#SensingSpirituality Creative Worship CW resources Thought of the Day


Where do you find value and joy in life?

Christians sometimes talk of being “born again” or “Metanoia” moments. The examples used of this are often ones where a persons life is caught up in extreme behaviour. It was, however, when someone so concerned about preserving his good reputation that he chose to visit Jesus under the veil of the night that Jesus talks about needing to be born again. (John 3)

Perhaps that walk shrouded in a cloak of darkness was a step in the process of re-entering the womb and being reborn for Nicodemus. Did a spark of light kindle something in his mind that night, that then flourished?

John goes on to describe Jesus not condemning the world, but saving it by being the light. All those who live in the light have no need to hide in darkness. Their activities, relationships and beliefs are things that they can be confident in. There is no need to judge them because they have judged themselves, and that can be a tough enough challenge!

This image struck me as a useful tool for achieving this. The concept of IKIGAI is described further on this page by the Government of Japan.

As an activity telling the story of Jesus meeting with Nicodemus would help set reflection in a Christian context. It also struck me that time could responding to it could be applied to several settings.

  • A community group like a congregation could think about the categories collectively, and carry out a “Health check” on their identity.
  • A couple or household could look at the ways in which they occupy their time and resource their life
  • A person could look at it like they gaze in a mirror, and in the light of Jesus honestly reflect on what they love, what they could be paid for, are good at and what the world needs.

This might help participants become aware of and understand the feelings of unease that we encounter from time to time (The text spiralling out from the diagram).

To make this an active response you could print the graphic out nice and big, then take time to write down all the activities that occupy your days, weeks, months and years on pieces of paper. When these pieces are matched to where they belong on the diagram perhaps you will catch a glimpse of how close to Ikigai your life is – or a visual indicator of ways in which it is out of balance?

Remember that length of time spent in an activity is only one indicator of it’s significance and that some activities might need to be refined in to several categories.

Participants could also use another colour of paper to suggest possible activities that would adjust the balance.

Of course, like all moments of illumination, seeing is just the start of a process. Managing the change is seldom a comfortable experience.

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