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Consider important questions

Here we are, almost a full month into the year 2020! How does this happen so quickly? Before we know it, summer will be upon us and we’ll look back and say, “Where did the time go?”

As we transition from one year into another, it is common to take stock of our lives. How are we doing? What is our physical condition? How are our relationships with others? Are we in a safe place financially? How are we doing with our life and/or career goals?

The older I get, the faster it seems life moves along. If we are not intentional about how we are living, we can simply pass through this whirlwind without pondering our existence. Perhaps because it is most visible, we tend to put a lot of emphasis on our bodies — how we look, how we feel physically. Some of us are more attuned to keeping track of our emotional health, especially those of us who deal with depression and anxiety. The area that tends to come last is an inventory of our spiritual health.

Even if you do not consider yourself religious, you still have a spiritual side that needs your attention. How are you–or are you not–caring for your spirit? Some hear that question and think it’s just silliness or a waste of time, but, it is not. Maybe you just need to ask yourself different questions that can help you uncover the same revelations.

What motivates me to get up each day?

What is the source of my courage and strength?

What gives my life meaning?

What have I learned about love and how to love?

What are some of the losses I have experienced? What have I learned about loss?

What is my purpose in life? How has my purpose changed over the years?

What do I believe? Do I believe in a power greater than myself? If no, why not? If yes, what is that power and how do I acknowledge it/him/her?

How do I allow my Higher Power to guide/influence my life?

Who am I, really?

How do I live truthfully to who I am?

Many journey through life without considering these questions, but I encourage you to do so. Being more self-aware is not selfish; yet it can help you become a better person–it can help you become the person you were created to be!

When I answer the fundamental question, “Who am I, really?” my Christian tradition leads me to respond that I am a child of God. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 139. This psalm addresses our human state more beautifully than anything I ever read. While the entire psalm is too lengthy to include here, allow these few verses to whet your appetite for more.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:33-34, New International Version).

Not only did God awesomely create each one of us, He also knows us better than we know ourselves. “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (vs. 1-3).

Ask your Higher Power to help you truthfully answer the questions above. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (vs. 23-24).

The longer you spend thinking about these questions, the more meaningful the experience. Do not rush it. It is wise to record your questions and answers in a journal, notebook, or computer file. Perhaps consider one question a day; if you need more time, take it–just don’t give up. The beautiful thing is that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers; there is just the truth about where you are right now, not where you have been or where you are going, just a snapshot into who you are at this point in your life. If you do not like your honest answer to a question, then you have the power to change that. Begin making small choices that lead to lasting change to become the person you were intended to be since your creation in your mother’s womb (v. 13).

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Suellen Lewis is a staff chaplain at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital. As both a former math teacher and associate pastor, she continues to be amazed at how God uses our experiences, abilities, and gifts to minister to others. She is available at Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ontact the Spiritual Care Office at (717) 242-7059.

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