Soon after Vana was born, I started a little practice of journaling my thoughts at night. Somehow, even with a newborn, I wasn’t stumbling through the season mindlessly as I had expected to.
Maybe you’ve experienced the brain fog before or you’re overcome with it right now. Life seems to be zooming by but it feels impossible to slow down or impossible to find clarity. You can’t remember what you had for lunch or what you did the day before when someone asks. You’re sort of just waiting for things to slow down so you can think again! Everything is just covered in a haze but you just feel like you need to keep moving.
Soon after I began this nightly journal time, a winding Amazon book search (basically one of my favorite pastimes) led me to a book called, Reimagining the Ignatian Examen by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ. In it, he talked about an ancient practice called Examen Prayers.
St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, developed the Examen Prayers method as a way to feel God’s presence and experience his guidance in his everyday life. It was basically a way to reflect on the day with the Lord. This simple visual took my previous act of journaling my thoughts about the day and included God in the process.
A few years ago, we decided to create the Fresh Outlook journal with the sole purpose to be a place to jot down a thought or two during this evening prayer time. We’ve since discontinued the product as we pared down our collection significantly but the practice is still super useful so we wanted to share it with anyone who is feeling that haze settling into all corners of life.
Mark outlined 5 essential parts of the examen prayer that are by no means required, but may be a helpful guide if you aren’t sure where to start! We’ve created a handy little sheet with the 5 parts that you can download and and tape in your prayer journal or any blank notebook you’d like to write these nightly thoughts in.
2020 Yearly Prayer Journal
FIND FOCUS. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS. EXPERIENCE GOD.
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Before jumping in, he suggests starting each prayer session the same way. For me, I love taking a few deep breaths. This helps to shift gears from a busy day to a more reflective time.
Do not get overwhelmed with this! This is not a “second quiet time” to try to squeeze in your day. It can be as long as 10 minutes or as short as asking one question? How’s my soul today? The point is to slow down and really look at each day WITH the Lord. Some of my deepest revelations, realizations for changes that needed to be made or simply moments to acknowledge God in a unique way have happened during this evening reflection time and I know if I had not slowed down, I would have missed it.
If you struggle with silence and solitude, I think this technique would certainly give you space to help you HEAR from God like never before. We’ll shoot you an email with the free printable. Just put your email in below!
And tell us! Have you ever tried this technique? Or have any other tips for getting rid of the brain fog and finding more clarity?