Recently, while thinking about thinking, (which is actually called metacognition, so there's your word of the day. Our number of the day can be 8 for no reason whatsoever.) I wondered why these bathroom activities allowed for the most focused, productive thinking. Why was it that I came up with the best topics to write about, the clearest answers to prayers, and the most innovative solutions to problems while I shampooed my hair? The answer, I realized, was space.
I was once told that we can hear God's voice when we're not thinking about anything else. It is in these moments that we have the space to think, to consider; we're not thinking through to-do lists, our thoughts relatively blank, no distractions. Unless you count rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, that is. We must allow ourselves space to listen and ponder and wonder.
I'm not so good at building this space into my life, especially lately. There are many times throughout the day when I pick up my phone as though I'm bored with nothing else to do. Truly, though, all my smart phone does is distract me from my own thoughts. I even found myself checking instagram at a red light! When did I become so impatient...so removed from my own thoughts that I cannot sit at a red light without wanting to be entertained? And when did anything on instagram become so important...?
And then Lent began: a season of fasting, of working hard on my own impurities so that my heart is prepared for the Lord, of embracing suffering as a path to holiness, of praying more and giving more and needing less.
This year I'm intentionally making more space to pray and reflect and just be. Together Brandon and I will retreat to our bedroom by 9pm each night in an effort to treat our bodies better by getting more sleep and allowing for time to wind down from the day. We will cease using our smartphones at this time and read for at least 10 minutes, taking time away from technology and the distractions smartphones bring with them. We've always prayed together at the end of each day, but we will be adding an Act of Contrition to our normal routine. We hope that setting a time which is earlier than usual to start getting ready for bed will allow us to put more effort and thoughtfulness into our prayer, which sometimes had become a zombie prayer of sorts as we both struggled to stay awake.
I'm also creating space of less distractions during the day by not using my phone (for things other than phone calls and text messages) until 9 in the morning. Reading blogs and scrolling through facebook became my go-to in the morning, but I believe I can be more present to Silas or choose to do some spiritual reading during this precious morning time instead. I plan to leave my phone in the kitchen throughout the day as well so I'm not tempted to be on it as a distraction, and instead have to go get it if I need it for something.
Finally, we've decided that we will be attending adoration at least once per week during Lent. Perpetual Adoration is only 3 blocks from our home, so really we should be making it over there much more often that we do. What better space to pray and collect my thoughts and reflect on His holy sacrifice than right in his presence?
I'm certain I will be tempted to break the promises I've made this Lent...what's that they say about old habits dying hard? But I'm hoping that the extra space in my life will quickly become filled with prayer and reflection and peace. And being fully engrossed in how the current moment is being lived for God.
And with that, I'm off to our bedroom like Cinderella at midnight 'cause it's almost 9 o'clock!