Being mindful of God is taught in several faiths, and Christianity is one such faith. These faiths imply certain reasons to be mindful of God. Generally, the beliefs that God created us and provides for us, that God forgives us and is patient with our wrongdoings, that God is just and merciful are just some of the reasons. Although I believe Christianity teaches that we should love God simply for who God is, I find it easy to think about his gifts in order to be mindful of the Creator the Bible speaks about. The easiest reason that comes to my mind to love God and be mindful of him is that “he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). According to the Bible, we have seen God’s love through the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So we have a significant reason to love God and to be mindful of the Lord.
But here’s the problem.
In our everyday lives, we are so immersed in the hustle and bustle of transitory things that we forget to be mindful of God. We just conveniently put it aside because we can afford to do so. Think about it: what do you find more convenient to postpone? To pray or to pay the electricity bill? Personally, I find it easier and less threatening to postpone being mindful of God than paying the electricity bill. Paradoxically, this easiness to postpone prayer or easiness to be mindful of God is the reason we find it difficult to be mindful of God. When something is too easy to postpone, we are tempted to put it off over and over again for the sake of other “urging” needs. Because if we don’t pray today, we can pray tomorrow. But if we don’t pay the electricity bill today, we may not be able to cook tomorrow.
Nevertheless, there are various ways of being mindful of God throughout the day that doesn’t demand much. I think these ways stem from God’s mercy because the Lord in humility does not demand much from us when it comes to being mindful of the Creator. So how can we be mindful of God? Below I list five ways of being mindful of God during your day. All these ways are common, easy-to-accomplish, and do not demand a lot of time. Just a thought or an action a day will take you a long way in your pilgrimage towards God.
Being mindful of God means being aware of God’s presence and remembering him in your faith and in everyday activities. By this definition, an atheist person who researches human concepts on God and thinks about it every day for years is still not remembering God because the important component — faith — is lacking. To remember God, to recall his presence, and to contemplate the Lord we need to have faith. Only through our faith does our connection with God become real. Let’s recall five easy ways of being mindful of God.
Specific ways of being Mindful of God as a Christian
1.Be often thankful, and let your gratitude control your frustration.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18)
The simple habit you will find in the Bible (as in many other religions) is to be thankful to God for everything we have and to control our frustrations through our gratitude. I say “often” because it is extremely rare for a person to be thankful every second at all times without distraction. Thankfulness towards God requires a certain attitude and, at the level of being thankful every second, a high level of self-knowledge. There’s a reason that not everyone is at the level of Augustine. So if you are not there yet, no worries. Just remember God everyday a few times. But this remembrance is not about a detached, abstract, conceptual remembrance.
I’m writing about the attached, personal, emotionally-involving mindfulness of God that stirs your heart. Of course, there is nothing wrong if you recall God’s aseity and remember with awe the Creator’s omniscience. But chances are such a remembrance won’t make you smile. Instead, recall a gift that God gave you with the awareness that you are recalling God first and foremost and not the gift. The gift that God gave you is an entry point into the remembrance of God. The Bible clearly emphasizes this: the gifts that God gave us, like signs of God, should remind us of God rather than something else. Therefore, think of the down-to-earth gift you have. Are you healthy? Thank God. Do your legs work? Thank God. Can you breathe and get out to do your daily chores? Remember God.
As for your daily frustrations, they are a part of life. Moreover, steeped in the complaint psalms and lamentations of the Bible, we take free license to mix our frustration with others with our expectations of God. Although it is difficult, you can weaken your frustration by focusing on things that make you grateful to God. It will take some time to develop this habit, but it is worth your time. When frustrated, don’t just let your frustration govern you. Balance it with the willful recall of what gifts God has given you that could somehow change the situation towards good.
2.Ask for forgiveness for all the wrongdoings you may do, and recognize your participation in some of the wrongdoings others do.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
Asking for forgiveness is a humbling way of being mindful of God. It reminds us who we are in relation to God (creatures in need of salvation) and who God is in relation to us (the forgiving father and just judge). To ask for forgiveness, we need to be sincere. Otherwise, we risk treating God as a fool, which is a sign of ignorance and immaturity. Why could asking for forgiveness be used as a way of being mindful of God? Because when we ask for forgiveness, we also recognize (however implicitly) that God is also the God of those we wronged. That God is their Creator too, and as a just God, the Creator may be on their side. Forgiveness means that we know where we belong in God’s presence: broken images of the Creator looking at the mirror held up to us in Jesus Christ.
