Today is the eleventh day of our #formationFOUNDATIONS series. In case you're new here, you can read more about this series or start from the beginning at SacredOrdinaryDays.com/FF. Our goal for this series is to help you...
- LEARN about different spiritual practices that you can adopt for your own walk. You will learn how to make the most of your Sacred Ordinary Days planner or the FREE Essentials Workbook you got when you joined our newsletter list, which has all the most essential pages from the planner that we don't want anyone to miss out on.
- PRACTICE these things on a daily, weekly, seasonally and yearly schedule. You will be able to lay (or bolster up) a strong spiritual formation foundation by clearing the space for your new spiritual practices to deepen.
- SHARE your experience with people who speak the same language. You'll get to know the other members of our community, who are some of the wisest, most interesting, super fun, and most real people I know by following along on Instagram or Facebook or inside Common House, our ecumenical online community.
Day 11 | Doing a Weekly Examen
Today is the eleventh day of our #formationFOUNDATIONS series. This week we are focusing on weekly practices.
The examen is a centuries-old practice in the church that invites us to prayerfully reflect on our days in the presence of God. It is a practice in which we take the time to review our recent past to find God and God's blessings in life. We also look for those moments when things didn't go well. After doing this, we then turn to the time to come and ask God to show us the potential challenges and opportunities that will come and ask for insight form God as to what we will need to live it well.
You might enjoy watching this video I recorded with my friend, colleague, and co-host for season one of the Sacred Ordinary Days podcast. We recorded it on April 4, 2016 and it is on our Sacred Ordinary Days youtube channel. In it, I talk about being excited for our website to launch and getting a PDF of the planner. :) You can still do that, but the link is different!
- Get the free workbook with an examen page and the "how to use your examen page" page here. If a friend wants it, it comes with joining our newsletter list. Invite them to join us!
- Get the month of August for $4 here.
- Get the PDF of the whole planner for $25 here.
- Or, get the beautifully bound planner here for $47.
The video is 40 minutes long, about the length of a podcast episode. I recommend you just watch the minutes 16 - 24 or so, where we talk about about the Examen. Save the rest for later in the #formationFOUNDATIONS series.
- 16:00 – Why we recommend the Examen for discernment
- 18:40 – Live practice of the Examen
- 24:00 – end of Examen section
In our planner, we have built a weekly examen page to give you an opportunity to regularly pause and evaluate your life in the context of seven key areas: spirit, body, mind, relationships, home, work, and resources. Creating these categories has helped us with a structure in which to review our lives to help us not miss an area. If you find these categories helpful, use them. If you don't, then use the column as one single journal space. Or maybe you want to start by focusing on just a few of the categories each week.
As you complete the examen each week, consider what God might be revealing to you in each of these areas. Notice the celebrations and struggles. Be honest, humble, and forgiving. Open your heart to hear God speak.
Give yourself some time to walk through the examen process - an hour might be a good amount of time to start with. It doesn't need to be done on Sunday; block out time in our week to do it when you can set aside that time and focus. If is is hard to find an hour today, maybe you can do an examen on one category of your life today (such as spirit) and do another category tomorrow.
Doing the whole examen might seem like a lot at first. And in a sense, it is. The first time you do an examen you are potentially reflecting on a whole lot of time in your life. The next time you do it, it is reflecting on the time from your last examen. By building it into your weekly rhythm, you are preparing to reflect on your life a week at a time.
There is no perfect way to do this weekly examen ... the first time (or first several times) you do it it might feel overwhelming or hard to reflect back on a week. The more often we spend time in this prayerful reflection, the easier it will come; it is about developing a rhythm in your life. It is about bringing my nitty-girtty to God and God to my nitty-gritty, as Mark Thibodeaux says.
I'd invite you to join Lacy and I in a live practice of the Examen at the 18:40 mark in the video, if you'd find that helpful.
We invite you to take some time today and to practice the examen. Or, if that is more time than you can make today, schedule the time within the next week to do it. You can also choose to do the examen on a single area of life today and on other areas throughout the week.
Head over to Instagram or Facebook and share your experience with this practice using #formationFOUNDATIONS and tag us @sacredordinarydays, please! Or, join the conversation inside Common House, our ecumenical online community.
Join us this week as we focus on weekly practices! You can always see the latest blog post in the series at SacredOrdinaryDays.com/FF when it's live. So, check there each day for the latest!
If you'd like to use the planner alongside us, you can order one today or get August for $4. You might even already have a planner, either the new Academic year or the previous Liturgical year. If not, today's the day to order yours since they just started on August 1st!