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Why I Believe in “God Winks”

Like this woman smelling wildflowers, God winks help me know I'm headed in the right direction, so I can be mindful and joyful in the moment.

For the longest time, I’ve loved words. Writing, reading, hearing all sorts of words — foreign languages, poetry, lyrics, what have you.

My love for words has shaped me as a person in more ways than I can count, but in one important, very personal way, it’s played a role in my faith.

And that role has taken the shape of “God winks.”

Let me preface this by saying that I consider myself a casual Catholic — I’m getting better about incorporating my faith into every day (my job does make that easier 🙃) , but it still feels like I have a long way to go.

But one thing I’ve held onto from my cradle Catholic childhood is God winks, something my adolescent brain created because of, once again, my love for words.

Looking back, I think when I cooked up this idea, I needed Words of Affirmation (being a prominent love language for me) from a God that I only ever knew from CCD on Sundays.

What is a ‘Godwink’?

Let me draw a line in the sand and give credit where it’s due: I did not officially coin the term ‘Godwink,’ at least according to where it matters: the Internet. I haven’t read the book When God Winks, but props to you, SQuire Rushnell, for getting the word in print first.

To SQuire, a Godwink is defined as, “what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience where you’d say, ‘Wow, what are the odds of that?’”

And sure, my winks from God are coincidences, for all intents and purposes. But probably not something that would make others remark, “Well, would you look at that!”

What a God wink means to me

Personally, my definition is much more manageable logically — I believe in God, He has a plan, I have free will to fulfill that plan if I so choose, and the steps I take toward fulfilling that plan has me on the ‘right’ path. Since that’s something only I have control over, my God winks are usually exclusively between God and me — in the form of small intersections of two pieces of my life.

That intersection is usually as small as hearing the same word at the same time from both a conversation I’m having with a friend while shopping and the music playing over the intercom in the store.

But I take that small intersection of life’s events as a pat on the back that I’m moving in the right direction because for me to witness that coincidence, I was in exactly the right place at the right time.

As a perfectionist first-born, it was always reassuring to believe I was on the right path. So when a phrase from my mom’s conversation intersected with my reading of the same phrase in a friend’s text, I immediately felt a sense of calm; I was where I was meant to be.

How God winks have strengthened my faith

I realize I invented this sense of reassurance for myself — and still use it to this day. Maybe that makes me sound unhinged to some people, but I see it as a form of self-care.

Those God winks are reminders for me to pause and reflect on where I am and where I want to be headed. It’s a quick gut-check for whether I’m living out my life by my values and a reminder to make decisions based on my ultimate goals.

God winks are a habit of mindfulness I’ve incorporated into my day-to-day. And in that mindfulness, I’ve also been able to include my faith — faith in God, in trusting the process, and in the idea that Someone much greater than me has my back.

Sure, those God winks might just be coincidence in the end, but it’s been a comforting recurring reminder that I have a purpose and inherent worth — and I think that’s something everyone should hear every now and then, even if it’s inferred through the intersection of an email subject line and country lyrics.

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