It is an amazing truth that once I am made aware of something, I tend to encounter it unexpectedly. A simple example is learning a new word. It seems that often when I’ve expanded my vocabulary that throughout the next week or two I see the word or I hear it in conversation. At these times, I often wonder what I’ve done without this knowledge prior to learning this word? What on earth did my brain do with it before I was aware of its’ meaning? Did the word simply blend into the text or the conversation? Did I make an unconscious guess at its meaning based on the context? Or was the word simply transparent in my consciousness because it wasn’t recognized?
In light of this example of vocabulary, I wonder at times how much am I missing in the world around me because I do not recognize what I am seeing or hearing. I have to ask myself how conscious am I? I’ve always assumed that I am fully conscious from the time I wake up, at least when I am paying attention. But vocabulary is only a razor thin piece of my consciousness so what about shapes and processes and machines and people’ body language, a whole world of things I haven’t learned yet and perhaps therefore do not even see.
I was reminded again at church today about being conscious of God and therefore recognizing His efforts to speak to me. I never used to “hear” God the way I do these days. And no I’m not delusional and hearing voices so put down those butterfly nets. But I can name several occasions when I have been in need of hearing a message about something specific and voila, there is the precise message I needed in a sermon. I am reminded of an old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come”.
Today’s example of God giving me a message was dead on target for my mood over the past while. It was about being stuck. The kind of stuck the Pastor talked about was that of looking backward instead of dreaming forward. The message was structured using the Book of Haggai in the Old Testament. The Jews were to rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem but they were discouraged in doing so by their memories of the glory of the previous temple. Looking back with regrets caused them to stop building the new temple.
If I look back on my life, I can appreciate a lot of good things, strong relationships, career successes, and so forth. But lingering there is a waste of time and it makes me discouraged about my present. I heard today that I need to look forward, accept forgiveness, reject guilt over mistakes and appreciate today, and most of all act positively on my dreams for tomorrow.
What a gift it is to have my eyes opened and my ears awakened to the reality of God’s presence so I am more fully conscious.