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How we spend our time can reveal what’s really important, not what we say is important. I’m referring to discretionary time, not time that’s committed to a job or studies. When we have “free” time, how do we spend it?
Smartphones can give a weekly report on how much time someone spends on which apps. Amazing! It used to be if we wanted to find out how much time was being spent on which priorities, we would set up a time sheet and record our activities every half hour of the workday. Now it’s all electronically recorded!
When discerning a call from God about what to do with our lives, this kind of electronic report might come in handy! We’d be able to see for ourselves how much time, especially quality time, we’re spending listening to God or listening to those important others in our lives who convey God’s message for our lives. Tuning in requires that we make time available to give our full our attention to what’s important. A good question to ask ourselves periodically is, “How am I spending my time, my life energy?”
May each of us have the grace to tune in to what’s really important,
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Cómo pasamos nuestro tiempo puede revelar lo que es realmente importante, no lo que decimos que es importante. Me refiero al tiempo discrecional, no al tiempo comprometido con un trabajo o estudios. Cuando tenemos tiempo “libre”, ¿cómo lo pasamos?
Los teléfonos inteligentes pueden brindar un informe semanal sobre cuánto tiempo dedica alguien a qué aplicaciones. ¡Increíble! Antes, si queríamos saber cuánto tiempo se gastaba en qué prioridades, estableceríamos una hoja de tiempo y registraríamos nuestras actividades cada media hora del dia laboral. ¡Ahora todo está grabado electrónicamente!
Al discernir un llamado de Dios sobre qué hacer con nuestras vidas, ¡este tipo de informe electrónico podría ser útil! Podríamos ver por nosotros mismos cuánto tiempo, especialmente tiempo de calidad, pasamos escuchando a Dios o escuchando a otras personas importantes en nuestras vidas que transmiten el mensaje de Dios para nuestras vidas. La sintonización requiere que hagamos tiempo disponible para prestar toda nuestra atención a lo que es importante. Una buena pregunta que nos podemos hacer periódicamente es: "¿Cómo paso mi tiempo, mi energía vital?"
Que cada uno de nosotros tengamos la gracia de sintonizarnos a lo que es realmente importante,
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I can still remember my mother saying, “Don’t touch that burner. It’s hot.” As a seven-year old did I believe her? No, I didn’t. I wanted to see for myself what she meant by “hot” and was it really all that hot? I found out all right and burned my index finger in the process.
When we’re trying to figure out where we’re being called in life, we sometimes approach the search like a hot burner. Thinking it will be simple we ask ourselves, “So what am I supposed to do with my life?” Then, not getting a clear or immediate answer we quickly back away from the question. We discover it’s not as easy as we thought it would be and might take more effort from us than we had planned.
While not trying to minimize the importance of questions and searching, patience is a good quality to call on in these moments. Besides patience, taking time for quiet or long walks, praying or journaling helps. Talking with a good friend or spiritual director who can help us listen for and see patterns in our questions and thoughts can be our guides to finding the path that matches our heart’s desire, our skills, our opportunities... and God’s call.
It is worth staying with the “work” of it,
For more encouragement, check this out.
This past Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) lured me into thinking about being deaf to certain sounds, select voices and deeper versus higher-pitched tones. Granted the person Jesus met in the Gospel story was physically deaf, but many of us practice a kind of deafness in our everyday lives. Some people name it “selective hearing,” i.e. hearing certain things and being deaf to others.
Moms and dads apply selective hearing when they are tuned in to the slightest noises coming from a newborn baby sleeping in another room or when they catch the sound of coughing from a sick child during the night. Students often hear what they need to do to pass a test and don’t hear what to do for homework that night. In the busy-ness of everyday lives and with all the noise of the world around us, we almost have to have selective hearing in order to survive in it.
The same listening qualities that alert parents to possible danger for their children are true for our selective hearing when it comes to hearing God’s voice. You might rightly say, “God’s voice isn’t a human voice one would hear in a normal way.” That’s true. God’s “voice” makes a unique “sound,” an echo that resonates in our hearts, is heard by our inner ears, if you will. This is why our listening and paying close attention is so key. May we quiet ourselves enough today to hear God’s voice within us. May we allow its message to move us.
Blessings as we listen,
Would you agree with the following statement: the only person in the world who has the power to insult you is you and no one else? When another person levels harsh criticism at you, certain negative thoughts begin to flood your consciousness. Perhaps you exaggerate the importance of what is being said or jump to the conclusion that the criticism is valid and accurate. You may see this single negative event as part of a recurring pattern of defeat. “I always mess up! I’m a complete failure! I can never correct this mistake! Everybody hates me! This criticism shows that I am worthless!” Your emotional reaction will be produced by this bombardment of negative thoughts and not by what the other person says.
In his book Feeling Good, cognitive therapist David Burns gives some helpful advice. He suggests that one important way to conquer the fear of criticism involves your own thought processes: Learn to identify and analyze the negative and irrational thoughts you have in reaction to being criticized.* These distorted thoughts can create negative and hurtful emotions. Upon reflection determine whether the criticism is right or wrong. If it is wrong, then there is no reason to feel upset. It was the other person’s mistake to criticize you unfairly. With a spirit of compassion, let it go. No one is perfect. On the other hand, if the criticism is right, still there is no reason for alarm. Humbly acknowledge the mistake and do what you need to do to make amends. With a spirit of self-compassion, gently forgive yourself recognizing that you do not need to be perfect. If you have healthy self-esteem, it is easier to hear and to respond to criticism. You do not require the approval of others to be full of love and at peace.
Take time to reflect on how you handle criticism from others. Do you fear criticism? Do you recognize how your own distorted thinking can create negative and hurtful feelings? Can you grow and learn from criticism in becoming your authentic self?
*See David D. Burn, M.D. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, (New York: HarperCollins), 131-148.
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!