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Getting Sidetracked

  • Do you ever go into a room and forget why you went into it?
  • Have your children interrupted while you were deep into your prayer time?
  • Has your husband abruptly asked what’s for dinner while you are studying or working on the computer?
  • Are you thinking about the project due tomorrow morning while you are trying to have quiet time?
  • Is the chore list creeping into your thoughts while you are journaling?
  • Does the phone ring as soon as you begin writing your article for the EHM newsletter? (3 times!)

In this crazy, busy society called our life, we have become inundated with information; we have become persistent in multitasking and diligent in goal-setting. All of which in the past would have seemed impossible to accomplish.  With our computers, our smart phones, our tablets, and our brains so full of important and time sensitive data, it is miraculous when we actually spend time with the Lord.  And I do mean MIRACULOUS!

Look how we spend our days: (Click Picture to Enlarge)

LetterPic1

Do you see down time or a contemplative moment anywhere?  “Personal care” does not include prayer; it includes hygiene, sleep, and sex. In my research, I found that our society has down time, but it is primarily spent watching TV or sports.  The ‘religious activity’ is basically church service on Sunday broken into 7 days to get a daily dose for the research purposes.
We have multiple things going on concurrently in our minds and around us. Continuously! It’s no wonder we are constantly interrupted, as we are becoming immediately saturated with information. Instantaneously, continuously, and unnecessarily! The ability to get an answer immediately does not correlate to logically processing the response.  Thinking about it.  Reflecting on it.

Getting distracted is just easily dismissed as:

  • “I am swamped!”
  • “Oh dear, I must be getting old… my brain…”
  • “I haven’t had my coffee yet.”
  • “I guess I just have too much on my mind, sorry, I forgot.”
  • “Oops, I didn’t do ______ (fill in the blank).  I got sidetracked.”
  • Etc. etc.

I have this discussion regularly with my daughter, who is 12.  I ask for napkins while setting the table.  Twenty minutes pass; I go downstairs, and she is on email. “Oh sorry Mom. Marie emailed me. I got sidetracked.”

She plays piano.  In the middle of a Bach invention, I hear some jazzy doo whop and ask, “What are you playing?” “Oh sorry, I got sidetracked….”
At my ladies’ Bible study yesterday, we’re heading into prayer and worship when someone mentions they did not receive the group text.  We spent the next 15 minutes in the kitchen sending texts to one another instead of proceeding to worship.

I go to the store for something, run into a neighbor, and she talks my ear off.  Once home, I realize I forgot the milk.  I got sidetracked. You get the idea!
Getting distracted by things is sometimes unavoidable; however, due to the society in which we currently find ourselves, it is urgent that we must set aside time to be mindful and attentive to our Lord, God and Father!

“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.” Joshua 1:8 NIV

“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wondrous works I will meditate.” Psalm 145:5 NIV

If we do not practice it, meditation is impossible. We cannot be focused on discerning His voice, if we do not practice hearing it.   We can only hear Him if we pay attention and don’t get sidetracked. Beloved, you could miss something important if you don’t practice spending time with the Lord.  Of course that doesn’t preclude Him from grabbing your attention when He needs to, but you may be missing Him.

It’s harder and harder as the technology and media frenzy surround us.  We are a global society and an increasingly technology-aware society.  The thousands of things we can do instantaneously today are things we’ve waited for in the past.  Sometimes, in the waiting, we had time to think before we acted, to pray, to reflect.

For instance:

  • 20 years ago we waited with anticipation for photos of out-of-town friends and family to arrive in the mail. Today we Skype.
  • 15 years ago we wrote letters to one another thinking about the verbiage and the stationary. Today, we email.
  • 10 years ago we spoke to one another face-to-face or even via telephone, cognizant of the tone of our voice, or body language. Today, we text.

Although these things in and of themselves are quite valuable, they can also be a deterrent in developing intimacy – Intimacy with one another, and especially, with our Lord.  Practice mindfulness, not immediacy; practice hearing Him!  Only then will you discern His voice.

“Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.” John 10:3-5 MSG

Pay attention – And plan to spend time with Him! Listen for Him. Practice listening, being still, being quiet. Do it!  Do you realize what happens when a train gets sidetracked?  It CRASHES.  Stay on course, and don’t veer off track.

Before you decide today that you are completely unfocused, please remember that you can practice being in His Presence by pursuing it every day.  Make an appointment, put Him on your Calendar, or have coffee with Him for 2 minutes, or 10, whatever you can do.  Practice it and add to it each day or week. Practice makes “better.”  Remember, you are not “perfect!”

Be Blessed and Changed by Your Awesome God!
Anna Marie
_______________________________________________
Footnotes:
* http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.t01.htm
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm
http://www.loansandcredit.com/how-the-average-american-spends-their-day
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1549394,00.html#ixzz2VI5HBFcr

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