Asking for forgiveness also allows us to remember God or be mindful of God on our tough days. When we wrong another person but can’t swallow our pride to ask for forgiveness from her despite knowing that we are wrong, turning to God is the best approach to the situation. This kind of turn to God makes us aware of two things in relation to God: A) we did something unjust or sinful to another person, which is a sin in and of itself; B) we are so prideful that we cannot ask that person to forgive us, which is another sin. Yet it is no better to hide from God in these moments. When we turn to Creatir in such tough times, our mindfulness of God becomes more precious to us and to Savior. Remember what the Lord taught about the contrite heart? (Psalm 51:17)
3.Wrestle with the word of God at least every other day. Read and reflect on the word of God.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)
Reading scriptures is by far the most wide-spread way of being mindful of God. Unless you read for a scientific analysis or for disparagement, reading the scripture is often a more engaging way of being mindful of the Creator. However, remember that there are various ways of reading the word of God. Even among Christians, some read the Bible as a page-turner simply to entertain themselves. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with such a reading, but taken to an extreme, it may distort your understanding of the scripture and weaken your mindfulness of God.
To be mindful of God, it is better to wrestle with the word of God. Wrestling means you read the Bible, focus on its various meanings, tease out their implications, and do not shy away from a constructive critical approach to those ideas. It’s definitely better than the passive swallowing so prevalent in the assuming tones and language of modern Bible studies. Wrestling with the word of God ideally should lead to a reflection on God and ourselves. That may deepen your knowledge; sometimes it may confuse you; but that is how it supposed to be. You are wrestling with the word, and you are trying to grasp the elusive mystery known as the Lord.
4.Talk to God. Don’t just pray.
“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.'” (Jer. 29:13–14)
Talking is similar to prayer, and you will find information out there that takes them to be one and the same thing. However, I use prayer to mean a somewhat more intentional, more formal way of interacting or talking with God. To me, talking to God means much more. It is a more informal, spontaneous conversation with God that has no other intention but simply to interact with God. When you talk to God, you don’t ask for anything; you don’t use formal addresses for God; you don’t have a beginning and end for the conversation. Talking to God may flow in and out of your consciousness several times a day without much ado or intense awareness of it. You just say something to God like you would to your beloved friend whose presence at that moment makes your day.
I find talking to God to be the easiest way of being mindful of God. At the beginning, it may take some time to develop, but once you feel comfortable enough, it will become part of you. It is also easy to do because it does not require an awareness of your surroundings or a specific circumstance or reason. The only thing it requires is the willingness to address the Lord in your thoughts, however short a sentence or small an idea that may be. Theresa of Avila’s Interior Castle could give you plenty of insights on how to talk to God without any strenuous effort. In short, it is a spontaneous interaction with God without expecting anything in return. A simple exclamation like, “God, what a wonderful day!” is talking to God as long as you actually sincerely believe you are talking to God.
5.Let Go. Don’t be obsessed with the troubles of your life.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
One of the things that could come between you and your remembrance of God is the troubles or ups and downs of your life. If not checked, these troubles can act like weeds or thorns that choke the seed. Letting go of these troubles can be a way of being mindful of God if you look at letting go as releasing those things into God’s hands. You can only do so much. At some point, you will hit your limit, and no matter how much you struggle, it may not work. There are so many things you have no control over that affect your situation. So instead of letting go of your troubles into the abyss of desperation, think of letting go as letting God take over the events and situations you can’t deal with.
Letting go is a highly commendable way of being mindful of God because releasing control requires profound changes in our psyche. First, it requires us to realize that control is simply an illusion. In our chase to have control over our lives, we tend to become irrational and chase the uncontrollable elements of it as well. Second, it requires a deep trust in God and the recognition that what he may choose to do is best for you and for the situation. Jesus let go too. Remember him praying in Gethsemane? He let go of his own desire for the sake of the Father’s will. Notice that letting go does not mean laziness, the justification of our timidity, or an excuse for the passive participation in sin. It simply means that after deep reflection and prayer, you understand where your limits are. It means… let God take over your circumstances by following the paths the Creator opens to you in prayerful consideration and humility.
Now, I can’t claim I practice all five of these ways. I have an aptitude for some (like #3 and #4) and a difficulty with others (like #5). Nevertheless, all these practices can be found in mystical and discipleship literature. Pick one or two, and practice consistently against all odds. Be mindful of God by using these paths because God is already mindful of you.
That said, here is my question for you. Do you have other ways of being mindful of God? How is your mindfulness is different from non-Christian believers’ mindfulness? Also, please share this post on social media so that whoever is willing to receive, may receive benefits from this too.