I know…I know…its been a while. I didn’t think I’d ever miss blogging when I started – but it happened. For starters- my apologies to those that received that rogue email of my notes last time. Somehow I lost the draft I was working on…maybe I’ll rewrite it sometime.
Since we last interacted a ton has happened in our world. NBA championship, summer break, weddings, governmental decisions…life is happening around us – constantly. It does not slow down.
For me – its been an interesting two-month span. I’ve had ups, and I’ve had downs. Good, bad, and all in between – and I’m sure you’ve had the same. Am I reflecting enough? My college entrance application started with a famous Socrates quote:
The unexamined life is not worth living.
Smart guy, Socrates. But what comes after examining? I tried to do some examining recently of my own life (don’t worry, I won’t forcefully pour details on your eyes). I want to share what I learned with you, and remind you that 1thingisneeded.
About 1 month ago I took a 16-hour exam. 16 – that was not a typo. This was examining my knowledge base. What is worse than a standardized test? Nothing right? Nothing, until you take a 16-hour standardized test.
Total time: unbearably long. Dreadful. But, I’m not exactly the ‘fastest’ test taker, so with allotted time for daydreaming, each section felt like it was not long enough. Ugh – the irony was torture. On 1 side you think ‘when is this thing going to end’, and on the other you’re wishing for 5 more minutes to answer the last couple questions in that section.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16, NKJV)
I needed to ‘redeem the time’, or else the examination would end. If it ends without answering the questions correctly, I’d have no hope of passing. The pressure to succeed, plus the most draining sit-down session of my life, my mind would still find a way to wander. As it wandered, I’d have to actively ask it to come( )back. It was an action. A re-direction, so my mind would make a comeback. A struggle.
I want to draw your attention to the ( ) between the two words. This simple space, or lack of word, changes a noun to an imperative (a call to action). Sometimes, some silence can be the spark for a call to action. Particularly in our spiritual life.
The entire exam guys and gals, I was struggling with distraction. EVERYTHING crossed my mind: work, church, relationship, party, sport, travel, food. It’s hard to shut these thoughts out. It is not easy to get to silence – even if silence is where successful examination occurs. I had ear plugs in- it was silent. But our minds aren’t accustomed to the lack of noise. Silence is what we need though in our spiritual lives.
“Whatever hardship comes upon you, it can be overcome by silence.” (St Poemen – Desert Fathers)
So an ‘exam’ can be a test, and to ‘examine’ can be a time of reflection. Both need practice to succeed…practice is self-driven.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (2 Corinthians 13:5, NKJV)
I challenge you now while reading to find out your personal comeback. We all need to come( )back, so what is it that I can do to examine myself in the midst of such a distracting world? We need to find our home. We gotta find a way back. How can you tell your mind to come( )back? When and where in your day can you squeeze some self-examination? It gets easier – eventually it gets enjoyable, to where you look forward to examinations like King David:
Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;Try my mind and my heart.For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,And I have walked in Your truth. (Psalms 26:2-3, NKJV)
- an act of moving back or withdrawing.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup…For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:28 & 31, NKJV)
Let us search out and examine our ways,And turn back to the Lord;Let us lift our hearts and handsTo God in heaven. (Lamentations 3:40-41, NKJV)