Examining the Shape of Our Lives

by Mark Votava


Living in a culture that values entertainment, speed, consumerism, individualism and upward mobility has made my life very difficult at times to create within myself some kind of practices of reflection.  I have found that without practices that help me to examine the shape of my life, my imagination becomes stuck and my freedom to live becomes disembodied.  My body has a deep need to breathe, reflect, rest, and slow down.  I am coming to understand more that my life cannot survive in a healthy way without this.

  • Cultivating honesty and trust within  

Our practice of reflection and rest helps us to examine the shape of our lives together.  We are constantly tested by our locality to see if what we believe is being embodied in our everyday lives.  Examining the shape of our lives together takes a sense of honesty and trust in God.  Examining the shape of our lives can be difficult.

  • The mirror of reality

It is the mirror of reality that will praise or shame us.  Reflection and rest cannot escape this examining of our lives together in parish.  There is a freedom to this kind of examining of our lives.  Our freedom is in our presence to the mystical imagination within us as the body of Christ in the parish.

  • Freedom to be fully present in the moment

We will find rest in the examining of our lives together.  We will develop a reflective spirit within us in the examining of our lives together.  Leighton Ford says, “The rest God offers is the freedom to be fully present in the moment, free to reflect and enjoy what has been; to let go of the deficits and regrets that wear us down; free to envision what will be, what we are being re-created for; free to unburden ourselves of regretful thoughts about our yesterdays and anxious thoughts about our tomorrows.”

  • Constantly reimagining our lives

Our freedom is embodied in the ways we learn from our past as we reimagine the present and the future.  When we examine the shape of our lives together through reflection and rest, we are free to reimagine.  We constantly reimagine the present.  This pushes us into the moments of reimagining the future.

  • Working through our anxieties and regrets

Our reflection and rest is always manifested in our reimagining everything.  We will celebrate the past and learn from it.  We will reimagine what God has for us in the present and the days to come.  Through reflection and rest, we will free ourselves to work through our anxieties and regrets.

  • Listening to our tomorrows and yesterdays

We will move into the mystical imagination in the parish.  Our tomorrows will not be so bad and our yesterdays we can learn from.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays speak to us through the mystical imagination in reflection and rest.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays can bring out the life of Christ within us in our locality.

Why is it so difficult to create a reflective spirit within us?