Where Was Who?!
Have you ever received life-changing advice? This happened to me several years ago. The road leading from this advice has brought me to the creation of this blog. Here’s my story.
Paul Patterson, the pastor of my small house church Watershed, has been an invaluable guide to myself and many others. He had always noticed in me a certain habit of seeing the worst in situations and especially in myself, and so the advice he gave me years ago contained a certain confrontation. “You are getting so good at this habit of emotional thinking. Why don’t you try something new – instead of the automatic catastrophic way of thinking, why not ask yourself, “Where was God in your day?”
The advice woke me up. Had I heard it in my 20’s or 30’s, I would likely have ignored it, but sometimes in our 40’s, we start to get sick enough of our old habits that we become open to something else. Having grown up in church and church school, you’d think this wouldn’t be a new question for me! But I’m afraid it was. My world had seemed to shrink to one word – ME. I was mostly an angry and depressed person by then, and I was in need of healing.
The advice reminded me of an old Bible verse from the New Testament.
Phil. 4:8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Around the same time, another good friend of mine told me that Paul’s advice had reminded him of something he’d heard – that when scientists are aiming a rocket ship at its eventual destination of the moon, even the smallest shift of the compass can make the difference of an accurate landing. And so it was that I began to shift my thinking, letting my mind and heart dwell instead on this question, not where did I screw up today? Not, why am I not doing as well as so-and-so? Instead, I shifted the compass to “Where was God in my day?”
Every spring, I go out to a local pond to look for frog eggs to take back to my classroom so we can all watch the metamorphosis from tadpole to frog. Spotting the egg masses floating amid the twigs and spring debris is almost impossible at first. But, once you’ve developed an eye for the camouflaged eggs, suddenly they are everywhere! Starting to look for God in my day has been something like that. The evidence of God is everywhere, once an eye of trustful seeing has developed.
I’m certainly not always good at it, and ofttimes I fear I’ve lost the capacity altogether. I am often still so mired in my old habits that I find myself miserable, back on God’s doorstep, pounding at the door asking to see where God is. My experience has been that whenever I’ve asked, I’ve never yet been let down. It’s a way of being convinced that can’t be written about in scientific textbooks. I could never convince a skeptic. I just know that for me, I’ve received so many examples that I’ve lost track. The evidence is that my once turbulent heart has received peace over and over again.
A friend at work started a blog this year about her vocation of being a mother. Her reflective entries have been enjoyable to read, and it wasn’t long before I began to think that I’d like to write a blog. But, what would it be about? That’s when this question came to me. No sooner had I uttered my idea to my dear friend Bev, than I started to hear encouragement to do it.
And so, there you have it. Maybe you are someone who also has this desire to see God. Maybe you’re someone who is more on the skeptical end of the spectrum. No matter, I invite you to join and if anything rings true for you, please join me and offer stories of your own, evidence of that great question Paul gave me years ago, the question that is changing my life, one compass degree at a time. Who knows, one of these years, my old habits will become healed altogether and my metamorphosis will be complete.