My phone usually sits across the bedroom from me while I sleep. These days, I often keep it in another room other than our bedroom at night, at my wife’s request. But I can’t only blame her for the forced device dismissal from our sacred space. My wife is spiritually smarter than I am; she knows the stealing power that lives in that small, innocent device.
Photo credit: Jonas Lee via Unsplash
I might lean toward believing all that hooey about the health risks of mobile phones – you know, those murky reports about phones emitting a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation that can be absorbed by body tissues located near the phone? You know, that nonsense.
Dark skies are the perfect canvas for one of the most powerful meteorological phenomena we know – lightning. And the majesty of lightning occurs when something unseen, but no less powerful, is at work behind the scenes. The same is true in worship.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles.
Psalm 97:2-4 (NIV)
We’ve all seen it in a dark, stormy sky, and no matter how many times it makes an appearance, every one of us is filled with some degree of amazement. It’s a creative flash never appearing the same way twice, a discharge of potent electrical force. And it can crack a tree, strike fire to a building, or simply appear like Grace, as a spectacle for the dazzled eye.
It is lightning, and lighting is the result of something unseen happening that leads to its appearance. A meteorological phenomena happens when two masses of air, of different densities and temperatures, come crashing into one another. The result is a sign, a wonder, a physical glimpse of what is going on in the atmosphere.
Add 10 years to your life. How old will you be? Now, look at your current habits in one area of life that is continually not working out how you want it to. Multiply your current habits in that area times 10 years. Do you like what you see?
If you don’t like what you see, today is the day to – literally – kill the habits that are dragging you down.
Killing A Habit – The Example Of Health
I’ll start with an example. I’ve been wrestling with weight loss for some time now, and a trajectory in my family line toward diabetes, heart-disease, and other issues that rise and fall on daily eating and exercise choices.
I’ve tried and failed in many ways, and the truth is, most of what I do is half-hearted.
So let’s call any habit this is not helping me arrive at who I want to be in 10 years “bad.”
Related to my health, I have some bad habits (and bad attitudes that keep them going). Ready for honesty?
The Enneagram is enjoying a resurgence of interest today. What is it about this ancient personality type system that is so helpful – and how could it serve you and those you love in the journey of self-awareness?
What’s In A Number?
The other evening my wife came to me and said, “I’m pretty sure you’re a 4. Maybe a 4 with a 5 wing. Yeah, probably. No, definitely. Definitely a 4 with a 5 wing.” At first, I wasn’t sure what psychedelic mushroom she had eaten to precipitate such mystical speech.
Every day, up to eight times a day, I silently perform a 1-3 minute spiritual ritual that is – quite literally – changing me. Now in my early 50s, I have decided it is the single most vital personal habit I have formed to date. According to my wife, I am becoming a different man.
photo courtesy of Anna Siran Wilt
Spiritually igniting, robust yet simple, the habit that is changing me is called the “Daily Examen.”
The Daily Examen is a daily prayer exercise that is integral to the Spiritual Exercises created by Ignatius of Loyola – the founder of the Jesuits (the current Pope Francis is a Jesuit).
The Daily Examen is just one example of Ignatian spirituality and, in particular, the Spiritual Exercises. The Examen is…
…A technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience” (www.ignatianspirituality.com).