Metanoia

Have you ever gone to catch up with a friend and after being asked 'What's new?' found that you almost always seem to answer back with 'nothing’ or 'sve po starom' as us Croatians put it?

C.S Lewis wisely points out "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different". God always seems to be transforming our lives without us noticing. It's only in hindsight that we see the changes that are happening.

So how can we stay in tune to what's actually happening instead of it being something we can only recognise when looking back on an experience?

A few weeks ago I came across a word that caught my eye. One that I didn't pay much attention to the first time I read it, but it seemed to reappear a few times in the coming weeks after that.

When I look back on those instances, I now see in hindsight that the definition of the word was very different to me each time.

That particular word I am referring to is metanoia. A Greek word which, according to a Pinterest post I originally came across is defined as 'the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self, or way of life'. 

The first time I saw this and read it, I will admit, I was frustrated with it. I had 'interruptions' in my life that I was trying to figure out so I could make some important decisions about my career and travels for this year.

My impatience flared up and I wanted to make a decision as soon as possible, but God had other plans.

It annoyed me that these 'interruptions' were in play as all I wanted to do was to make these decisions and start planning the year ahead. So when seeing the definition again, my pride came to light and I thought 'I don't need a change of mind, heart or self right now - my plan is just fine'. 

What I soon realised was that God's interruptions in my life were the reminders I needed to see that life has to change in order for God's greater plans to take place, even if I could not see them at that point.  

A few days later, I came across the word again. This time around I don't think it was from a Pinterest-scrolling-addiction, though I can't actually recall where I saw the word.

I got reminded of that exact meaning and it made me excited for what was ahead, trusting that God's plans were way better than the ones I had come up with.

It was only then that I realised that my mood affected the meaning of a word. While any word we find in the dictionary has a set and formal definition, it is our state of mind when reading it that determines our perspective of the meaning. 

As St. John Paul II puts it, "in God's plan, nothing happens by chance" - even the viewing of a word that I had never heard before a few weeks ago had the ability to prepare me for what lies ahead.

And as I sit here finishing off this article reflecting on just that, while procrastinating in between edits, I found myself scrolling once more on the internet and metanoia popped up again.

This time with a differently worded definition - ‘a profound, usually spiritual, transformation; conversion'.

What started as just a simple word and a definition turned into something that would put confidence in me and an affirmation that God's plans are better.

So as you ask yourself again, how can I stay in tune with what's actually happening instead of it being something we can only recognise in hindsight - be attentive to the little things and know that nothing happens by chance.

Just like it takes an unseen seed to be planted in order for a flower to bloom, take a step back and admire the seed before the rose appears.