Don’t miss the moments. Every day God sends us a moment of hope and love. In fact, I’m guessing that every day there are a myriad of opportunities that we might realize are just from God. The problem is that we don’t really live in the moments. Rather, we live for the tasks or events of the day.
The spiritual life is about moments. I need accountability to capture my moments. My husband helps me with this. We try to ask each other what was our Bonum Dei—God-given good—for that day. It can be as basic as having air to breathe, or as sweet as the smile of a child who is happy to see you. These simple moments break up the mundane of living and weave together the message of God’s love and purpose for your life.
I learned Bonum Dei from my spiritual director; the ancient Christians also practiced a spiritual discipline of Examen that focuses on recognizing the daily. Daily examens are perfect for the end of the day when you stop and consider what part of your day that you felt most loved by God—that is your bonum dei; then what part of the day did you feel least loved—perhaps this memory leads to forgiveness or confession. Frank Laubach found living moment by moment led to increased intimacy with God. He wrote:
“Nobody is wholly satisfied with himself. Our lives are made up of lights and shadows, of some good days and many unsatisfactory days. We have learned that the good days and hours come when we are very close to Christ, and that the poor days come whenever we push Him out of our thoughts. Clearly, then, the way to a more consistent high level is to take Him into everything we do or say or think.[i]”
Laubach came up with what he called a game of minutes where he shared a way to make a habit of spending time with God moment by moment. In Ephesians 5:15-16 Paul exhorts us,
“Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
One way to follow Paul’s instruction is to enter into the moments brought by each new day and discover the reality of God’s purpose, planning and blessings.
It can be as simple as counting the ducklings that have hatched this spring and watching the mother duck demonstrate the love that God has for us through her maternal instincts towards her ducklings. It can be as significant as recognizing the moment that separated you from a high speed collision that might have proven disastrous for your own life. Every day has moments like these. These are the moments that connect you to the real purpose of your life—praise of God and intimacy with Him.
Living moment by moment can be done in many ways. Laubach suggests taking one hour that you are more likely to be successful in thinking of God and writing down how many moments in that hour you were thinking of God. A good place to try this would be during a church service. You might recognize how often your mind is drawn away from the love of God even during a time where you are led to purposely focus on Him for an hour. Don’t be discouraged if your score is low, but desire to reach the heights so you discover the pleasure of living for the moments of connection to God’s love for you.
[i] Frank C. Laubach, Letters by a Modern Mystic (Purposeful Design, Colorado Springs, 2007), p. 91.