Materials needed: pen or pencil and paper; computer or tablet
Before beginning this exercise, take a few moments to be still and sense the presence of God within you. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through this activity and reveal what he wants you to know.
Recall a time in your childhood when you got lost. Perhaps it was at the supermarket when you couldn’t find your mother. Perhaps it was out in the woods. Write down how you felt:
- Were you afraid? Describe the physical sensations and then describe your feelings.
- How did you feel when your mother or father finally found you?
- Is this an important memory in your life? Why or why not?
Think too of a time when you were driving to a new place and you got lost. Perhaps you were driving in the city and your destination was a couple of blocks away, but you were stuck on one-way streets, going around in circles with no way to pull off the road to consult a map or GPS. Perhaps you were in the middle of nowhere. Write down how you felt:
- Did getting lost frustrate, frighten, or even panic you? How or why? Describe your physical as well as your emotional sensations.
- How long did it take before you found your way? How did you feel?
Listen to this song by Jana Stanfield called “I’m Not Lost, I Am Exploring”—have you ever felt like this?
Describe a time in your life when you were uncertain about where you were headed:
- Did you feel you were alone or did you feel God was with you? Did you call upon God to be with you? Describe the response you felt from him.
- Do you feel lost in your life or perhaps in a holding pattern at this time? Do you know why you feel lost? Describe your feelings. If you are in limbo, how are you coping with the waiting? What value do you see, if any, in the waiting?
- Does your life feel like an adventure to be experienced, a trial to be endured, or simply a day-to-day occurrence that is unexciting? What steps can you take to effect a change?
At the end of your notes, copy the following prayer by St. Ignatius of Loyola:
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.
Now say the prayer out loud, offering your time of uncertainty and waiting to God. Keep this prayer with you so that you can repeat it each day. After one week, revisit these questions and your notes, and see if your answers have changed.
You can also listen to a musical version of this prayer by the St. Louis Jesuits on YouTube: “Take Lord, Receive” by John Foley, S.J.:
copyright 2015 Susan W. Bailey;
from Chapter 6 of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times,
published by Ave Maria Press