Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Know Your Why

Recently I participated in a webinar for some continuing education credit. For several weeks, the notes I took have been sitting on my desk where I see them daily. At the top of my notes is the sentence: Know Your Why. The placement of the notes in my field of vision and the fact that sentence was the first thing I wrote is not the result of any intentionality on my part, but having that sentence greet me each morning has been a good reminder to me to use my time well.

 Know your why. How often do you find yourself on autopilot, on a hamster wheel of activity, without any awareness of your why? To pause and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” first requires that we pause. Yet pausing is not something many of us find easy to do.

 Years ago, when my children were actually children, we had a hamster. Harry the hamster was not terribly bright (though when he escaped from his cage, he was a master at eluding capture). He gave us much evidence that processing was not something his brain did very well. One way he showed us his brain capacity was that when he ran on his hamster wheel, he stuck his head out of the wheel, which meant that every half-revolution, he got bonked by the bar that ran the diameter of the wheel connecting it to the wheel’s spoke. He never learned. He never figured out to keep his head in the wheel.

 I think many of us are guilty of the same level of thinking. We just keep moving, keep running, without any thought to whether what we are doing addresses our reason for being in the world. We run, getting burned out, emotionally bonked on the head, without considering that we can change our behavior.

 It is important that we know our why. Knowing our why enables us to live balanced lives, lives in which we are awake and aware, lives in what we do fills us with energy, health, and joy rather than making us irritable, ill, and exhausted.

 One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 1. It speaks to knowing your why. Let me share the first 3 verses with you:

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

 When we don’t get caught up in the fray, when we don’t simply run on life’s hamster wheel, we are less likely to follow the crowd. Instead, we root ourselves in our why, and bear fruit. We live lives of meaning and direction. We know our why.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Toward Purity of Heart: Spiritual Direction

This is the final post in my series on practices that have moved me closer toward purity of heart. As a spiritual director myself, I am grateful for the practice.