing what you said you will do. You are making all things new. You are reconciling all things to you. Again, immersed in tears of grief, I will choose to see the joy in your victory. Give me eyes to see. Give me strength to carry the tension of the brokenness of today with your joy. Give me hope.
In your Name,
By paying attention, it was revealed I had been in a fog blurring my vision. My inner state of anger was spilling out into my actions, and I was getting stuck in hopelessness. Pausing to be with Jesus in a tender way has given me a renewed lens. I can choose to see the joy in Christ’s victory, even immersed in tears of grief. My hope is in trusting.
Do you have the courage to pay attention?
Jen Binford, Coach