I loved the idea that, despite my misguided actions, God saw my intent and looked upon me with kindness.
But it didn’t take me long to realize that it was God who brought those actions to my attention in the first place.
“Notice what you notice,” Father Elton Fernandes would remind me while I was praying the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Like Ignatius before him, Father Elton believed that the Holy Spirit brings what we notice to our awareness for our good and God’s glory.
My first reaction whenever I receive a humbling awareness is to assume it’s my responsibility to change myself. But Father Elton invited me to wait and notice what God does with these awarenesses.
That day as I biked to spiritual direction and saw how much my critical nature hurts others, I felt ashamed. However, my encounter with Jesus in the session showed me that God was not ashamed of me. That helped me hold my new awareness with compassion, curiosity, and hope.
I continued to notice times when I was tempted to correct or advise others. But I also noticed I had a little more freedom to let go of my desire to intervene. I could hold the discomfort of inefficiency or misunderstanding a little longer. I could trust a little more that the One who carried me was carrying everyone else as well.
With more trust, I began to see that what might seem wrong to me could just be different. If I’m patient I may understand why another has chosen to do things the way they do.
Of course, there are still times when I regret something I’ve said or done, but there’s one more thing I notice: I have a little more grace for myself.
What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
–Luke 12:29-31 (MSG)
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Jacquoline Martin, who has worked with me at the Wednesday Lunch Club, was named Douglas College’s Community Builder of the Year in 2015. Jacquoline continues to follow her passion for volunteering in her community. This month she arranged for ReFood to deliver a generous donation of fresh meat, fish, milk, yogurt, and cheese for the folks at the Wednesday Lunch Club. You’re awesome, Jacquoline. Thank you for inspiring us and doing such wonderful love mischief for the world.