“Mindfulness” is the self-help of our day, and for good reason: we are bombarded by messaging from all kinds of sources. We can barely hear ourselves think. And much of world is dehumanizing: take the statistical analysis one can do on anything now with your phone, or take a trip on an airplane - dehumanizing. We have to stop and put down our screens and force ourselves to take notice of ourselves - how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, and why. Mindfulness, as far as it goes, can be helpful, because our present age is so distracting.
The key words there are “take notice”. Christian mindfulness - which is the only true form of “mindfulness” - is taking notice of three things, not just one:
God: To live by faith is to confidently bet on God bringing His promised grace to me as a I step forward into my next moments in life - that in the ever-approaching future-that’s-becoming-now, God will be with me, providing, protecting, delivering. A Christian expects this grace and looks for it, and notices it, and lives thankfully for it. The gospel is not just a theological concept to us; it’s an ever-experienced phenomenon, poured out by a living God Who is there. We notice Him, providing grace, and we grow in delight and worship and rest in Him.
Our Situation: A Christian then takes note of those around her. While waiting in line, she notes the others around, created in His image. He takes note of others, in order to protect them, if harm approaches. The Turpin case is an example of the profound lack of note we take in others. A Christian looks around, and sees people made in His image, and who are profoundly vulnerable, in all their apparent flourishing. This is not our primary motivation for evangelizing them - our primary motivation is our own delight in our experiencing the gospel ourselves. But then we see all these vulnerable ones, and we go, speaking of him. We live out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission all at once.
Ourselves: But this requires getting away to “desolate places”, like Jesus, with Jesus, to reflect. Why am I thinking or feeling this way? Feeling this way? “The unexamined life is not worth living.” True - but only if one can examine oneself in light of God and his gospel. Only then can I look at myself straight-on, and walk away not in pride or shame, but in rest. True mindfulness is only achieved at the foot of the cross.
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