Heightened Awareness

We don’t think about our brains much, but maybe we should – they are remarkable organs, and not just organs, but miracles of creation. When you consider what our minds are capable of, I daresay it’s mind boggling. I’ve been pondering how we can be aware of several things at once, like time, the weather, our hunger or fatigue, others in the vicinity, the temperature of the room, what we should be doing now or have to do later. Mothers are (almost) always aware of the whereabouts of their babies and all of us are aware of our own bodies. 

Why then, is it so difficult to have a continual awareness of God? We think about him first thing in the morning, or before we go to sleep, or maybe give him some thought at other times of the day as we have time and opportunity. But are we continually aware of Christ in us? In an effort to follow Paul’s exhortations to pray unceasingly, be cheerful at all times and always be thankful, it’s good to focus on being aware of God more than just a few times a day – even at all times, at every moment. 

In a beautifully written and moving book by Sue Monk Kidd, called God’s Joyful Surprise, the author quotes Thomas Kelly, who defined prayer “as living concurrently in the level of the world and in the level of God’s presence.” Kidd says, “when Douglas Steere, a friend of Kelly’s, was asked whether it was possible to carry out his friend’s call to live in the awareness both of the world and of God’s presence, he wrote: An old Indian saint gives the identical counsel: ‘Do all your work then, but keep your mind on God….The tortoise swims about in the waters of the lake, but her mind is fixed to where her eggs are laid on the bank. So, do all the work of the world, but keep your mind on God.’”

Awareness of God – who he is, how he is working in ourselves and others, the whispers of the Holy Spirit as we go through our days – is a profound way to stay connected. It’s vital to our inner lives and even for our spiritual growth and transformation. It takes time and effort of course, but training ourselves to always be aware of him will be the most fruitful endeavor of our lives.

(Thanks to my friend Connie Whitmire for recommending this book.)