An examen is a prayerful review of the day that focuses your attention on the movements of God in your life. By reflecting on the events of the last several hours, you can look for moments where you felt more alive and connected to God and others. You’ll also notice the events that caused you to withdraw or experience anxiety, restlessness, or frustration. Practiced daily, they help you notice patterns that may confirm and clarify your vocational calling.
In this season of your life, you’re wrestling with many questions as you navigate the various options for your vocation. In the following seven examens, you will be guided on a journey of deep, inner awareness to notice God’s love for you, the movements of your own heart, the things that affect you negatively, your connection to others in community, the ways you give the best part of who you are, what is important to you, and what you want to be about. We pray that these exercises might establish some foundational practices that can aid you in discerning and noticing God’s movement in your life, to begin to create a framework for healthy discernment upon which a larger discernment process can rest.
Noticing The Movements Of My Own Heart
Inner Movements: What makes me come alive? By Brian Hohmeier, Cleveland, OH
As I pay attention to God’s love and welcome of me, I can also begin to pay attention to what is at work inside of me. We might call these the movements of my heart.
I think now of a baby kicking inside her mother. Do I sometimes notice how my heart “kicks” inside of me, either when something excites me or causes me to pull back? These movements can be big, flood-like reactions to a thing I see or hear or experience. They can also be very subtle and very quiet, like the movement of a tide moving deep within the ocean.
Where do I normally experience these movements inside of me? In my chest? In my gut? Through a flood of emotion? Or, is it more subtle? For thousands of years, the people of God have been using these “heart movements” as a way of noticing the Holy Spirit’s movement in them. The Holy Spirit is always moving us into greater faith, hope, and love. As I pay attention to how my heart is moved, I’m able to notice how God has made me and how God has made me for the world.
Questions for Reflection
- As I reflect upon my day, replaying it from waking up until now, I ask myself, at what moments did I feel most alive, the most free, the most “me”? Or, when did I feel the most trusting of God, the most hopeful, and the most open to give and receive love?
- What was I doing, and what was happening around me?
- What was that feeling and how did I respond to it? How did I want to respond to it?
- As I return to that scene now and the feeling I had, how do I want to respond in this moment? What do I want to say to God or what do I want to ask?
- Who is in my life who knows my heart and might help me continue this conversation?
If you’re interested in more content like this, you can download our whole ebook How To Notice What God Is Doing, 7 examens to prepare your heart for Cause Con.