In our busy lives, it’s easy to just keep moving on to the next thing and not really think about how God is working in our lives. We might be thinking about the meetings scheduled for the next day, an upcoming doctor’s appointment, or an important conversation we need to have with someone.
For some time, I’ve tried to make it a practice of briefly reflecting on my day when I lay my head on my pillow at night – thanking God for the day. However, learning about a spiritual discipline called self-examination in a summer discipleship class my wife and I completed has allowed me to expand on my brief reflection of the day. As I apply self-examination to my life I look back at my day and focus on two things:
- How God protected me (or others) through the day
- How I sinned, and need repentance and forgiveness
Here are just a few examples from the past few weeks:
- How God protected me and others through the day. I have two examples here. First, after a recent family gathering to celebrate a birthday, I had gotten into the back seat of the car, forgetting that I needed to open the front door for my mother-in-law. Remembering this, I quickly opened the door and just narrowly missed hitting her – she walks with a cane. If the door had hit her, she would have fallen and could have been badly hurt.
Second, at a dangerous intersection near our home I pulled out to get a look around the corner at the edge of the corn field for oncoming traffic so that I could turn left. In doing so, I had pulled out too far and gone out into the intersection a bit. I didn’t see a car coming from the other direction turning right in front of me at full speed. We were very nearly in a collision.
As I reflected back on these incidents, I thought how God had protected me, my mother-in-law and my wife, and was very thankful.
- How I sinned, and needed repentance and forgiveness. My wife and I recently played a golf course that I estimate I’ve played about a thousand times in my life, but hadn’t played in several years. I was really looking forward to playing the course, and had hit the ball well on the practice range the day before. Unfortunately, I played poorly that day, but it was over the course of just two holes on the back nine that my sanctification took a hit. After a few particularly bad shots, I found myself showing bursts of anger that I hadn’t demonstrated for years, and was embarrassed and ashamed. As I reflected on my outburst on the golf course later that day, I felt defeated, but then went to the Lord asking for forgiveness.
These are just a few examples of this new (for me) spiritual discipline of self-examination – looking back on my day to see how God worked in my life. How do you reflect on your day to see God at work in it?